The Contrasts IN THE Pillowman Drama British Literature Essay

The justification for the lifestyle of late 20th century theatre being one of stunning an audience out of these complacency is quite a generalisation, bearing in mind that both productions involved were almost a 40 years apart. The interim period certainly found level productions with developing themes of violence, 'sex, drugs and rock and roll n' roll' as with the latest style of 'In Yer Face' theatre that are not only stunning in their content but also journey in the face of common decency and political correctness.

By the finish of World Warfare II in 1945, the planet had suffered a long time of aggression and the assault that goes with it. The lives of everyone involved were infected. It affected the way people lived, the way people worked well and even how theatre works were written. Pinter's 'The Homecoming' (1963) and McDonagh's 'The Pillowman' (2003) provide an world where hostility and aggression can't be dismissed as a social issue. Whether or not there is good reason to say that past due 20th Century theater attempt to purposefully shock people out of their 'comfortable nests' is debatable when one considers the relaxation of censorship in 1968 replaced by a form of self-censorship which offered specific playwrights the chance to express a far more realistic and remarkable approach to each day issues and concerns that were festering away underneath society's complacency such as poverty, morality, family prices etc. There was a progression of theatre productions rather than a rebellion against accepted specifications. This content of plays may have been shocking to viewers but somewhat were not surprising given what sort of theatre productions and even the viewers were growing.

Pre-war critics and theater audiences had recently been used to experiencing plays, that have been mostly London structured and provided a sense of occasion offering top of the and middle classes an opportunity to dress officially and remain in splendid environment 'to see and be seen'. This content of plays shipped an uncomplicated meaning whether educational or humorous such as a Shakespearean comedy or J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan, the main theme being one of entertainment rather than a thought provoking spectacle and many playwrights complied with this condition. This is not to state that no contentious issues were located in the theatrical industry, for example, George Bernard Shaw had written some has that amused and challenged his audiences with his Has Unpleasant (1898) relating to prostitution and philandering. Shaw was an entertainer and seen the theatre as a way to make people think and that it had a significant purpose somewhat than offering the audience a far more radical approach to his subject material. His works tended showing the accepted frame of mind, and then demolished that frame of mind while showing his own solutions. Shaw used familiar forms of melodrama, love and record with unexpected twists, he surprised his audiences however in more of a shocking way as opposed to a more emotionally disturbing, offensive or indecent way.

Eric Bentley said "If you wish to get the audience's attention, be violent; if you wish to hold it, be violent again. "

This may be interpreted and approached in two ways, either 'physical assault' or 'verbal assault' as a way of not only surprising an audience with either the content of conversations or the level actions but also to keep their affinity for what will happen next. An instance of 'more of the same' if the audience responds.

As a reaction to World Warfare II Absurdist theater advanced, depicting the absurdity of the present day human talk about and related to a new genre of theatre that could not be interpreted in a reasonable way. "What do I know about man's future? I could let you know more about radishes. " (Beckett). Absurdist theatre openly rebelled against typical theatre. One of the most crucial areas of absurd drama is its scepticism of vocabulary as a means of communication. Dr. Culik explains that the Theater of the Absurd "attempts to make people aware of the possibility of going beyond everyday talk conventions and connecting more authentically". In Pinter's The Homecoming and McDonagh's The Pillowman we have been faced with two different sizes of absurdist theater in that, both playwrights have created milieus that happen to be difficult for people to come quickly to terms with. In Pinter's The Homecoming we have a setting within one room in an appropriate domestic household where the use of crude terminology with violent undertones is at the forefront. The torrent of vulgar and repugnant words shocked audiences to the amount that it could not be rationalised. Clues of violence are exhibited when Max tells the audience that he was once one of the toughest men in East London and that all men changed out of his way in the pub. Addititionally there is the immediate and brutal danger when Potential says to his kid Lenny "Listen! I'll chop your vertebrae off if you talk to me like that"

Pinter exploits claustrophobic electric power of everyday terminology in enclosed theatrical space. There is certainly too little harmony throughout the play predicated on the disjointed conversations, lack of continuity and the frequent non- sensical verbiage, compounded by the surprising, e. g. Ruth learning to be a whore and Sam dropping dead etc. There is a disjunctive divide between how the actors respond to situations in the play and the actual audience expect and perceive. In addition to the offensive terminology, for example, when Max identifies Ruth in a derogatory way, "We've experienced a smelly scrubber in my own house forever. We've got a stinking pox-ridden slut in my own house forever", one of the most disconcerting components of the Homecoming to the audience would have been the continuous long pauses Pinter used; thus elevating the stress and anxiety of the audience by being unsure of what was coming next. One of the most referred to of Pinter's comments by himself plays was made throughout a lecture to students in 1962, related to his stage way hallmark in the adoption of the "two silences", the utilization of what became known as the 'Pinter Pause', when on the main one hand, no acting professional is speaking and subsequently, when there is a torrent of non-sensical maltreatment which has no relevance in regards to what has just been said and is officially a pause in the proceedings before return of this issue of dialog.

These 'silences' proven perturbing and uncomfortable, even edgy to some followers. The Homecoming seems to move from naturalism to absurdism, which is profoundly unsettling. Instead of finding a situation which stresses the role of the environment upon the people we are drawn into circumstances where the personas' presence becomes irrational and meaningless. Whilst the circumstances are naturalistic the dialogue is absurd, utilizing disjointed, repetitious, and meaningless dialogue, purposeless and difficult situations and plots that lack genuine or rational development. This was not so much a shocking strategy but more of a bewildering set of circumstances designed to be thought provoking and perplexing to a audience.

McDonagh's 'The Pillowman' on the other hand provides theatre goers with a more subtle method of absurdist theater with the actual setting up and circumstances being absurd rather than necessarily the dialogue. The horrific experiences within the play with their explicitly violent subject material helped to press the boundaries of what was acceptable to a fresh level and much more by means of brutalist or 'In Yer Face' theater as exemplified by Sarah Kanes in "Blasted" (1995) which displays abject horror and atrocities, for example "Ian being raped, having his sight bitten out and being compelled to take a lifeless baby as he starves, together, at night. ", was stunning and appeared unreal, as Kieron Quirke of the Nighttime Standard said "It goes beyond 'great shock theatre' to become powerful reminder that folks can handle anything. I rate it, but I am hoping it never becomes heresy to dislike it. " The Daily Mail denounced the play as 'this disgusting feast of filth', the Weekend Telegraph spoke scathingly against its 'gratuitous welter of carnage' and the Spectator called it 'a sordid little travesty of the play'.

McDonagh, having been inspired by Pinter and even the film director Quentin Tarantino reveals a twisted mental horror and dark study of a storytellers' (Katurian) keep over an audience through on-stage narrative to explore the energy of the reports themselves to distress. 'The Pillowman' is not only an apparent politics play this is a play with the musician restricting his life to be able to protect his art for the future. Artistic flexibility was at the core of the play and the responsibility that goes with it. Occur an anonymous totalitarian state, this was an opportunity for a playwright to decry the evil and unjust way that dictatorships subdued freedom of talk which we were anticipating; however McDonagh turns this presumption on its head. Katurian is actually being interrogated by a couple of comical, brutal cops not because his testimonies are subversive to the totalitarian routine, but because they are almost completely about the brutal torture and murder of children.

Kturin's experiences read like exact plans for some recent murders of children. Katurian is questioned about the gruesome subject material of his brief stories and their similarities to lots of peculiar child murders that have recently took place. Kturin's short stories are haunting and horrific eg. "101 ways to skewer 5-yer-old". Michael Billington, of the Guardian said "in the end, you sense that McDonagh is using big issues regarding literature's capacity to outlast tyranny somewhat than writing from any type of experience". Robert Isenberg commented that "The Pillowman is a test of will, suitable limited to the gutsiest theatregoer".

The Pillowman is more of discomforting experience, shocking in its content but one containing wonderfully dark humour almost akin to the fairy tales of our children with lurid and fantastical topics, the "Brothers Grimm" springs to mind".

The Pillowman is a very unsettling and thought-provoking play, a review in the Financial Times described the play as "A complicated story about life and fine art, about fact and illusion, about politics, population, cruelty and creativity". If McDonagh's intent was to create out to surprise audiences rather than provide interesting subjects for issue is open to conjecture.

"Because things are the way they may be, things will not stay just how these are. " (Brecht

Was the raison d'etre of late twentieth century crisis to shock followers out with their complacency? Does Pinter's 'The Homecoming' and McDonagh's 'The Pillowman' set out to shock people? Or was the relaxation of censorship in 1968 to establish the catalyst for further daring playwrights to "buck the system" and take on the competent theatrical styles? Was the 'avant garde' strategy by Pinter in 1963 only a starter for what to come? Richard Drain remarked "once again the actor stands out as the main transmitter of the invigorating shock. But what must we do to make this shock effective, to help the professional transmit to the audience"? The Mail on Sunday referred to The Pillowman as "an extraordinary play, Kafkaesque, Pinteresque, but more then anything absolutely McDonaghesque" It would appear that anything unusual, out of the ordinary or quirky in its theatrical content obtained a name from the playwright. McDonagh even parodied this inside the Pillowman when one of the interrogators paraphrases one of Kturin's reports to him, to which the copy writer replies, "That's a good account. That's something-esque. The type of 'esque' could it be? I can't keep in mind. I don't really go set for that 'esque' type of stuff anyhow, but there's nothing wrong with the story". I believe rather than looking to impact people out of their complacent sense of security about how exactly the earth and other folks work that later part of the 20th Century theatre was more of an development than a revolution. As aptly put by Brian Cliff. "Grotesque excess. . . reduces great shock value".

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