1st Edition

Contemporary Farce on the Global Stage or, Serious Laughter

By David Gram Copyright 2024
    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    Contemporary Farce on the Global Stage provides audiences and practitioners a detailed survey of how the genre of farce has evolved in the 21st century. Often dismissed as frivolous, farce speaks a universal language, with the power to incisively interrogate our world through laughter.

    Unlike farces of the past, where a successful resolution was a given and we could laugh uproariously at adulterous behaviour, farce no longer guarantees an audience a happy ending where everything works out. Contemporary farce is no longer ‘diverting us’ with laughter. It is reflecting the fractured world around us. With a foreword by award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig, the book introduces readers to the Mechanics of Farce, and the ‘Four Ps,’ which are key elements for understanding, appreciating, and exploring the form. The Five Doors to Contemporary Farce identify five major categories into which farces fall. Behind each door are a wide selection of plays, modern and contemporary examples from all over the world, written by a diverse group of playwrights who traverse gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Supplementing each section are comments, observations, and reflections from award-winning playwrights, directors, actors, designers, dramaturgs, and scholars.

    Designed specifically to give theatre-makers a rounded understanding that will underpin their own productions, this book will also be of use to theatre and performance studies students.

    Foreword by Ken Ludwig  Introduction  Entrances: The Foundations of Contemporary Farce  1. Domestic Farce  2. Social Farce  3. Political Farce  4. Cultural Farce (or ‘Farce Remixed’)  5. Backstage Farce  Exits: Farce and the Future


    David Gram is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA. He has been a theatre and opera director, actor, dramaturg, and playwright for over 25 years. Other research interests include contemporary musical theatre, Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, and new play development.

    “Whether an actor, director, designer, or audience member, Contemporary Farce on the Global Stage is an exceptional resource for deconstructing the elusive form of farce. Accessible and actionable, the book's clear definitions and numerous examples empower artists to understand and embrace “the math” in each beat. Starting rehearsal for Noises Off, I’m thankful to have Gram's insight and guidance heading into the work. He has written a must-have for lovers of farce."

    Tommy WedgeAssociate Professor of Theatre, Saginaw Valley State University, USA


    "[Gram's] book extends our understanding of the long tradition of farce to include plays of the 21st Century. It therefore demonstrates that the art of farce is not valuable simply because it persists, but because the form itself continues to evolve. Farce continues to be an essential dramatic structure, one to which both playwrights and audiences repeatedly return. As a playwright who has sought to tell some of his stories in this form, I’m indebted to Gram for his scholarship."

    Ken Ludwig, Award-winning Playwright, USA