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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Playing the role of educators : protagonists with dual purposes in The Noam Chomsky Lectures, Fronteras Americanas, and The Adventures of Ali and Ali and the Axes of Evil Strilchuk, Amy Lynn


This thesis is a close analysis of the relationship between form and content in three contemporary Canadian plays: The Noam Chomsky Lectures (Brooks and Verdecchia), Fronteras Americanas (Verdecchia), and The Adventures of Ali and Ali and the Axes of Evil (Youssef, Verdecchia, Chai). I focus on particular moments within each play where protagonists communicate Chomsky-inspired media theory through Brechtian devices such as direct address to the audience, the use of slide projections, and acknowledging that they exist as characters within a play. Each chapter assesses specific techniques used within a single play and their connection to the ideological impulses driving the theatrical communication. In doing so I demonstrate how each play’s particular formal features are related to specific ideological arguments. While the body of my thesis uses this method of dramaturgical analysis for Chomsky, Fronteras, and Ali and Ali, I also include numerous critical voices from various Canadian print publications in order to present a broader understanding of the current methods used by many critics and academics. When comparing my discoveries to theirs, I found a divide existed between two methods of analysis and the resulting conclusions that each group had made. One group of critics upholds dramatic techniques used in naturalism and Aristotelian forms and another group shares my method of analysis, discussing the relationship between form and content. I include this range of assessments in order to acknowledge the broad spectrum of discourse surrounding such contemporary plays and present the limits that exist when merely focusing on analysis that prioritizes neo-Aristotelian ideals.

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