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Extremists - P age |1 Extremists Sarah Hall Brewer April...

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P a g e | 1 Extremists Sarah Hall Brewer April 14 th , 2008
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P a g e | 2 Before starting a play, an author has to pre-determine many aspects of said play. One decision he or she must come to is what the style of each play should be. Is it a comedy or a tragedy? Not only that, but they need to figure out how their chosen theme will reflect the message they are trying to give off. In the case of The Clean House , Lonesome West , and The Lieutenant of Inishmore , each author chose to set the play in a very non-realistic situation. Each playwright seemed to pull off the extreme situations they chose as well as getting their message across through the style that they chose each play to be. In Sarah Ruhl’s play, The Clean House , the actual story itself is not that far-fetched. A woman is married for several years and finally realizes that it was nothing like what she thought, and then one day her husband runs off with a patient. Although it might sound extreme, there have been situations like that in real life. The non-realistic part of Ruhl’s play is the amount of imagination used in it. Three fairly good examples come to mind for this (as some would call it) magical realism. To clarify first, even though the characters are in non-realistic situations to us, to each of them, the extremity is reality. For example, on page 61 Matilde is explaining to Lane and Virginia what is happening between Ana and Charles. She explains that Ana will not go see a doctor, and then we see Ana yelling that she refuses to go. In a fit of rage she throws a jar of spice which, to her, is being thrown out into the sea which her balcony over-looks. However, the stage directions indicate that “a cloud of yellow spice lands in Lane’s living room.” To the other three women, it is not weird. They have accepted the reality of it. Another example is when snow begins to fall onto the set on page 77, which is still Ana’s balcony and Lane’s living room, to illustrate Charles in Alaska. No one mentions the snow, but each character realizes the snow in each house.
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P a g e | 3 The third situation where characters accept an extreme reality is when Charles throws his sweater off of the balcony into Lane’s living room on page 64. This transition from one reality to another is marvelous. Charles undresses to run into the sea to be with his new love. Lane finds the sweater in her living room, and without questioning it, picks it up and breathes it in. She cries at the thought of him. We see one reality just beginning and another ending.
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