Modern plays are strikingly diverse and, as a result, any attempt to locate an underlying unity between them encounters difficulties: to focus on what they have in common is often to overlook what is of primary importance in particular plays; to focus on their differences is to note the novelty of the plays without increasing their accessibility. In this study, first published in 1985, Austin E. Quigley takes as his paradigm case the relationship between the world of the stage and the world of the audience, and explores various modes of communication between domains. He asks how changes in the structure of the drama relate to changes in the structure of the theatre, and changes in the role of the audience. Detailed interpretations of plays by Pinero, Ibsen, Strindberg, Brecht, Ionesco, Beckett and Pinter question principles about the modern theatre and establish links between drama structure and theatre structure, theme, and performance space.
Introduction; Acknowledgements; Part I: A Critical Framework 1. Theatres and worlds 2. Marking and merging horizons 3. Reconciling worlds 4. Generalizing about worlds; Part II: The Plays 5. Pinero: The Second Mrs. Tanqueray 6. Ibsen: A Doll’s House 7. Strindberg: A Dream Pay 8. Brecht: Life of Galileo 9. Ionesco: The Chairs 10. Beckett: Krapp’s Last Tape 11. Pinter: Betrayal 12. Conclusion; Notes; Selected bibliography; Index
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