Heasman, Michael Kenneth (2010)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.
Rocks! (Are Hard To Care For) is a character-driven comedy drama about people abruptly shaken out of their taken-for-granted routines and forced to consider what and who it is they really care about in their lives. It is a play about the existential clash between permanence and impermanence, people literally stuck between a rock and a hard place. The two Act play finds Mark, in his 40s, at the epicenter when his safe, predictable life routine is shattered as his relationship with his wife Molly collapses and his boss Derek sacks him. He appears to find redemption in a new relationship with Susan who is constructing a Rock Peace Garden, a ‘mini-Grand Canyon’, as a monument to her late husband. All four characters confront their personal inertia and isolation to ‘get a grip’ on their lives. A consistent challenge in the playwriting process has been structure and genre. The focus of the essay preceding the play, therefore, is a reflection on and critical analysis of issues connected to this aspect of playwriting. The essay analyses the play within the broader context of comedy drama and investigates dramaturgical, genre, and structural issues through considering characterization, stylized elements, and the rewriting of different drafts.
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