Drooling on the Pillow

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Restoration Comedy 

I love Restoration Comedy and have done most of the major ones. What appeals to me is the unique blend of structure and anarchy. The characters are stock, the plots are well worn and the language is generally formal. These elements are put in service of needs, fears and goals that are as extravagant and monomaniacal as Wile E. Coyote's.

I like that because we're all like that. At least I am. I usually don't act on these emotions and if I do I certainly don't express them as well, but what makes these emotionally volatile characters so charming, so recognizable and, occasionally so heartbreaking is that they seem to live at the points in life we merely vist. When they love they Love. That's all they are. When they hate they Hate. Sure, you want a new digital camera for Christmas, but can you remember when you wanted something so badly that it blotted out the rest of life? Probably hasn't happened since you were ten or, if you're like me, since ten minutes ago.

I once played Faulkland in The Rivals. He's jealous. Or, rather, Jealous. To the point where his patently faithful and adoring girlfriend makes him writhe and burn with every innocuous remark. I did very well with this role, probably because I am nearly as insecure as Faulkland. The comedy is in the wit of the writing and the inability of the characters to release from their obsessions. It's wonderful to watch those painful little fireballs we generally stifle, ignore or sublimate escape into the world and rule the lives of the characters. Especially since, for the innocent hearts, it all turns out well in the end.
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