Robertson Davies Drama Analysis
In all of his nondramatic writing, Robertson Davies demonstrated a keen sense of the absurdity of social pretension, an awareness of the dark world of the unconscious, and a love of magic. In many of his fictional works, the theater plays an important part, whether it be the amateur production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest (pr. 1611), which sets the stage for Tempest-Tost, or the flamboyant actor-manager of the melodramatic school who holds center stage in World of Wonders. Regardless of genre, Davies’ perspective is that of the ironic, detached, urbane, yet sensitive observer, a reporter of the quirks of fortune that act on human existence and that serve to reveal the inner workings of the heart.
The dramatic writing of Davies stands far removed from the mainstream of mid-twentieth century drama. The majority of modern drama is realistic in language and characterization, if not in form. Davies rejected this trend for older and blatantly theatrical models such as medieval masques and morality play and nineteenth century Romantic comedies and melodramas. In his commentary on his own plays, Davies confirmed his commitment to alternatives to realism. He rejected the naturalistic school of drama, which seeks to reproduce daily life on the stage, for, as Davies noted, it is the paradox of the theater that plays are sometimes most like life when they are least like a photograph of reality.
Davies’ love for...
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