Famous Flops In Theatre History: Play Analysis

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Sometimes a play opens and everyone immediately recognizes it as a historical, life altering, enormous success. Sometimes plays open and close and no one notices. And sometimes plays open and are openly reviled, scorned, laughed at, or even worse, met with general indifference. It is this group that Famous Flops in Theatre History explores: plays that were at first hated but later recognized as valuable and significant. In this issue of Famous Flops in Theatre History, plays by Anton Chekhov, John Millington Synge, and Luigi Pirandello will be analyzed, comparing their initial performances with their legacy in the realm of theatre history. All three authors are hailed as masterminds, regarded as some of the best writers, not just in theatre…show more content…
Six Characters is an avant-garde/absurdist play that details a day in the life of a theatre company. The Passover twist, however, is that on this day six random ‘people’ enter the theatre where the company is rehearsing and claim that they are dramatic characters who need someone to write and perform their story. As is often the case in absurdist theatre, wackiness ensues. This play is the proud recipient of Famous Flops in Theatre History’s ‘Huh? No Seriously, What Just Was That?” award, as that was generally the attitude of the audience after seeing the play. Audiences were divided between loving the play and confusion almost to the point of anger; this is still the reaction to most absurdist plays. However, like Chekhov’s The Seagull, the play was a historical success. It was soon translated and performed across Europe and North America…show more content…
Avant-garde theatre arose in France in the late 1800s and lasted into the early 1900s, partly as a retaliation to neo-classicism. Avant-garde was wild. A lot of playwrights and designers tried to push the limits on what was acceptable and what could be done in theatre. Absurdism blossomed shortly after, and it was playwrights like Antonin Artaud and Pirandello that really shaped both movements. Absurdism is similar to avant-garde in that the playwrights were not as concerned with plot and characters and logical continuity as they were with eliciting reactions. This is not to say that there are no plots or sense to be found in either of these genres, rather that this is simply not the primary

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