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Noel Coward Writing Styles in Private Lives

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While Coward is known for his witty dialogue, his work is relatively short on quotable "punch-lines" or one-lmers, the kind of which define the comedic style of writers like playwright Neil Simon (The Odd Couple) and filmmaker Woody Allen (Annie Hall), The humor of Private Lives depends greatly on its expert stagecraft and carefully-balanced construction. In his introduction to the anthology Play Parade, Coward modestly describes the play as "a reasonably well-constructed duologue for two experienced performers, with a couple of extra puppets thrown in to assist the plot and provide contrast." This self-deprecating assessment points to two of the playwright's strengths: his awareness of the abilities of the "experienced performers" with whom he worked, and his attention to contrast and symmetry.

Coward used actors he knew, he often tailored his fictional characters to match his thespians personalities and physical traits, and he paced his dialogue to fit these...

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This section contains 686 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Private Lives Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Private Lives from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.