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The Necessity of TheaterThe Art of Watching and Being Watched$
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Paul Woodruff

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195332001

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195332001.001.0001

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(p.188) TEN Laughter
The Necessity of Theater

Paul Woodruff (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Laughter tends to undermine caring, emotion, and empathy; therefore unmixed comedy would seem to work against the aims of the art of theater. But comedy is rarely unmixed. Although comedy and tragedy engage audiences in different ways, they both depend on the art of theater. Laughter, when it is not the laughter of exclusion, promotes empathy and a shared recognition of the absurdity that dogs the human condition.

Keywords:   emotion, comedy, tragedy, absurdity

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