Entertaining the Lord Chamberlain: Joe Orton and His Black Comedy
|Authors:||施純宜||Keywords:||喬‧歐騰;黑色幽默;黑色喜劇;驚嚇;激怒;挑釁;審查制度;審查大人;Joe Orton;black humor;black comedy;shock value;shock effects;censorship;the Lord Chamberlain||Issue Date:||Dec-2008||Source:||NTU Studies in Language and Literature||Start page/Pages:||039-070||Abstract:||
This essay attempts to explore the shock value of Joe Orton’s black comedy in the 1960s. The homosexual playwright has been known for his rebellious and subversive humor, with which he scandalized and confronted the bourgeois audience and the English society at that time. The shock effects of Orton’s black comedy have been questioned. In his “Who was Afraid of Joe Orton?” Alan Sinfield maintains that Orton succeeded in shocking and offending the conservative theatergoers, but failed to provoke or disturb the progressive ones. This essay will argue that it was, and had been, the orthodox bourgeoisie, rather than the young and radical generation, that Orton’s outrageous comedy aimed at. The essay will also point out an influence on the shock effects that is important yet has not been considered by Sinfield, namely, stage censorship. Writing at a time when the censorship was still effective, Orton had to confine his work within the boundaries of what was allowed on stage. Theater censorship was certainly one of the factors—and an irrefutable one—that frustrated Orton’s radicalism. This essay therefore will discuss how Orton deliberately stepped over the Lord Chamberlain’s limits to challenge his authority by showing the censor’s reactions to Orton’s scripts and his unfavorable opinions of them. The purpose of the essay is to contend that Orton’s black comedy was shocking and provocative in his time, and could have been more shocking and provocative if not restricted by the censoring powers.
|Appears in Collections:||外國語文學系|
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