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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: April ::
Re: The Laws of Theatre
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0946  Thursday, 4 April 2002

[1]     From:   Martin Steward <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 10:44:54 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0932 Re: The Laws of Theatre

[2]     From:   Gabriel Egan <
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        Date:   Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 13:36:17 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.0932 Re: The Laws of Theatre


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Martin Steward <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 10:44:54 +0100
Subject: 13.0932 Re: The Laws of Theatre
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0932 Re: The Laws of Theatre

"There are some people who think they can re-write the laws of the
universe - they can't", writes Sam Small with reference to Flann O'
Brien's unacted plays (the fact that he gleefully refers to their
unactedness signals his irony). Sam forgets that "the laws of the
universe" are and have always been slightly different in Ireland than
they are in the rest of the cosmos. Hence all those funny jokes. QV -
Tristram Shandy, Finnegans Wake - and "Myles's" masterpiece, At
Swim-Two-Birds, which is sufficient to make his claim to immortality, I
should expect (Myles was the pseudonym forced upon Flann O' Brien by the
rule which held that civil servants could not publish under their own
names). But I don't suppose Flann had immortality in mind when he wrote
it; the Irish tend to value good old-fashioned fun over such pretentious
twaddle. Like all the best story-tellers, as Sam implies.  Like William
Shakespeare too, I'd wager!

Anyway, the only book that I know with a proper beginning and end to it
is the Bible. As for all the others, to paraphrase Godard, "They all
have a beginning, middle and end, but not necessarily in that order".

m

An Irish builder walks onto an English building site looking for work.
"You'll have to pass this competency test, first," says the foreman.
"What's the difference between a girder and a joist?" The Irish builder
replies, "That's easy - Girder wrote 'Faust', Joist wrote 'Ulysses'."

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Thursday, 4 Apr 2002 13:36:17 +0100
Subject: 13.0932 Re: The Laws of Theatre
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.0932 Re: The Laws of Theatre

Sam Small wrote,

> All stories have a beginning middle and end because it
> reflects the life cycle itself.

Although arbitrarily determined, the beginning and end of life are
instantaneous, surely? Two of the three parts of the grand tripartite
structure are, then, of infinitesimally Small duration, and the middle
occupies all. Sam would have us dispense with the slivery bookends of
life and attend to the endlessly patterned middle, but someone as highly
cultured as Martin Steward would doubtless agree that The Third
Policeman is third precisely because of the death that occurs,
unnoticed, early in O'Brien's novel.

(Sam: Myles na gCopaleen = Flann O'Brien = Brian O Nuallain)

Gabriel Egan

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