5th March class


3- Analysis of Comedy

Intro idea of the possible uses or even necessity of comedy in otherwise ‘serious’ drama - we don’t see comedy always appearing in serious prose writing. Not every drama needs to have a comic strain, but the nature of ‘an evening at the theatre’ often means a playwright introduces some humour into their script.

Often it is deliberately employed in stark contrast to the serious subject and theme.

(Just put types on board, not details) Go through different possible comic ingredients to a drama: e.g.

Comic language.

Irony - can be used a trait of one or more characters. Def: saying one thing but really meaning the opposite of what their words apparently express.

Word play, or historically, wit - often used endlessly in historical plays or contemporary plays set in past times when wit was a ‘mark of quality’. Def: using the potential for double meaning in words or phrases, or substituting words with other similar sounding ones.

Sarcasm - can be used a trait of one or more characters. Def: any cutting or bitter remark that is not just a blunt expletive or insult. Can be anything from a plain put down to a cunningly worded attack.

Misunderstanding (intentional or otherwise) - often deliberately misunderstanding what someone is saying is a way of leading into irony or engaging sarcasm.

Bathos - Def: a sudden crashing down from high flown ‘elevated’ ideas to the absolute common place). Use of bathos can make a character look absurd

Just plain joke telling, one character could be the sort of person who just cracks jokes, funny or otherwise), whihc may or may not come out of the plot or just from his store of remembered jokes.

Situational comedy

Absurdity, which turns on a situation or idea being so unexpected or out of the usual that the effect of it is comic. (Bathos also involves absurdity.)

Misunderstanding can also be situational, characters can do things that are funny because they are misunderstanding the situation.

Physical comedy

Anything from a strange look, an unusual prop, to a custard pie in the face, or positioning on stage (Whitehall farces). Also known as sight gags

Then we looked at first 14 pages of a radio comedy script – Rudy’s Rare Records which you can download as a PDF (the whole script) through BBC writersroom home page, go to script archive, go to radio comedy, there it is.

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