Monday, May 25, 2009

My Favorite Genre of Theatre

Today I've decided to create a whole new genre of drama to encapsulate some of my favorite plays. The Play-with-a-Play/Prison Drama.

Definition: a play set in a prison or prison setting where the inmates perform a play and in doing so find some level of revelation or illumination. Examples: Man of LaMancha, Our Country's Good, and Marat/Sade.

Fewer plays toot theatre own horn the way the Play-with-a-Play/Prison Drama. But there is some importance in what it does. It forces us to objectively watch individuals struggling with an issue and their journey to their illumination. In the end, this illumination usually transcends their prison walls taking them far far away from their present surroundings to where the human spirit is allowed to run free. This is the essence of theatre. The ability to reach beyond the walls of the theatre and beyond the costumes, props and physical space to where imagination reigns. There we are able to look at things, have discussions, criticize and analyze in a way that can lead to real change.

Alienation Effect is essential in this setting. As we sit and watch the parishioners learn and change, we are essentially watching ourselves and hopefully are allowing the forces of the play to work on us as well. There couldn't be a more didactic form of theatre - or a more manipulative one as well. Brecht would be proud.

Happy Birthday: Ian McKellen (b. 1939), Greg Vinkler (b. 1951) & Eve Ensler (b. 1953)

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