The ancient Greeks knew that tragedy could be funny, but for the most part, they didn't see it as laugh-out-loud funny. For them, it was a state occasion. The fate of the hero or heroine had the dignity to represent the destiny of the state as a whole: This was what we could come to if we didn't live moderately and acknowledge the power of those tricky external forces that the Greeks called the gods. For modern playwrights, living in the era since serious religion died, the hard part has been making the fate of the individual meaningful enough to be taken seriously for a full evening. If the individual's a king, and the whole nation will crumble with his downfall, that's tragedy no matter how many jokes are made during its course. But if the individual is only the guy in the next cubicle, and his disaster is precipitated by his own personal... More >>>