Cry Hard: An Original One-Man Show as Insight into Historical Adaptation and Comic Theory




Meis, Calder

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This thesis centers on the writing and production of an original one-man show about Alexander the Great, CRY HARD. The popular action film Die Hard (1988) apocryphally misrepresents the words of Alexander as noted in Plutarch's Moralia, creating the opportunity for dramatic conflict and comic subversion as Alexander attempts correct his misaligned legacy. This creative product serves as a vehicle for an exploration of the intersection of two narrow narrative fields. Adaptation of biographical history into a comic form is without much scholarship. The one-man show is a challenging narrative form with its own set of insular rules dissimilar to those of traditional stage-plays. This thesis posits two inter-connected methodologies to overcome these narrative obstacles. First, when adapting history into comedy, I posit that the primary intent of the playwright should be to make the fact familiar. That is to say, one should distill the essence of the historical fact and connect it to something more universal, so that into it the entire audience can vest emotional interest. More, I assert that a character-writing model centered on the principle of laughter as a socially corrective gesture, as found in Henri Bergson's Laughter: An essay on the meaning of the comic, is an effective approach that generates empathetic ambiguity and comic potential.



Theatre, Comic Theory, Historical Adaptation, Solo Performance