Monday, March 30, 2009

Theresa Rebeck On Structure

Here's an interestingly defensive and cunningly argued article that Theresa Rebeck (author of Mauritius) wrote in the LA  Times about story, structure, and the cultural position of plot in the theater today.  I think of theater as storytelling, essentially, and it is kind of gross for me to think about someone rushing to the defense of narrative, championing Story.  Story is not going anywhere, and the Straw Man of the pompous and elitist (and alcoholic?) story-hater is, I think, silly.  

No one denies that King Lear has a plot.  No one really holds that against Shakespeare.  If too many contemporary plays are being written with a disregard for storytelling that's too bad for us and for them.  Exploring the possibilities of the stage is hard for me to look down on, until that becomes as institutionalized as whatever commercial form is ignoring those possibilities. If this has happened of plotlessness, it happened when I wasn't looking.

Hat Tip: LRN

1 comment:

Zev Valancy said...

I guess I have the same question as you--where are these people attacking structure, or disregarding it? In any literary department in which I've worked, faulty structure or poor storytelling are pretty strong marks against a script. I've never heard a solid structure attacked, except when that's all there is. If the structure is strong but the characters aren't interesting, or the plot, while well told, isn't credible, or the play has nothing interesting or true to say, then those are the problems. The structure might get faulted, but only because nothing else works. I may be wrong, but I'd love to see who is actually attacking or disdaining story.