The Great Plotnik

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Writer's Food For Thought Number 12,000

January is breaking Plotnik records for sunshine and great theater. Another day of sun today, which follows last night's epic "Clybourne Park" at A.C.T. Plotnik is always excited to get to see so much live theater, but the shows this month have been very, very special, and the month ain't over yet either, with the new SF Playhouse and Magic Theater productions still to go.

If you want to find out how to write an Act Two, go see this one. Act One makes you want to scream, but you find out later that all of that is on purpose. Wow, what a tour de force. You can read the San Francisco Theater Blog Review of "Clybourne Park" here.

As at many A.C.T. shows, the press material is fascinating and informative. Bruce Norris, the author of Clybourne Park, is talking about the difference between tragedy and comedy, which is a question you ask yourself while seeing this show. Act One is supposed to be funny -- and you hear many people laughing. But during the intermission the woman sitting next to Plotnik (not Ducknik -- on the other side) turned and said to him "Boy! That made me feel REALLY uncomfortable. Why were all those people laughing?" Plotnik felt exactly the same way.

Norris writes that to him Act One is a tragedy and Act Two is a comedy. His reason is that, for him, tragedy is only possible when everybody understands each other, when they share the same sense of themselves. In this way, when something awful happens, everyone experiences it and feels it.

On the other hand, comedy happens when nobody understands each other, when the same act creates totally different reactions in different people. This is funny, because nobody is on the same page and their different reactions crack us up.

Writer's Food For Thought Number 12,000.


At 7:02 PM, Blogger mary ann said...

We see this Tues. night!


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