Essay: It’s all Part of the Show

Essay: It’s all Part of the Show
May 26, 2011 Comments Off on Essay: It’s all Part of the Show Academic Papers on English,Sample Academic Papers admin

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Wellman believes that for him the two main weaknesses with American drama are, first, that it’s phony–overly dramatic in unconvincing ways. Second, it’s so sentimental. The trouble with sentimentality is not that it’s silly or emotional; it’s that it’s a lie. “And yet if you write a play, it almost has to be sentimental—everybody from the producer to the actors will want you to have a happy ending. They joke about it, but it’s true.” (Robinson, p.31)

Harm’s Way is typically a summary of a killer named Santouche, but along with that it also narrates the story of the many people who are sooner or later trapped in this web, including his lover, his companion, and a folk he meets along his journey. Playwright Mac Wellman uses a mix of sensitive words and colloquialisms from dissimilar periods to give the whole play a slightly lopsided feel. “Scram” and “Hey, bud” are thoroughly mixed with “Nevertheless, I wish you well.” (Wellman, 1984) The story is also intended to keep the viewers lopsided, so that they are never relatively sure of where realism stops and dream begins. A man who claims he is President McKinley demands that Santouche induce a “stiff” (i.e., dead guy) to bury him alive. A carnival convict turned pimp panders with his Church of Jesus Christ, Fornicator, which is a luminous condemnation of both con-men and prearranged religion. Wellman’s operational theme of “it’s all part of the show” impels us to inquire much of what we take for granted in our society and culture. Though perhaps not his best play, it is a completely useful look at human contact, incentive, relations, and, most importantly, insight. Wellman does a wonderful job walking a superior corridor connecting absurdist and linear theatre, and this production brings out the best in his play.

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