Judith Thompson's Alternative Theatre Analysis

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As an actress, playwright and director, Judith Thompson is one of Canada’s most celebrated and well-known writers. Although she has never written an autobiography, she writes based on her perception of the Canadian human experience. Indeed, in a video called “the Muscle of Denial” she describes writing “with her blood” because she uses method acting to “delve deeper” into her characters’ psyche (Judith Thompson on “the Muscle of Denial” 2014). The struggles of being a female playwright, she suggests, is based on the paradox of fear: being fearless is potentially dangerous in her writing, yet at the same time, her fear ignites her fight against the stereotype that a woman cannot be a playwright, but her fear is never extinguished. Similarly,…show more content…
In addition, Judith’s works are considered alternative because she writes the biographies of marginalized people based on a fictional narrative. Perhaps, one of her reasons for writing alternative work, largely about violence and horror in modern society, is because she is diagnosed with mild epilepsy allowing her to illustrate her characters’ conscious and unconscious motivations based on their emotions: “seizure is a form of death. One has no choice but to surrender to the darkness and the chaos, and hope one will come out alive on the other end” (CanWWR,…show more content…
The set clearly portrays a community living in poverty with “a battered couch, balls of newspaper, [and] an old chain-link fence”. The description of lights on the set is “beautiful” because it provides an “eerie but soft glow over everything” and potentially symbolizing the gaze of the non-marginalized community, whereas the set symbolizes the marginalized people in poverty. It is interesting that the critic herself undergoes a similar experience as the characters by being a “public creature”--- she impulsively judges the play and its characters based on her emotions. Throughout the play, the critic first experiences fear of the set and the character of the Crackwalker, then boredom from the unnecessary length of the play and being desensitized by the issues of violence and poverty, and finally enlightenment of learning about Kingston’s marginalized community. Moreover, the critic is a “public creature” because she is reviewing the play for the theatre community while battling her own paradox of fear that stems from the set and character of

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