The lure of tragedy
March 10th, 2019
In 2018, Edwin Wong (1974-) founded the Risk Theatre Modern Tragedy Playwright Competition with Langham Court Theatre to challenge conventional Aristotelian, Hegelian, and Nietzschean interpretations of tragedy. It is touted as the world’s largest competition for the writing of tragedy (visit risktheatre.com). A year later, Wong’s study of the nature and appeal of tragedy, The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy: Gambling, Drama, and the Unexpected (Friesen 2019 $22.59), asserted his own theories as to why tragedy has been an integral part of storytelling for two millennia. Tragic heroes, he maintains, “by making delirious wagers, trigger catastrophic events. Because they wager human assets, tragedy functions as a valuing mechanism. Because they lose all, audiences ask: how did the perfect bet go wrong?” Wong has a Master’s degree from Brown University, where he concentrated in ancient theatre. His other research interests include epic poetry, having published “a solution to the contradiction between Homeric fate and free will by drawing attention to the peculiar mechanics of chess endgames.” He lives in Victoria, B.C. and blogs at melpomeneswork.com.