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Black Comedy and the Case of Monstrosity
This final 3 page writing assignment will call on students to compose a comparative analysis of Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them by Christopher Durang and the Lone Brick Theatre production of “Continuity Not Required”. Students will do the following:
1) Select a single scene from those performed in the staged production. Students may choose from the following scenes:
- The Hardy Boys and the Mystery of Where Babies Come From
- DMV Tyrant
- John and Mary Doe
- The Book of Leviticus Show
- Gym Teacher
- Phyllis & Xenobia
- The Doctor Will See You Now
- Funeral Parlor
- Kitty the Waitress
- Woman Stand Up
- An Altar Boy Talks to God
- Canker Sores and Other Distractions
- Desire, Desire, Desire
2) Students will analyze how comedic elements operate in the selected scene compared to those found in Why Torture Is Wrong. You need not cover the entire range of elements. Instead, I’m looking for where the scene and the text have commonality.
3) Students will investigate how monstrosity plays a role in the comedic elements selected.
For example, you might consider the monstrosity of Leonard’s attitudes toward Zamir as being fundamental to Leonard’s conservative, right-wing perspective in Why Torture Is Wrong and you might consider Lettie Lu’s “religious right” attitude toward homosexuality in “The Book of Leviticus Show”. You would then examine how these monstrosities compare and how Durang turns them into comedy.