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DRAMA: Modernism to Post-Modernism



The Symbolist movement in France in the 1880s first adopted Wagner's ideas. The Symbolists called for "detheatricalising" the theatre, meaning stripping away all the technological and scenic encumbrances of the 19th century and replacing them with a spirituality that was to come from the text and the acting. The texts were laden with symbolic imagery not easily construed-rather they were suggestive. The general mood of the plays was slow and dream-like. The intention was to evoke an unconscious response rather than an intellectual one and to depict the nonrational aspects of characters and events.

The play we studied in relation to symbolism was Maurice Maeterlinck's "The Intruder".


What was SYMBOLIC about the play?

In 'The Intruder', Maeterlinck was particularly symbolic about death. Examples of symbolism were:
> the nightengales stopping their singing
> hearing the scythe being sharpened
> the night being still and cold
> a blind man feeling a presence in the room that no one else could feel.

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Jessica Lane,
Modern Drama B Assignment