“Dramatic ironing.”

Don’t rush into this. Savor the images. Who would iron most dramatically, do you think? Maybe Lady Macbeth? (Prospero didn’t do his own laundry….)

Or: name three plays where a character is shown ironing. (I can think of one immediately—A Raisin in the Sun. Are there others? Does The Honeymooners count?)

Or perhaps this was my mother’s activity when I was a little girl: She took the ironing board and the iron and the basket of wash into the living room and watched what another of my students once referred to as “soap boppers” while she did the ironing.

I have adopted this term for my own use: I direct in community theater, and often am the costumer for the shows I direct. For me, now, “dramatic ironing” means making the costumes stage-ready.

Oh, you know what he meant. He was answering this quiz question: “What term describes a situation wherein the audience knows more about what’s happening than the character onstage does?”

Attribute it to the cause in yesterday’s post, inaccurate hearing—”irony” was not in the student’s vocabulary, and “ironing” was. But this was hearing of ME, and I pride myself on my clear diction. I guess I need to use the “blackboard” (green? white?) more, or PowerPoint, or handouts.

(Did the soap-bopper student once see his mother hit his father over the head with a box or jug of laundry detergent, or did he find soap operas violent? Or had he seen a commercial where bars of soap danced to bebop?)

Savor the images!

About RAB

Teacher of English writing and literature (college-level); academic-freedom activist; editor and copy editor; theater director, costumer, actress, playwright. View all posts by RAB

3 responses to ““Dramatic ironing.”

  • Elisa Campbell

    RA, one of my childhood memories is my mother ironing my father’s shirts while watching the Army-McCarthy hearings on TV – and not being happy with McCarthy. That must have been the first “live” news coverage on TV …
    But of course that’s not the point of your blog!

  • RAB

    Not the point, no, but I’ll bet she ironed pretty dramatically during those hearings.

  • RAB

    Roberto Salomon reminds me that there’s ironing in “Look Back in Anger.” (Sorry, I don’t seem to be able to use italics in the Comments section.) I recall that “After Magritte” begins with a woman lying on an ironing board, and Becky Schoenfeld says “Almost Maine” has a running joke with an ironing board: these two plays do not involve actual ironing, though.

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