Publication Date

April 2014

Advisor(s)

Charles Barber

Major

Theater

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of theater specifically in illuminating the nature of clinical depression. Given that depression is a deeply personal and internally focused illness, what new understanding can depictions of depression in contemporary playwriting offer that is unique to the form? Through an examination of three seminal works, ?night, Mother, The Effect and 4.48 Psychosis, I will argue that plays about depression invoke the audience simultaneously as the depressed character's sympathetic support system and as the force that isolates them in their own inescapable world, while the dramatic structure of the play forces the playwright to tell a story with a sense of closure that might otherwise feel foreign to the lived experience of depression.

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