Analysis: The Quality of Live Theatre

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  • Topic: Wicked, Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, Drama
  • Pages : 6 (2246 words )
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  • Published : October 27, 2011
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Written by Nikeisha Avio

Live Theatre Analysis
Year 12 Drama
Term 2

“The quality of live theatre in Brisbane is all but dead. The growth of urban cinema complexes, video rental and now cable, have left little room in the entertainment practices of most Brisbanites.” It is a truth that in such a technologically savvy and dependant generation as today's, venturing to the theatre is slowly becoming a rarity. This is due to the strong, extensive domination of film, television and new media, clearly eminent in the present entertainment industry. Live theatre in Brisbane is constantly competing with the comfort and affordability of staying in and enjoying a pre-recorded television show or watching a 3D movie in one's own home. There is next to no motivation for people in today's general public to attend a theatrical performance leading to the classification of live theatre as passé and dated. However this does not in any way signify that the quality of theatre has degraded. For those who enjoy the emotive and interactive experience of attending live theatre, Brisbane has an array of diverse shows that are perfect indicators of the level of high quality theatre that is available to the community. In fact through the thorough analysis of three different levels of productions: Wicked, Summer and Smoke and Lying Cheating Bastard this essay will attempt to prove that through the manipulation of the elements of tension and relationships within each of these plays, dramatic meaning is created and the quality of theatre is heightened.

The world-acknowledged, professional production of Wicked the Musical, is indeed a piece of quality theatre. With theatre goers attending the show expecting to be blown away with the glorious sets and costumes, it is not usually a play that is put under the analytical microscope. What theatre goers often miss from the whole show is the amount of deep dramatic meaning there is at it's core. Wicked is essentially about the hard decisions and choices in human relationships, and found in human relationships is dramatic tension. According to Brad Haseman and John O'Toole, “tension is the force which drives our drama... it is the most important element and no drama exists without it – it must be created and can be easily lost” (Haseman and O'Toole 1986, p18) Tension is apparent as a vital element of drama in all of the relationships between the characters in Wicked. The relationship that allows for prime analysis is the friendship between Elphaba and Glinda.

Throughout the entirety of the play Elphaba faces hardships in all of her relationships. She encounters difficulties in being accepted by her peers, parents and wider community. She stands out not only due to her difference in appearance, but beliefs. The only relationship that Elphaba encountered to be real and worth fighting for was her relationship with Glinda, however even this relationship was hampered by conflict and dilemma. When it comes to the types of tension “human relationships are the central components of dramatic situations” (Haseman and O'Toole, 1996 pg22) Consequently the tension of relationships permits the audience to be suspended into a state of disbelief as the reality of the relationship on stage is a mirror to relationships outside of the theatre.

The tension in the relationship between Glinda and Elphaba is palpable to the audience in the scene of “Defying Gravity”. This scene is a crucial moment between them as Elphaba is forced to make a decision between Glinda's friendship or her own beliefs. The stage is lit very dimly with spotlights illuminating Elphaba and Glinda drawing focus to what dialogue is being exchanged between the two. There is additional tension as the audience knows the clock is racing against time. When Elphaba asks Glinda to join her in standing up for the wrong that is happening in Oz the audience is sent into a tense and anxious moment in time, what will Glinda choose? When Glinda...
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