By Susan Stone-Blackburn
During this ebook, Susan Stone-Blackburn experiences how the tastes and issues of 1 of Canada's major writers were given dramatic expression, starting with The King Who couldn't Dream and Benoni and finishing with Question Time and Pontiac and the golf green Man. She additionally examines how Davies' playwriting has been encouraged via the dominant tastes of his time and via the stipulations less than which his performs were played. facing the performs chronologically, Stone-Blackburn unearths Davies' fondness for theatricality in preference to realism, for mythic flavour and archetypal personality, his romanticism, and his irrepressible humour.
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Extra info for Robertson Davies, Playwright: A Search for the Self on the Canadian Stage
In a full-length play, however, Davies could give full rein to his taste for myth and romance, for grand themes and bold theatrical effects. The one-act play is not really his medium, because it is not large enough to accommodate his conception of ideal theatre. 1 The statement is simple, but its implications are extensive. He speaks of the theatre as a temple, illuminating his perception of its function: Theatre of Wholeness and Canadian Little Theatre 33 The theatre began, after all, as a temple; it was a place where people expected to experience the full range of human emotion; sometimes the outcome was joyous, and sometimes it was the revelation of what was godlike in man, who provoked feelings of the highest solemnity.
27 Though the Greek names do seem distracting, the "medical terminology" is integral to the basic conception of the play; brain, heart, liver, and solar plexus relate to various elements of the personality, and the role ofsoma is as essential here as that of psyche. Costuming, makeup, and style of acting eradicate the confusion which may exist among characters on the printed page. Davies directs that the representative of the heart, for instance, "is magnificently dressed in a hussar's uniform, with a pelisse, sabretache and every possible redundancy of military grandeur; his whole being speaks of romance; he wears no hat and appears to be dressedfor a ball.
Cole himself, of course, is the essence of mirth, and his laughter is heard at the two most solemn moments in the play: when the birth of Helena and Leolin's passion for each other is clouded by his imminent death and when Cole's own death comes. At the end of Act II, after struggling to reconcile himself to his own death and after Helena, Brigit, and Idomeneus have testified to the power of his joyful heart, Cole foretells the day "when the memory of my laughter will be all that will remain of me" (168).
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