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Kamarck, Edward (ed.) / Arts in society: the arts of activism
(1969)

Holden, Joan
Part VI: guerilla theatre: comedy and revolution,   pp. [415]-[420] PDF (5.6 MB)


Page [415]


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RUZZANTE OR THE VETERAN by The San Francisco
COMEDY AND REVOLUTION Photograph by Charles Bigelow
by Joan Holden
"Don't you find that your comedy gets in the way of what you are trying
to say?"
A question often posed by serious-minded members of the audience.
There is a general prejudice that says that laughter is a diversion, a vacation
from serious concerns. Among radicals this takes the form "That was
fun but now
let's get back to the revolution." Comic artists are accustomed to being
treated
as lightweights and generally don't bother to argue; however, the times,
which everyone
feels changing, oblige all artists to justify what they are doing, and here
is an
occasion. A defense of comedy as revolutionary art implies a theory of revolutionary
art.
It is easy enough to show - as F. M. Cornford, Freud, and Northrup Frye have
done -
that the concerns of comedy are as serious, indeed usually the same, as those
of
tragedy. THE TROJAN WOMAN and LYSISTRATA are opposite projections of a single
reality: In the starkest terms, comedy and tragedy dramatize the struggle
between
life and death; in tragedy death wins, in comedy life. But this is precisely
the
Mime Troupe
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