Read e-book online Slapstick and Comic Performance: Comedy and Pain PDF

By L. Peacock

ISBN-10: 1137438975

ISBN-13: 9781137438973

ISBN-10: 1349349291

ISBN-13: 9781349349296

Slapstick comedy has an extended and vigorous heritage from Greek Theatre to the current day. This booklet explores the ways that comedian discomfort and comedian violence are played inside of slapstick to make the viewers giggle. It attracts examples from theatre, tv and movie on each side of the Atlantic.

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The first custard pie was thrown at Fatty Arbuckle by Mabel Normand in A Noise from the Deep in 1913. Prior to that, as we have already seen, water was thrown around in pantomimes and, even earlier, What is Slapstick? 33 food was commonly thrown on stage in commedia dell’arte. Throwing objects includes an element of transgression. In everyday life we would be unlikely to get away with throwing pies or water at either our friends or our enemies. The audience may, therefore, take some vicarious pleasure in seeing the victims being hit or soaked.

Superficially they appear quite straightforward. Structural elements (A) Repetition Repetition is clearly an important element of slapstick performance. For example there is a difference in audience response when they watch a 40 Structures and Techniques of Slapstick 41 performer being hit over the head with a frying pan once, three times or twenty times. There is, in any sequence of repetition, an optimum number of repeats, which will be affected by such aspects as audience identification with and empathy for the character being hit or the character doing the hitting, the use of supporting sound effects and the apparent effect of the repeated impacts.

These trips can result in dramatic and painful falls. Sometimes comic pain occurs as the result of what I define as malicious props. Such props appear to take on a life of their own, behaving in ways that neither the viewer nor the antagonist would anticipate but which serve to make objects much more dangerous – and more animate – than they should be. A significant example of this is the house in The Money Pit, which will be considered in Chapter 5. Closely related to malicious props is the throwing of objects.

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Slapstick and Comic Performance: Comedy and Pain by L. Peacock


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