On tragedy ~ theatre notes

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

On tragedy

TN is being a good girl and putting her nose to the grindstone, shoulder to the wheel, back to the...well, you know what I mean. Yes, I'm writing the Novel in earnest: I still have 120,000 words to go, and time ever dwindles. So, with due caution, I point to my excuse in the sidebar: expect a little less here for the next few months, until I get my brain back.

In the meantime, let me point you to New York, where the bloggers are having a fine dingdong on the subject of tragedy. George Hunka at Superfluities got the ball rolling with some stirring polemic, prompting objections from Isaac Butler and Matt Freeman. And TONY's theatre editor David Cote stirs the pot still further with some disingenuous polemic of his own. Well, I think he's being disingenuous: this man likes Romeo Castellucci, after all.

UPDATE: Serial TN commenter Theatre Queen stylishly debuts in the blogosphere with Tears for a Tiara and a fascinating first post on, yes, tragedy.


David Cote said...

Not disingenous exactly. Maybe shifting and a little confused. I mainly object to the self-righteous tone that George adopts, as if his conception of tragedy (a very selective version that jumps straight from Aeschylus to Beckett with no stops for Seneca or Shakespeare) were somehow philosophically more sophisticated than comedy or plain ole modern drama. I find that tragedy can be a highly problematic form, static and bathetic at best and reactionary and sadistic at worst. Yes, I love Castellucci, but I find his work as silly as I do horrifying. If that's possible.

Alison Croggon said...

Well, to be fair, I don't read too much self-righteousness there, so much as a passionate obsession. Though I do think George reads too much Schopenhauer. That aside, I'd say that all theatrical forms I can think of harbour those dangers, and that tragedy - in the widest sense of the form - has given me some of the most exciting moments I've had in theatre. Me, I think no virtue resides inherently in any form: the tragic can be ridiculous, the comic can be direly unfunny, the dramatic just moribund manipulativeness, etc etc. (That's why I sometimes get into trouble in poetry-land - conservatives think I'm an obscurantist radical, and the radicals think I'm way too mainstream but really, I just like reading poems.) It's the details of how the form is used in any particular work that matter.

Freeman said...

And I barely, just barely, object. Sometimes, cyberspace defies all physical law and fills with a bit of hot air. It's not particularly objectionable... it's just negative.

Theatre Queen said...

Alison thanks for the mention and kind words.