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Several modern dramas have had a strong social impact shortly after production and/or publication. Discuss the reasons for this in TWO cases.

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Introduction

Several modern dramas have had a strong social impact shortly after production and/or publication. Discuss the reasons for this in TWO cases. November 2003 Submitted by: - 0163330/1 Submitted to: - Keverne Smith Word Count: - 2000 Words Several modern dramas have had a strong social impact shortly after production and/or publication. Discuss the reasons for this in TWO cases. In this essay I am going to study what social impact both Look Back in Anger by John Osborne and Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett had shortly after their production and publication. I will consider what theatrical conventions are or are not in each play, which could explain why people were drawn to the plays; as well as considering why the plays may be seen as controversial by some. Look Back in Anger and Waiting for Godot are unarguably placed at the beginning of a revolution in the British theatre. Both plays introduced new ideas and concepts into the world of drama. However they were both influenced by playwright Bertolt Brecht. Brecht's plays used a bare stage, placards to indicate location and non-atmospheric lighting. In Brecht's plays he is keen for his audience to think about what is happening and question things, which are happening rather than switching off. ...read more.

Middle

This line is spoken by one of the characters in the play, and it provides one of the best summaries for the play. The critical uproar that Waiting For Godot created ensured that the play was able to transfer to the Criterion theatre in London on 12th September 1955. When Waiting for Godot opened in London it had almost an immediate impact; it was a monumental flop as far as the reviews were concerned, but Hobson played a large part in ensuring that the play would come to be regarded as a significant influence on twentieth century British drama. (Graver, 1996, P12) Although Look Back in Anger is not termed an absurd play like Waiting for Godot it does contain some conventions of an absurd play. When the curtain opened to an 'unfamiliar scene of cramped, suburban shabbiness, with Alison Porter performing the most mundane of task-the ironing', it provided the first shock of the play to the audience. John Osborne depends on speeches rather than action and scenery to keep the play afloat. (Shellard, 2000, P51) Look Back in Anger made its controversial entrance to the theatrical scene on 8th May 1956, at the time of the Suez Crisis, the Hungarian uprising and a British housing shortage, and the fact, that the two major political parties in Britain appeared to be moving closer together. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is like Beckett's Waiting for Godot were the play ends where it begun, with a repetition that forbids action. In the case of Waiting For Godot Vladimir and Estragon are still 'waiting for Godot' and will continue to wait until Godot arrives. (Banham, 1969, P18) Both Look Back in Anger and Waiting for Godot had a strong social impact for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons for them being so controversial is because they both undermined the traditional conventions of the theatre in various ways. In the case of both plays audiences were so shocked by what they were seeing and showed their disapproval by walking out of the performance; it almost became the fashionable thing to do with Waiting for Godot. In Waiting for Godot members of the audience who did sit it out until the end were completely stunned by the ending. The play had been an entirely new experience; it had taken the audience into a new broadening of their imagination. The play ends without any real conclusion. The audience tends to leave the play in a state of total ignorance. Nothing makes sense. Beckett has told you nothing about how to resolve man's plight; he has merely presented you with a snapshot of how his characters react to their plight. Look Back in Anger, on the other hand, was merely stimulating. The characters, story and the plot were unexceptional. ...read more.

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