In this essay I will be taking different plays and analysing their features and characteristics within them. I will be analysing ‘Beautiful Burnout’ performed by Frantic Assembly, ‘Lysistrata, or Loose Strife’ by David Stuttard, and ‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’ by William Shakespeare. Within these plays I will be looking at the style of writing it is, (eg – formal, informal, old English), the genre (eg – comedy, tragedy) and the themes. In the play ‘Beautiful Burnout’ is written in verses, like a poem. It doesn’t follow a pattern and doesn’t rhyme like a poem, but reads like a poem would.
The way the setting at the beginning of each scene is described is also in the same way as the actual lines. The language is fairly informal as it includes Scottish words written phonetically such as “nae mare nae less” meaning “no more no less”, which helps the actors/actresses pronounce the words in a Scottish accent effectively. It also uses colloquial language to Glasgow (Scotland in general) the place where the play is set such as “lassies” and “aye” to make the setting and the characters both realistic when compared to each other.
In comparison to this, ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’ is not written in verses. This play includes monologues that are made into lines depending on when the actor/actress would pause. In ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’, the language is mainly informal, similarly to ‘Beautiful Burnout’, but for the purpose to make the play humorous. The way sex throughout the play is portrayed is informal such as in the beginning scene where everything Lucy is saying is being turned into innuendos by Nikki to make the audience laugh, such as “They’re Greeks, everything they do, they do late.
And everything takes so long – starting, finishing, coming, g…” “Sometimes I wish my husband was a bit more like that! ” and “is it something big? ” “Yes, very big” “And hard? ” “Yes, very hard” “And juicy? ” “Very very juicy, yes”. Neither of the other plays use informal language for humour, if they do use it, it is to create realistic and believable characters and settings. In ‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’, uses the old English language as that was when the play was written.
This can make it harder to understand as a modern audience but can still get the plot and message across to the audience on stage. The lines are set up in verses, like ‘Beautiful Burnout’ and is written formally for the time it was written. Within the play sometimes the monologues can have a rhyming cuplet, as Shakespeare also wrote poetry as well as plays. Unlike ‘Beautiful Burnout’, none of the words are written phonetically and again, unlike ‘Beautiful Burnout’ and ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’, it written formally for its time.
All of these plays have genres which all differ dramatically. ‘Beautiful Burnout’ is a physical theatre play, which contrasts to both of the other plays. ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’ is a comedy and contemporary play, which again contrasts the other two plays. ‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’ is a tragedy and a Shakespearian play, which like the other plays, contrasts with both of the plays as well. The only similarity is through comedy and tragedy, which both are based on emotions, comedy being laughter/happiness, and tragedy being sadness/upset.
This leaves physical theatre completely standing out on its own, being completely different with no reachable comparisons to the other genres. ‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’ can be seen as a comedy is some cases, as the subplot is more comical than tragic, but the main plot line is labelled as a tragedy. The jokes made in ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’ completely differ to the ones made in ‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’, as they are from different time periods when comedy changed within them. The themes within the plays largely differ as well.
With ‘Beautiful Burnout’, the major running theme is boxing, as that is what the story is based on. Power is also a running theme throughout the play with the power Bobby thinks he has over the other characters and uses it to improve their efforts. This is shown when the characters refer to Bobby as “Mr Burgess” and not “Bobby” and in Scene 13 when Bobby is talking to Cameron and it’s very clear by what Cameron says that he is doing what Bobby is telling him to even though he is not pleases about it. “Things I give up for this.
Shoplifting. Borrowing cars. Smoking. Tobacco and weed. Girlfriends. I still dae shagging… But only on Friday and Saturday. I jest cannae dae the commitment thing wi lassies. What else…??? Crisps. Spare time. Spare time…Whit’s that? ”. In ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’, the theme of sex becomes obvious at the very beginning of the play with the character of Nikki making it completely unmissable. The way she links everything back to sex makes this a running theme that is clearly important to the plot of the play.
Power is also a big theme in ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’ as it is what the women gain when they refuse to have sex with their husbands and in contrast, what the husbands lose when not making peace and stopping the war. In ‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’ there are several themes, such as love is a cause of suffering. Many of the characters seem to view love as a kind of curse, a feeling that attacks its victims suddenly and disruptively.
Various characters claim to suffer painfully from being in love, or, rather, from the emotions linked with one-sided love. At one point, Orsino represents love unhappily as an “appetite” that he wants to satisfy and can’t. At another point, he calls his desires “fell and cruel hounds”. Olivia more bluntly describes love as a “plague” from which she suffers terribly. Another theme is the uncertainty of gender. ‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’ is one of Shakespeare’s ‘transvestite comedies’, in which a female character disguises herself as a man.
This situation creates a ‘sexual mess’ as Viola falls in love with Orsino but can’t tell him because he thinks she is a man, while Olivia, who Orsino loves, falls for Viola in her disguise as Cesario. There is a clear homoerotic subtext, Olivia is in love with a woman, even if she thinks he is a man, and Orsino often remarks on Cesario’s beauty, suggesting that he is attracted to Viola even before her male disguise is removed. With ‘Beautiful Burnout’ and ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’ the theme of power is common in both plays but is shown in different ways.
‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’ has completely different themes to do with issues that were not as forthright as they are now in modern day society, such as homosexuality and gender uncertainty. Throughout this essay, it is clear that there are many similarities and differences, some obvious, some hidden, within the plays. However, not all the plays included something that every play had, such as ‘Beautiful Burnout’ and ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’ being informal, and ‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’ being formal, and the style of language used.
It’s also obvious that with themes and genres, there can be similarities but they are generalised and don’t have specific details that are the exact same. It seems that ‘Beautiful Burnout’ and ‘Lysistrata, Or Loose Strife’ are quite similar compared to ‘Twelfth Night, Or What You Will’ which seems ti be completely different to the other plays and contrasts with the style of writing, themes and genres of both of the other plays.