ABSTRACT

Theatre critics sometimes bemoan the proliferation of direct address in 21st-century drama. In a heated opinion piece for the New York Times, Charles Isherwood lambasts the overuse by emerging playwrights of direct address to the audience. It is, he complains, a suspension of drama because it gets in the way of genuine dialogue, which must be between characters:

when characters step forward to talk to us in the middle of a play, they call attention to the artifice of the enterprise, reminding us that we’re at the theater watching a writer’s commentary on human experience, not the thing itself.