Shaffer essay

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Shaffer essay

Shaffer does tell of seeing, hearing, or reading of events that trigger ideas for his plays. Seeing, in andpro-and anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in New York and watching the American people agonize over the war led him to write Shrivings.

Still, he maintains a degree of distance between his personal life and his plays. This balance of sympathy in a dramatist.

Five Finger Exercise is a middle-class domestic drama written at a time when numerous domestic dramas were in vogue, but Shaffer did not repeat himself. He moved on to romantic triangles in his one-act plays, then to epic drama with The Royal Hunt of the Sun, to psychological drama in Equus, and to a historical play, Amadeus.

Sets of the earlier plays are realistic. The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Equus, and Amadeus, however, use impressionistic sets, rely on varying amounts of flashback technique, and employ varying amounts of coordinate action.

Besides varying set types and play genres, Shaffer varies emphasis in theatrical appeal. Seeing in silence is the proposed cure for a troubled marriage in The Public Eye, visual display is lavish in The Royal Hunt of the Sun, and the sight of characters groping and stumbling through the action as though in pitch dark makes Black Comedy a vivid farce.

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One such trait is cultural or ethnic variety. Possibly, being reared by Orthodox Jewish parents in nominally Protestant England sensitized him to the assets of ethnic identities and the liabilities of stereotypes.

Whatever the reason, Shaffer commonly includes multicultural groupings of characters. Five Finger Exercise includes Louise, overly proud of her French ancestry, and Walter, the young German tutor who wants desperately to become a British subject. To emphasize his foreignness, Christoforou was played in the film version by Topol, an Israeli actor.

Schaffer paragraph - Wikipedia

Shrivings includes an American secretary and an English poet who spends most of his time on the island of Corfu.

Amadeus features an Italian composer in the Austrian court at Vienna, and the dialogue occasionally includes Italian and French exchanges. Whatever the specific mix in a given play, each cultural alternative usually exposes a deficit in the status quo or brings a valuable influence to compensate for some perceived lack.

The Greek private detective, Christoforou, is able to explain to the older, middle-class accountant that the young wife he suspects of infidelity really only needs some excitement in her life with her mate.

Martin Dysart, the controlled, rational psychiatrist, tells of traveling each summer through Greece, yearning for the wild passion of the ancient festivals of Dionysus.

Mozart, bored with writing opera according to the dominant Italian conventions, is glad for a commission from the Austrian King Joseph to write opera in German.

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Significant conflicts tend to be between males. In The Public Eye, while following the wife is a major factor in the action, it is reported in dialogue between the two men. The wife does appear and interact with her husband and the detective, but she does not have equivalent exposure onstage.

While she achieves a moral victory in that she sees and tells the truth in the end, she is forced to return her fortune-telling fee to the belligerent male antagonist and thereby faces an ethical defeat.

Even in their activity, however, the women may not be wholly ideal types. Louise in Five Finger Exercise is a domineering mother. Her daughter Pamela is aware of the family politics but is never permitted significant access to the actual struggles played out among the older members of the family, since she is only fourteen.

His upstairs neighbor, Miss Furnival, helps build the farce as a typical middle-aged spinster getting tipsy during the action, but she remains a convenient comic stereotype. All three women are actively involved in the plot, and all three have considerable dialogue.

The protagonist, though, is a male. Dysart turns several times to Hester Salomon for emotional support during the course of Equus.

Shaffer essay

Constanze Mozart, too, is a support for her husband in Amadeus and is the only woman in the play who has a speaking role.

The few others onstage are seen but not heard. Because Shaffer is a twin, Jules Glenn suggests that his various pairs of male characters embody the conflicts and complementary satisfactions typical of twins.

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Although none of the character-pairs is portrayed as biological twins in the plays, their roles often have parallel aspects. The Royal Hunt of the Sun features two men who claim the role of a god.

Self-disclosure is the major structural pattern for The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Equus, and Amadeus, each of which is presented by a narrator recalling past events. Protagonists in the one-act plays, both the serious and the comic, are generally reaching for satisfactory relationships with other individuals.

Shaffer essay

Leading characters in the major serious plays probe the ambitions, ideals, and institutions of humankind in the world at large.

Five Finger Exercise Dennis A. Struggling for identity and independence, Clive is never safe in the family bickering. Agreeing with Stanley that the new tutor is a needless expense draws reproach from Louise. Admitting that he is writing a review of a performance of the Greek play Electra triggers one more paternal lecture on the really useful pursuits in life.

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