Discuss the structure of La Ronde. How is the play constructed? What is the significance of this construction?
La Ronde came to be known as an outstanding play during its time. Created by Arthur Schnitzler and premiered in the 1900s, it was a film that dared to analyze some of the most provocative topics of the 19th century. It evaluated sexual morality and ideologies of class through the interactions of several characters. Film production and structure strived to incorporate a range of attributes as well as to convey how the issue of sexual transgressions affects various class boundaries. Due to the weight of the topics it has covered, the play was not authorized for public viewing until 1921. It generated harsh and critical reactions to the conveyed ideas. La Ronde is an example of a work of art where the subject of the play dictated its distinctive ten-scene structure.
To begin with, it is essential to understand what made the play popular. Perhaps the heavy seductive structure of the masterpiece attracted and captivated the audience. The play was made of 10 scenes that involved women and men, with the initial scene focusing on a soldier and a whore. It was crafted to operate with only two characters that were tasked with the duty of morphing into a brand-new hero or heroine for each scene. Each of the subsequent acts took a protagonist from the previous one and transformed them into a new character. The encounters had a strong sexual connotation, which transverses through class and professions (Schnitzler, 2010). They painted a picture of sexual promiscuity, dropping hints about the spread of diseases. The audience had to carefully follow the subtle variations created with the change of scenes and characters.
The structure clearly depicted some of the themes which could have been easily confused. It evaluated love and sex carefully and safely through dialogues between the characters. The concept was effective, even though simple. For instance, the play presents a scene where two protagonists converse and eventually engage in intercourse. As the part comes to an end, the succeeding scene features the old lovers with a new one. These two characters also ultimately engage in intercourse, yet one of them still leaves and interacts with another partner (Schnitzler, 2002). The result is a full sexual circle. The play made use of simple concepts, but at the same time skilfully employed an unusual evaluation of love as well as the unquenchable animal desires that drive everyday behavior and human existence.
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For the enthusiasts of theatre that would have anticipated the play to take a familiar format, the disappointment would have been inevitable. La Ronde has an unconventional structure. It touches the lives of the ten characters, yet still continues, giving no sense of finality or any resolution. It is not a traditional play. The dialogues are unidirectional, and often the viewer is left with questions that push them to seek answers (Schnitzler, 2010). Perhaps this lack of directions was Schnitzler’s way to camouflage the strong controversial themes. Hitherto, directors and producers of films and plays are careful, even reluctant to address such strong topics.
The director of the play successfully created an experience that arose from a series of creative aspects that engaged the audience. For instance, the background and the set were simple in design and presented in a subtle manner. Surprisingly, the locations were created solely with the help of four chairs, two shelf units and a fabric for decoration. The dialogues were carefully crafted such that they flowed effortlessly from one scene to another, which resulted in a sense of fluidity and continuity (Gill, 2017). In general, the play was a revolutionary gateway to themes such as love and intimacy.
Although unsuspected, one of the strongest features of the play was the design of its sound. The director managed to create a detailed canvas of the sound, which played a vital role in captivating the audience. One would have expected sexual sounds to be a part of cues, but it was not the case in La Ronde. On occasion, there were sound cues, which appeared to be in harmony with the actions and enhanced the scene (Schnitzler, 1982). Some of the scenes featured recorded dialogues, which allowed the play to have a variety of voices suitable for each of the scenes. The diversity of the voices also enabled the audience to perceive the change from one character to another.
Actors, namely Ken Barnett and Alyson Weaver, were the key performers in the play. They effectively portrayed the ten characters and evolved from one character into the next with expertise. A major factor in the success of their protagonists is the chemistry between them, which only gets stronger as they progress deeper into the story(Schnitzler, 1982). Although the audience could have benefited more from a diversification of the characters, the use of just two of them conveys the message that we are all the same in the struggle to find love. It is essential for the audience to pay attention to the differences in the characters in order to maintain common themes.
As a show of creativity and sensitivity to the subject, the production made use of dance as an illustration of sex. The dance was not in direct view of the audience as the curtains were drawn before and during the act. It was nominal but operative in statement of the sexual note. Considering the time and culture of its premier, perhaps the play would not have seen the light of day, had it portrayed the typical actions done in bed. Such creativity is an example of being culturally aware (Schnitzler, & Mueller, 1999). The overall design of the film was also essential for the communication of the director’s concept. The set for the play was an exceptional choice, which was a depiction of the scenes in a house. Nonetheless, there was a restriction on the choice of outfits. The costumes were not sufficient to convey the characters of the play, since they were plain and suggestive.
La Ronde became popular for a number of reasons. At the top of the list is the fact that it was one of the initial plays of its time where the characters were presumed to engage in sexual intercourse on the stage. The actors were shown right before they interacted during the act and curtains were lowered. The play was also unique, since it was the basic example of the work the subject of which determined its structure. Schnitzler boycotted the concept of a four or a five act play, which were popular at that time. The play has a structure of ten scenes, each of them presenting a dialogue between a man and woman. Each scene introduced a character from the previous act as well as a new one and the circle continued indefinitely. In each subsequent scene, the protagonist was on a higher level of hierarchy, in comparison to the other, showing a social rank as the play proceeded. It came to an ironic end as the lowest member, the whore, met the highest member, the high court judge.