What Is Drama but Life with the Dull Bits Cut Out?

1 January 2017

Plays often do not show characters going through life’s basic needs such a going to the bathroom, feeling hungry or thirsty, walking from one room to another, or a character asleep unless there is value of it towards the story. These basic needs are known as the dull bits in life and are usually never shown during a play, hence the quote ‘‘what is drama but life with the dull bits cut out? ’’ These dull bits leave the audience feeling bored and that ruins the experience as they are not meant to become bored, they are meant to stay entertained and interested throughout the drama piece.

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The plays ‘’A Streetcar named Desire’’ by Tennessee Williams and ‘’Hedda Gabbler’’ by Henrik Ibsen are two works that can be used to relate towards the statement. In A Streetcar Named Desire the audience never sees the characters going through any of lives normal yet dull moments. The audience is able to see when the characters go off to bed, however the scenes do not show them asleep for the 8 hours, the play skips these parts and goes straight into the next scene where all of them are awake or are awakening. Blanche, one of the main characters from the play is often seen or heard taking her bath.

Usually most plays would not show this, however the baths Blanche takes have a significant meaning for her character. They are a place where she always listens to a particular song and a place where she sings and relaxes, yet reminisces over her past. He baths represent her cleansing away her past in which she has done many devious things with many devious men and young boys. There is a scene where Mitch, another one of the main characters from A Streetcar Named Desire goes to the bathroom which is rejecting the statement, however, whilst on his way to the bathroom he meets Blanche who e talks to and later on in the play takes her out and is ready to in fact marry her. Usually when a character goes to the bathroom it is not shown, as it is also another one of life’s dull moments. Yet, because Mitch meets Blanche whilst he is in the bathroom, it becomes an important part of the play, keeping the audiences attention. The play Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen is another example which can be used to show that this statement can be applicable. Throughout the whole play, there is only one area shown, the Tesman’s living room and a smaller study to the side of it.

All scenes in the play take part within these two areas, which shows that drama is life with the dull bits cut out as none of the characters are ever shown walking through the house to get a glass of water, or walking to the bathroom. The audience is told by the characters during the play that they are going to take a nap upstairs in their room or are leaving to go home, they never actually see them walk through the front doors, get in the car and leave. They simply see them walk out through the door of the living room and study doors on stage and are not shown where the characters go off to afterwards.

The beginning of one of the scenes in Act 3 starts off with Mrs. Elvsted sitting on the couch and Hedda asleep on the couch. The play did not show the whole time Hedda was asleep or the time where Mrs. Elvsted had stayed up all night doing nothing whilst waiting for Ejlert Lovborg to return. It simply showed the important part, which was when Hedda wakes up, and Tesman arrives home after the bachelor party. There was nothing interesting about Hedda asleep or Mrs. Elvsted sitting up all night and that is why the play does not show it.

If it did, the audience would be completely bored and would possibly end up leaving the theatre if they had to watch something like that. A major part of Hedda Gabler which easily supports the statement of ‘’what is drama but life with the dull bits cut out’’ is the beginning on the play where we can see Hedda and Tesman have just recently arrived home from their 6 month honeymoon which is not shown in the play. It was not shown because it is said to have been incredibly boring, it was 6 months of Tesman tudying books and Hedda having nothing to do and hardly anyone to talk to. Nothing interesting happened whilst they were on their honeymoon and if nothing interesting happened, it is not shown in the play because it would not entertain the audience. From these two plays it can be seen that the statement ‘’what is drama but life with the dull bits cut out’’ is easily applicable to most and possibly all plays. The dull bits of our lives are never shown in plays, there is no reason to remember them or showcase them.

Going to the toilet or eating and drinking is part of our everyday lives, its not important every single time we need to go to the bathroom. However, certain times during these dull moments have significance, they become important because of other events which take place during them. For example, when Stella catches the meat that Stanley has thrown her in A Streetcar Named Desire, usually this would be a boring household chore but it has significance as in a way it is showing that Stella is catching Stanley’s meat and it signifies her sexual infatuation with him.

Different dull moments in plays that are shown usually all have a reason for being shown, there is no reason to show a character asleep for a long period of time as it bores the audience and the play is no longer considered entertaining. There is no reason to show a character walking through a house or a city so they can be seen attending a party in which a scene of the play actually takes place. It is boring and unless there is significant meaning to their journey from the one location to the other, there is no reason for it to be shown in the play. This results in the statement being accepted, as it is applicable to many and most plays.

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