The Actors's Nightmare and The 15 Minute Hamlet - Essay Example

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Although, there are latest adaptations of this play, originally, it was presented in 1981 by Playwrights Horizons in New York City. The play is…
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The Actorss Nightmare and The 15 Minute Hamlet
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The Actors Nightmare The of the selection, which is performed, is The Actors Nightmare, and the of this short comic play is Christopher Durang. Although, there are latest adaptations of this play, originally, it was presented in 1981 by Playwrights Horizons in New York City. The play is about a character named George Spelvin, an accountant by profession but who is mistaken for the main actors understudy, and thus forced to play the lead role and perform in the play, although he does not know the play’s story as well as lines to be uttered.
The author of the play, Christopher Ferdinand Durang is an American playwright, who is known for humor based works, which dealt with important and even controversial issues in an absurd as well as outrageous way. Although, he has been coming up with popular works from the 1980s, his works are achieving immense critical as well as commercial success from late 1990s into 2000s. Some of his best known works through the last three decades includes Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Baby With the Bathwater, The Nature and Purpose of the Universe, Titanic, The Idiots Karamazov, Laughing Wild, Naomi in the Living Room, etc, etc. His latest play of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike got the Tony Award for the Best Play for the year 2013. As mentioned above, his plays often dealt with sensitive as well as controversial issues like homosexuality, child abuse, religious activities, etc., in a critical way.
As pointed out above, the play was written and performed in early 1980s, and it mainly reflected the experiences of the actors including Durang, particularly how they will react, if they forget their lines while performing on the stage. In 1980s, stage plays garnered sizable audience, more than the current times, and so the pressure was always on the actors to perform without miss every time. With Durang himself being an actor, who have also faced the ‘actors’ nightmare’ of forgetting the lines, this play reflected author’s personal experiences as well as the professional pressure faced by the actors in those times. In addition, with the issues like homosexuality and child abuse coming into the public domain in 1980s, more than the previous decades, Durang’s plays were maximally relevant to those times. “There was a time in the 1980s when Christopher Durangs absurdist dark comedies turned up on every stage in Central Florida, and audiences were used to his tales of dysfunctional parochial-school students and nuns with guns.” (Maupin). Durang’s take on these sensitive and controversial issues in a humorous but at the same time critical way had an impact on the audience as well. As discussed above, with the audience being used to Durang’s way of writing and presenting plays, they always entered the performance arena with the expectation of seeing some contentious as well as sensitive issue presented in a satirical manner. To conclude, it can be seen from the above analysis, the play, The Actor’s Nightmare was written by Durang influenced by his personal experiences as an actor. In addition, having dealt with key issues in his plays in a humor plus critical ways, his works stand the test of time and people look forward to it even now.
Work Cited
Maupin, Elizabeth. “Humor Of Beyond Therapy Works Best When Its Reined In.”
Orlando Sentinel, 26 July 1996. Web. 7 April 2014.
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