“I will make it a mixture. Since there are kings and slaves in it, I will make it a tragicomedia.”
Plautus on “Amphitryon”
People cry at weddings and laugh at funerals. Beckett spoke of “wild laughter amidst severest woe.” The pathos of the human condition, its complex and often contradictory nature, has been a fertile subject for many dramatists. In this class, we will explore the tragicomic worlds of Beckett, Lorca, Chekhov, Chris Durang, Lynn Nottage, and Emilio Williams through text analysis and scene work. Using the Acting Techniques of Master Teacher Earle Gister, we will examine character, text, style, and action, and develop a solid toolkit for bringing out both aspects- the tragic and the comic- of these wildly humane plays. There will be warm-ups and physical and vocal exercises to loosen our bodies and imaginations. We will have assignments and course work throughout the term. We will also watch and analyze one or both of these tragicomic masterpieces: The Flower of My Secret by Pedro Almodovar and City Lights by Charlie Chaplin.