When devising a completed extract of a play there are many theories and practises which need to be considered in order to display full awareness of the dramatic form and construction created within the piece. These theories and practises may also be related to and may at time combine with the influence of key writers, both contemporary and historical, who may have influenced the work created. There are also the principles of dramatic structure which need to be considered and carefully analysed to ensure that these principles have been applied correctly to the written script. ‘Don’t Look Back’ is a short fifteen minute play about a troubled young boy who was placed into prison due to the crimes he committed at a time in Birmingham when teenagers were rebelling for a cause by causing riots, leading to several million pounds of damage within the city centre. The play then continues to look at other factors in which may affect the young boy, Marcus’s, life and how he deals with them. It also looks at how he ended up in the situation in the first place.
One of the earliest theorists in which to influence the play, ‘Don’t Look Back’ was Aristotle, who used tragedy in the majority of his plays written. One of Aristotle’s main principles was that ‘the plot is the first principle’ (Draper. R. P., 1980, pg. 48) but it can be argued that this was not the case within ‘Don’t Look Back’ as the characters were firstly developed and then situated secondly in a plot when planning. The characters needed to be studied extremely carefully to discover the links within each character which would then develop into a plot. The ‘plots are either Simple or Complex, for the actions in real life… show a similar distinction.’ (Draper. R. P., 1980, pg. 44) This meant that ‘Don’t Look Back’ would entail a complex plot as ‘a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing love or hate between the persons destined for good or bad fortune.’ (McManus. B., 1999) Marcus kills Jason’s brother through an act of ignorance, but the bond of love that Jason and Marcus have gained through being in a cell together creates a complex plot. In order for the audience to relate with Marcus’s character there then needs to be a notion of catharsis, which Aristotle uses within his tragedies. Catharsis is when ‘at the resolution of the performance, the audience members leave the theatre emotionally purified, with enhanced appreciation of the human condition.’ (Shields, C., 2007, pg. 387) This form of catharsis can be identified within ‘Don’t Look Back’ as the resolution of Marcus confessing what he has done to the audience can give them a sense of purification as Marcus has been sentenced for his wrong doings. Another belief of Aristotle was that there was many forms of how to create tragedy but his fourth case of tragedy was extremely relatable within the script written as it was ‘to do an irreparable deed through ignorance.’ (Draper. R. P., 1980, pg. 47) This is firstly displayed within ‘Don’t Look Back’ when the character Jason tells Marcus and the audience that his brother was killed in a hit and run. Marcus keeps quiet and Jason is unaware that something is wrong but the silence will inform the audience that Marcus may know something. This is then revealed to the audience when Marcus is peer pressured into stealing a car and whilst joy-riding he hits something or someone. It is never exposed to the audience as to what has been hit but within the last scene Marcus admits his sins knowing now that it was Jason’s brother he hit and being placed in the same prison cell with a family member of the person he killed, which will have worse effects on Marcus himself rather than being sent down for the many years he will be due to being arrested for robbery during the Birmingham riots. Therefore to do an ‘irreparable deed through ignorance’ (Draper. R. P., 1980, pg. 47) is what Aristotle was explaining within the use of tragic incidents occurring.
Hegel is another