Laughter and Traditions of the Russian Classical Comedy in Vampilov’s One-act Play
This article identifies some common coincidences and misunderstandings that are often introduced in the comic evolution of situations from the perspective of the traditional comedy plot, where natural laws cease to be applied. It also examines key technical developments in the history of Russian comedy by analyzing Vampilov’s one-act play.
The comedy, where the natural law of logic is temporary invalid, embraces such tools as puns, characters’ features, and comedical composition of the plot. The most commonly used technique in comedical composition of the plot is the development of comedy situations and events resulting from confusion (misunderstanding) or coincidences.
Russian satirical literature is based on works (primarily, grotesque tragicomedy plays) by certain classical writers in the 19th century, such as Griboedov, Ostrovsky, Gogol, and Saltykov-Shchedrin. The main conflict in the 19th century is clarified in the grotesque tragicomedy, as comedy and tragedy often cross their lines. The Russian social satire adds grotesque tragicomedy to the traditional techniques of comedy plot, like coincidence and misunderstanding.
Vampilov, who set the trend of the ‘new drama’ in the 1970s, revives traditional comedy by inheriting the tragicomedy grotesque satire of Gogol, based on the traditional techniques of coincidence and misunderstanding.
One of Vampilov’s works, which can be said to be outstanding instances of coincidence and misunderstanding, is the <Provincial Anecdotes>, which contains two plays <An Incident with a Paginator>, and <20 minutes with an Angel>. The <Provincial Anecdotes> combines different stories, which took place in the “Taiga” hotel in a small town. According to Vampilov, two stories, which are based on coincidences, misunderstandings, and farce, are defined as a genre of “two tragic scenes”, despite their comic elements.
According to the results of analysis of stage scenes and a one-act play, Vampilov’s plays turned out to be pieces of farce comedy that embraced unimaginable episodes based on the comedy of coincidence and misunderstanding frequently used by Gogol and Chekhov. Vampilov’s composition of the plot based on coincidence and misunderstanding continues the tradition of the 19th century Russian literature style, with the combination of tragicomedy and grotesque specificity.