• Duncan Wu


What is it that distinguishes theatre from any other art form? No doubt it has much to do with what Richard Eyre calls its ‘human’ scale.2 Film enlarges and distorts everything it touches; the medium is inherently larger-than-life, and inherently alien from the viewer. Its characters pass through the consciousness of the audience in disembodied form. But theatre is more direct: its audience is engaged with the lives of other human beings in the same time and place. And it is that immediacy that makes the theatre more intense, more compelling, than any other medium. It is what makes it a more potent vehicle of what Hazlitt calls the ‘sublime’ than any other.


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  1. 12.
    Sarah Kane, Blasted and Phaedra’s Love (London: Methuen Drama, 1996) p. 90.Google Scholar
  2. 13.
    I take issue with Peter Ansorge’s recent contention that Sarah Kane and her contemporaries have ‘almost nothing to say’ (see Peter Ansorge, From Liverpool to Los Angeles (London: Faber and Faber, 1997) p. 119).Google Scholar
  3. 14.
    Mark Ravenhill, Shopping and Fucking (London: Methuen Drama, 1996) p. 3.Google Scholar
  4. 20.
    See, for instance, Richard Nelson and David Jones, Making Plays: The Writer-Director Relationship in the Theatre Today (London: Faber and Faber, 1995)Google Scholar
  5. Maria Delgado and Paul Heritage, In Contact with the Gods? Directors Talk Theatre (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1996)Google Scholar
  6. Arthur Bartow, The Director’s Voice: Twenty-One Interviews (New York: Theater Communications Group, 1988).Google Scholar
  7. 21.
    For some helpful interviews with modern female playwrights in Britain see Heidi Stephenson and Natasha Langridge, Rage and Reason: Women Playwrights on Playwriting (London: Routledge, 1997).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Duncan Wu 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duncan Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.St Catherine’s CollegeOxfordUK

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