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Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 01/2019
  • 9781525537554
  • 378 pages
  • $23.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 02/2019
  • 9781525537561
  • 378 pages
  • $14.99
Edwin Wong
Author
The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy: Gambling, Drama, and the Unexpected
Edwin Wong, author
The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy presents a profoundly original theory of drama that speaks to modern audiences living in an increasingly volatile world driven by artificial intelligence, gene editing, globalization, and mutual assured destruction ideologies. Tragedy, according to risk theatre, puts us face to face with the unexpected implications of our actions by simulating the profound impact of highly improbable events. In this book, classicist Edwin Wong shows how tragedy imitates reality: heroes, by taking inordinate risks, trigger devastating low-probability, high-consequence outcomes. Such a theatre forces audiences to ask themselves a most timely question---what happens when the perfect bet goes wrong? Not only does Wong reinterpret classic tragedies from Aeschylus to O’Neill through the risk theatre lens, he also invites dramatists to create tomorrow’s theatre. As the world becomes increasingly unpredictable, the most compelling dramas will be high-stakes tragedies that dramatize the unintended consequences of today's risk takers who are taking us past the point of no return.
Reviews
Wong’s hardy debut book of literary criticism succeeds in presenting a challenge to the famous playwrights of yesteryear while providing a compelling framework for today’s storytellers. Inspired by Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets and drawing on examples from Sophocles, Shakespeare, Ovid, and several other venerated writers, Wong depicts risk—not sorrow or regret—as the peak point of all tragic stories, arguing that setting up one’s own downfall through a misjudged gamble is, in fact, the greatest tragedy of all. Much of the book is devoted to retellings of classic stories, leading to the redefinition of the tragic theater art form. Wong goes beyond considering characters’ risk-taking to examine factors such as meddling from outside forces, external authorities, passion, and the supernatural.

The book’s appeal lies in its novel premise and attention to detail. Readers opening it in hopes of a quick explanation of tragedy in drama may find it initially slow going, but they will be satisfied by Wong’s complete and thorough explanation of a new perspective from which one can view the masterworks of tragic theater. Wong concludes by challenging modern playwriting, viewing it both as a form of art and as a way that playwrights themselves take risks.

Tragedy has long been seen as essential to literature and drama, and much ink has been spilled about what makes it work; the idea of conscious risk-taking being the real source of tragic emotion feels genuinely new and exciting. Though the language is dry, dense, and highly technical—leavened only by the occasional humorous quotation—this is nonetheless an excellent compilation of arguments that will stimulate creative minds.

Takeaway: Playwrights and philosophers will completely devour this deep dive into the idea that tragedy stems from the misjudged gamble.

Great for fans of Eric Bentley, Simon Shepherd, Neil Verma.

Production grades
Cover: B
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A+

Broadway World

Wong's passion for his subject matter abounds: he's incredibly knowledgeable and widely read . . . Through the art of reinterpretation, Wong manages to present a bold, inventive new model of theatre through the lens of risk.

Foreword Clarion Reviews

“Fascinating side topics, including the invention of the concept of money and how it led to tragedies being boiled down to the price of life itself, are covered . . . Making the case for risk theory as a new definition for tragic theater, The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy is a piquant, far-reaching study of tragedy as an art form.”

Goodreads

If you love literature--theater, film, novels, history, biography, opera, whatever--you need to read this extraordinary work . . . Read it--twice. You will never read another work of literature the same way. Charlie Euchner, Columbia University

Goodreads

The idea of 'tragedy' was wrapped in the mystique of motivations and nobility and flaws that put it out of reach for me as a playwright. This book strips away the mystique and makes the form available to me. Donald Connolly, playwright and two-time Academy Award nominee

Kirkus Reviews

“The author’s passion for his subject comes across in nearly every statement . . . An ambitious, thought-provoking critique of tragedy in the 21st century."

News
05/31/2019
Winner in the 13th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards

It is our great pleasure to inform you that you are a Winner in the 13th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards. Your book, The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy: Gambling, Drama, and the Unexpected, truly embodies the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you and your fine work.

08/04/2019
Winner in the 2019 Colorado Independent Publishers Association CIPA EVVY Book Aw

The CIPA EVVYs is one of the longest-running book award competitions on the Indie publishing scene, running for nearly 26 years. The annual contest is sponsored by the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA), along with the CIPA Education and Literacy Foundation (ELF).

09/01/2019
Winner in the 2019 Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest

We receive submissions from independent authors, small publishers, and publishing giants such as Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Jonathan Frakes (Star Trek) and Henry Winkler (Happy Days).

Formats
Hardcover Book Details
  • 01/2019
  • 9781525537554
  • 378 pages
  • $23.99
Paperback Book Details
  • 02/2019
  • 9781525537561
  • 378 pages
  • $14.99

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