Essay: Harm’s Way by Mac Wellman

Essay: Harm’s Way by Mac Wellman
May 25, 2011 Comments Off on Essay: Harm’s Way by Mac Wellman Academic Papers on English,Sample Academic Papers admin

Sample Essay

Wellman’s theatre is by no means an arbitrarily designed linguistic curio shop. His 1984 essay, “The Theatre of Good Intentions,” represents a kind of anti-naturalist manifesto in which he attacks the traditional theatre for its manipulation of warm emotions, its impoverished dramatic vocabulary, its fake profundity, its doggedly consistent and well-rounded characters, its fixation on questions of motivation and intention, its habit of explaining evil away and its obsession with victims. It argues that the well-intentioned play succeeds all too well in producing “a perfect and seamless summation of itself and its own intentions, and nothing else.” (Robinson, p.29)

We can’t generally say he wants to write a play about the problem of such-and-such. It’s more a question of ideas or images that puzzles him. It seems he wrote a play called Harm’s Way because he wanted to write a play in which everybody was angry, just to see what that would be like. His work is more a reflection of negativity, because there’s a lot more individual energy and associations buried in places you don’t want to look. The word harm is a metaphor for a way to describe social conditions, like violence, that this play deals with. There’s violence in love, in building; in nature it’s called the sublime. But the concept of harm seemed more interesting. Sometimes Wellman starts with an image.

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