Comedy and A Full Arch of Experience

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From a lecture at University of Calgary in Performance in Film and Videogames.

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Comedy and A Full Arch of Experience

  1. 1. COMEDY and a Full Arch of Experience
  2. 2. The Comic Character • His/her desire against forces of antagonism is marked by a blind obsession. • Crackling wits such as Moliere, Shakespeare, Wilde, Chaplin assigned characters a “humour” – fixations that the protagonists do not see.
  3. 3. Jeff Bridges as The Dude The Big Lebowski 1998 Cohen Brothers, Writer/Directors) Genre: COMEDY Dude Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it back.” (From IMDB) Costars: John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Philip Seymore Hoffman, John Turturro.
  4. 4. WATCH FOR: • Does the Dude make a full character arch? Does he become changed/more powerful after a hero’s journey? • Does Dude have an interesting and complex subtext? • Can we analyze Dude as he pursues desire against forces of antagonism? Does he have a blind obsession? • Does “Electronic Encoding” ie camera, lights, sound, enhance the performance. • Do the writers leave room for/love the character? • Can we detect improv? How about blind obsessions? NO NO YES MAYBE YES Y Y YES
  5. 5. John Cleese as Archie Leach A Fish Called Wanda, 1998 Cleese/Crichton, Writer/Directors) Genre: COMEDY “A comedy about Sex, Murder, and Seafood.” Characters team up to commit armed robbery, then try to doublecross each other for the loot.” Ensemble: John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Michael Palin, Kevin Kline
  6. 6. WATCH FOR: • Does Archie make a full character arch? Does he change/become more powerful after a hero’s journey? How/When? • Does Archie have an interesting and complex backstory? • Can we analyze Archie as he pursues desire against forces of antagonism? What is his blind obsession? Other characters? • Do the writers leave room for/love the character? • Can we detect improv? Electronic encoding? • See signs as per the Pressure Cooker of Cultural Codes?

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