Question Description

Third “paper.” A playwright brings us into the space and time of a play in a specific and intended way. The plays allows us to occupy it in a way as specific as a piece of architecture. The architect has decided where to place the front door, and that is the way we must enter the building. What do we encounter inside? A stairway? A lobby? A living room? Different buildings (different plays) will give us different experiences of entering. What character do we meet first? When do we first get a hint of a problem that must be resolved? Should we laugh or be sympathetic? Where do we go next? Right or left? Up or down? The playwright knows. (In another way, the director knows, the cast knows, the stage manager knows.) By the time we get to the play’s end, we know. When the play is a good one, we realize that even the first step we took into the play is exactly the right one to get us to this end. To be clear, my use of idea of architecture is a metaphor, a way of understanding a play’s structure in terms of how we go through it. I am not asking you to analyze the buildings or scenery in the play, though those things might be a factor in how we go through the play. Choose either Fires in the Mirror or Airness and apply this “architectural” analysis. You won’t have space or time to do a minute study of every moment of the play in these terms, so be selective. At the least, write about how the play begins and how it ends, and try to show the logic of why the endpoint is well-suited to the beginning. Since we both read and saw these two plays, you can use either experience, or both, in your analysis. Due March 11 by the beginning of the class. Four to five pages.

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