Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Expressionism and Harold Pinters Plays Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - 1750 words

Expressionism and Harold Pinters Plays - Essay Example Expressionism is the term used to define many different pieces of artwork including paintings, sculptures, film and plays, that in some way distort reality for emotional effect. Painters can use expressionist techniques to blur solid lines, play with light or change the facial features on a portrait so that the viewer gets a real sense of the emotion of the piece; fear, despair, love (Murphy, 1999, 40). By working with expressionist techniques instead of using realism, many artists feel more capable of portraying the proper feeling of their pieces than if everything were to appear perfectly lifelike. Expressionism is meant to dig beneath a realistic surface and expose what lies beneath. In terms of the theatre, most early expressionist plays are credited to German playwrights of the early 20th century. Writers such as Georg Kaiser and Ernst Toller were two of the most successful early expressionistic playwrights; their influence quickly spread to other countries including America where this style of theatre was considered very trendy in the 1920's (Valgamae, 1972, 1-15). Plays such as these relied heavily on the ability of the actors as they were often scripted to over-dramatise emotional states and to literalise metaphor; many expressionistic plays focused on the dramatisation of a protagonist's spiritual awakening or suffering. A good example of an expressionist play can be found in Oskar Kokoschka's 1909 Murderer, The Hope of Women. In this production, Kokoschka's characters remain unnamed throughout in an effort to focus the attentions of the audience to the more obscure themes. The Man and the Woman are engaged in a power struggle and during the course of the play Man brands Women, who in turn imprisons Man (1909). The entire play is set up as a purely connotative and emotional look at what might well be a normal relationship between a man and a woman. Like other expressionist forms of art, theatre focuses on the reality behind the everyday, and achieves this with the use of literalism, metaphor and hyperbole. Harold Pinter Pinter is an English playwright who has been active for several decades in various facets of the writing world. Aside from writing 29 well-received stage plays, he has written 26 screenplays and a myriad of radio and television plays as well as having acted on stage himself. Pinter began his writing career as a teenage poet, but soon found himself on stage; in the 1950's he enjoyed an acting career under the name David Baron but eventually writing overtook his desire to pursue acting. His playwriting is very unorthodox in both Pinter's approach as a writer and in its materialisation on stage; these plays earned him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2005 (Peacock, 1997, 13-33). Pinter has been politically active since he became a conscientious objector at 18; since then the writer has participated in the UK's Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the British Anti-Apartheid Movement and the Playwright's in Apartheid Protest. He has been very active in International PEN (International Poets, Essayists and Novelists), a group of diverse writers from around the world who promote the use of literature in crossing cultural borders. Currently Pinter is a member of the Cuban Solidarity

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