George Polti's 36 dramatic situations on film with Hannaleena Hauru


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George Polti:

(Elements: Tyrant and Conspirator)

As already observed, this situation is, in a measure
the converse of Class B of Situation VI.

Intrigue, so dear to the public of the past three cen-
turies, is obviously supplied by the very nature of the
subject we are now to consider. But, by some strange
chance, it has, on the contrary, always been treated
with the most open candor and simplicity. One or two
vicissitudes, a few surprises all too easily foreseen and
extending uniformly to all the personages of the play,
and there we have the conditions which have almost
invariably been attached to this action, so propitious,
nevertheless, to doubts, to equivocation, to a twilight
whose vague incertitude prepares the dawn of revolt
and of liberty.

A (1) A Conspiracy Chiefly of One Individual:
”The Conspiracy of Fiesco,” by Schiller; Corneille’s
”Cinna”; to some extent the ”Catilina” of Voltaire
(this tragedy belongs rather to the Thirtieth Situa-
tion, ”Ambition”) ; ”Thermidor” ; ”The Conspiracy of
General Malet” (Auge de Lassus, 1889) ; ”Le Grand
Soir” (Kampf) ; ”Le Roi sans Royaume” (Decourcelle,
1909) : ”Lorenzaccio” (Musset).

(2) A Conspiracy of Several: ”The Conspiracy of
the Pazzi” by Alneri ; ”Le Roman d’une Conspiration”
(by Foumier and Carre, after the story of Ranc) ;
”Madame Margot” (Moreau and Clairville, 1909) ; and,
in comedy, ”Ohantecler” (Rostand, 1910) with its
parody ”Rosse, tant et plus” (Mustiere, 1910).

B (1) Revolt of One Individual, Who Influences
and Involves Others: Goethe’s ”Egmont”; ”Jacques
Bonhomme” (Maujan, 1886) ; ”La Mission de Jeanne
d’Arc” (Dalliere, 1888). Example from fiction: ”Sal-
ammbo.” From history: Solon feigning madness.

(2) A Revolt of Many: ”Fontovejune,” by Lope
de Vega; Schiller’s ”William Tell”; Zola’s ”Germinal”;
”The Weavers of Silesia,” by Hauptmann (forbidden in
1893 with the approval of a Parliament soon afterward
dissolved) ; ”L’Automne,” by Paul Adam and Gabriel
Mourey (forbidden in 1893 with the approval of another
Parliament shortly before its dissolution) ; ”L’Armee
dans la Ville” (Jules Romain, 1911) : ”The Fourteenth
of July” (Roland, 1902). From fiction: a part of the
”Fortunes des Rougon” by Zola. From history; the
taking of the Bastile, and numerous disturbances of the
same period.

This species of action, particularly in modern scenes,
has given fine virile dramas to England, Spain, Italy
and Germany; of a forceful and authoritative char-
acter in the two first countries, of a youthful enthusi-
astic type in the two last. France, most certainly,
would seem of all countries the most likely to under-
stand and express such emotions.

But. . . ”Thermidor” was prohibited ”for fear”
it might offend the friends (centenarians apparently)
of Maximilian ; ”Le Pater” ”for fear” it might be dis-
pleasing to Communists; Zola’s ”Germinal” and
”L’Automne” by Adam and Mourey (two works
oainted in widely different colors, as the titles sufficient-
ly indicate) were stopped ”for fear” of the objections
of a few conservatives; ”Other People’s Money” by
Hennique, ”for fear” of shocking certain financiers
who have since been put behind bars ; ”Lohengrin” (al-
though the subject is Celtic) was long forbidden ”for
fear” of irritating a half-dozen illiterate French
chauvinists; an infinite number of other plays ”for
fear” ot annoying Germany (or our parlor diplomats
who talk of it) . . . . Yet others ”for fear” of vexing
the Grand Turk!

Is it possible, notwithstanding all this, to find a
single instance in which a dramatic production has
brought about a national calamity such as our censors
fear? The pretext is no more sincere than are those
urged for excluding from the theater any frank and
truthful representations of love. A rule against
admitting children should be sufficient to satisfy
modesty on this point; even that is little needed, since
children unaccompanied by their elders rarely apply for

Our sentimental bourgeoisie apparently holds to the
eighteenth-century opinion that it is more dangerous
to listen to these things in public than to read of them
in private. For our dramatic art which, be it noted,
has remained, despite its decline, the one great un-
rivalled means of propagating French thought
throughout Europe has been forbidden, little by little,
to touch directly upon theology, politics, sociology,
upon criminals or crimes, excepting (and pray why
this exception?) adultery, upon which subject our
theater, to its great misfortune, now lives, at least two
days out of three.

The ancients had a saying that a man enslaved loses
half his soul. A dramatist is a man.


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