Sunday, September 28, 2008

ON ACTING: Must Acting Always Be Conflict?

Some modern theorists--many feminists in particular--disagree with the contention that drama must inevitably be conflict. They say drama can be cooperation. They argue that the absolute requirement of conflict in a drama is a male, and/or a Western/European, imposition.

In rebuttal: if, as acting theory since Aristotle has argued, drama’s social and creative goal is the release of group/audience tension (Aristotelian pity and fear) through the identification of life’s deepest stories as enacted by actors, logic dictates that in order for drama’s raison d’etre, catharsis, to be realized, dramatic conflict—tension--must be first be engaged. There can be no release of tension without the initial establishment of it.

Therefore, co-operation may be appropriate as a tactic in a drama during conflict--or appropriate to the end of drama; perhaps as a resolution--but it is not and cannot be the fundamental definition of drama.

Dialogue, storytelling without conflict is not drama; it is something else: essays, poetry, lectures or propaganda; an illustration of life, but never a true dramatization of life.


Blogger Ashlley Elias said...

I hear this feminist theory about how life can be cooperation, but that's a higher faculty that many people don't reach.

Even so, nature is NOT going to cooperate with you. You are in conflict with nature at all times and at many times with other people.

Conflict is the one thing we all share and through it do we achieve most things. That's why I think conflict is essential...

Nobody wants to watch a happy scene because they can't relate. But somehow any kind of conflict we can apply to our own lives.

1:52 PM  

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