Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bored? You Need Drama!

If you enjoy dialogue, not much detail, but a strong powerful message, a play can be a terrific read.

My mom was a professional storyteller, a playwright, and an actress, so “drama” permeated much of our family life. With Mom in charge, we attended plays, performed skits, and conducted full blown productions. But her church plays did not involve bathrobe costumes and pretend sets. With your eyes closed, you could smell the fish in the Sea of Galilee and feel the disciples’ boat move.

The love of “drama” still grabs me today. Even though I love well-written detailed fiction, I do enjoy the concise conversation of a play. I have been entertained by the comedy of Oscar Wilde in his play The Importance of Being Earnest, which takes place in the late 1800s in England. And I have been drawn into the heartfelt relationship of an elderly Jewish widow and her black chauffeur over a 20-year period in Driving Miss Daisy.

If I happen to be in the mood to change the world, fight for justice, or at least root for someone who does, I can reread A Man of All Seasons by Robert Bolt, Twelve Angry Men by Reginald Rose or The Miracle Worker by William Gibson.

In Bolt’s play Sir Thomas More takes on King Henry VIII, and fights for morality, while in Rose’s play, jurors vehemently discuss decisions that can change the course of a man’s life forever. In The Miracle Worker Annie Sullivan breaks through the walls of darkness and silence with determination and passion, and helps Helen Keller learn to communicate.

But of course, not every minute of our lives can always be a hair-raising experience. In fact, there are times when we just want quiet and tranquility. Although life doesn’t offer quite enough of the mundane and ordinary for me, I can experience it through the rather pleasant lives of the Webb and Gibbs families in Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town. Here we join these people in their daily lives realizing that this could be any family in any town.
So, if you want drama, read a play.

Shannon @ Bealeton

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