The renowned painter Pablo Picasso once said, “Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth” (Fitzhenry 45). The principle behind Picasso’s wisdom was severely questioned during the realism movement of the late nineteenth century, as societal growth and scientific discovery brought a more honest perspective to the world. The theatre tried to become a verbatim reflection of the life that surrounded it, and the goal was to make this staged “lie” as minute and undetected as possible. Today, we are able to see that such a mirrored replication of life allows little room for a heavenly or spiritual presence on the stage. Where does an ethereal Being belong in realistic drama? The opinion of this paper is that God is seen in realistic theatre through the viewer’s biased eyes, rather than the actual subject material presented on stage.The time period of the realism movement was unlike any other. As men like Darwin and Freud challenged the scientific world with questions of creation and the human mind, scientists Albert Einstein and Alexander Graham Bell took the technological world by storm with inventions like the light bulb and the telephone. Old theories were finally questioned and new ideas were considered. Relativism became an option for the first time in history. As stated in Living Theatre, theatre began to experience a similar growth, as playwrights shunned the standard neoclassical ideals of the past and opened themselves up to a world of possibilities. Neat stories with neat endings were no longer considered the only option, and playwrights sought after a more truthful look at everyday life. Real life situations like double standards, disputing marriages, and disease torn families became viable subject matter for th…
… Today, realistic theatre questions the use of God in such tangible, earthly works. The spiritual realm, though not considered a traditional part of the everyday experience, can be seen throughout many pieces of realistic theatre in underlying tones depending upon one’s personal worldview and belief system. Though the realistic theatre does not leave room to necessarily include God or supernatural issues on the stage, the searching audience will most always return there. Through human struggles, one finds questions; through those questions, one finds the supernatural call of the human heart.Works Cited
“The Harper Book of Quotations.” Ed., Robert I. Fitzhenry. New York, New York:
HarperCollins, 1993. Print.
Wilson, Edwin. Living Theatre. Fifth Edition. New York, NY: McGraw-Hll, 2008. 373-375.