The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.0916  Tuesday, 2 April 2002

From:           Martin Steward <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date:           Tuesday, 2 Apr 2002 10:45:59 +0100
Subject:        The Laws of Theatre

"A slogan that interests me immensely is that one that they came out
with some months ago and still have despite its decrepit syntax -
'Late-comers not admitted until end of First Act.' It has several
undesirable implications. First, that every play must have not only acts
but even a first act! (Nay, a First Act). What would, say, Rouault think
of such unenterprise? Is it also suggested, forsooth, that every play
must have a last act? I have several plays (opens drawer, points in,
hastily covers half-exposed bottle, slams drawer shut) and competent
people who have read them certify that there is neither beginning nor
end to them. Some of them have no characters - I did not say character,
mind - some are without 'climaxes', 'plots' and other dreary journeyman
paraphernalia. As for Aristotle's unities of thyme, plaice and auction -
faugh! There are enough earnest souls observing them, we have a
plenitude of knaves tricking with rules made by people who have not had
the advantage of... of... being present for a couple of thousand years."

- Myles na Gopaleen (Flann O' Brien), The Best of Myles (London 1987,
1968), p.40

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