The arc of experience: exposition, rising action, resolution. It’s a never-ending cycle that propels a story, as well as its characters, forward. The study of the drama genre at Fairfield’s MFA program involves all sorts of interesting glimpses into the techniques which writers have made use of through the centuries. When contemplating the aspects of arc, we may tend to associate it with great sagas and classic tragedies, such as Homer’s The Odyssey or William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Whether we are following an individual character or the overall plot, dramatic tension propels our journey. Without this ability to experience the visceral emotions of the individual, the audience ultimately is denied the full embrace of the play itself. This same rule can be applied to the study of playwrights.
For this issue of Mason’s Road, we have included an interview with Robert M. Dowling, Associate Professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He sat down and shared some of his research with me on renowned American playwright Eugene O’Neill, and the incorporation of arc within his work.