The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.0514  Wednesday, 15 March 2000.

From:           Jinny Webber <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Wednesday, 15 Mar 2000 01:21:53 EST
Subject: 11.0492 Hope you can help
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.0492 Hope you can help

Dear Sarah,

I'd love to hear what others respond.  My thoughts:

1) Is the underlying impetus of theatre through our history from ritual
to the avant garde in fact a search for God?

For sure!  Last weekend I saw a superb production of Ionesco's <The
Chairs> which brought that idea home, as obviously Godot does, and as
one could easily argue do Greek drama and Shakespeare.  Marlowe too?
Now that's an intriguing question.  Arthur Miller and Pinter, yes, yes.
Recent 'topical' plays-I'm thinking of Wendy Wasserstein's <American
Daughter>, about a woman appointee for U.S. Surgeon General and how
she's saboutaged, mainly by unpleasant media types-don't fit so well, at
least in apparent intent.  But as I write this I think, yeah, it too
demonstrates the emptiness of life 'without God' so to speak. So maybe
the question is too big and too, dare I say, obvious.

2) Theater cannot hold onto the images it produces.

Of course not!  It gives them to us, to catharsize us, if that's a word,
or at least to entertain and enlighten, to puzzle, dismay, shock-to take
into our lives.

3) Theater has an absolute dependence on the past.

Yes, in that it's an institution rooted in the past, in religion and
ritual.  We agree-or have, until the threatened demise of the
classics-that the 'round' of the theatre is a place where we share our
communal humanity, our 'collective unconscious,' our hopes, fears, and

Let's hear how your debate goes!
Jinny Webber

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