Comedy has to touch something that is realistic, otherwise, the comic attempt can fail. It makes one laugh at what is supposed to be serious, making it easier for the individual to face the reality of the message. If one looks at the title “ Soap Opera” , it is already a mockery. Also, David Ives’ use of deadpans, when one would normally expect high emotions, and overblown feelings, when one would normally expect calm and poise, is a brilliant way of spoofing soap operas. He never lets the audience get what they would normally expect.
Yet, what makes it comically similar to a soap opera is the use of exaggeration. Soap operas usually show people being killed every other day, people acquiring amnesia and recovering from it in an auspicious timing, and every other situation one can think of that do not happen in the real world every single day. The main message of the play can easily be determined just by analyzing the three main characters --- Manny, Maypole, and Mabel. Manny is torn between perfection and imperfection --- the elegant washing machine and the flawed human.
He exerted all efforts to re-route his life to accommodate the idea of being “ useable” for Maypole. He neglected what is important and went for the shallow and temporary. In the end, even the perfect Maypole is shown to have its own disadvantage. There it is, adored yet taken for granted. Merely noticed for her “ perfection” , which soon appears to be not enough for it anymore. Although the gadget used here could be somewhat too common for today’ s viewers, the message is the same.
The play easily is made more modern by just changing the washing machine into a different, more current gadget --- laptop, mobile phone, or even iPod. The portrayal of a perfect housewife at the beginning of the play can be adjusted to what is suitable for today’ s audience. After these changes are done, the rest of the details will automatically follow.
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