“When Life Gives You Risk Make Risk Theatre” by Edwin Wong

When Life Gives You Risk, Make Risk Theatre: Three Tragedies and Six Essays

Edwin Wong
Friesen Press (2022)
ISBN: 978-1039135093
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (06/2022)

Following up on, “The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy: Gambling, Drama, and the Unexpected,” theater expert Edwin Wong presents, “When Life Gives You Risk, Make Risk Theatre: Three Tragedies and Six Essays.” Having had my interest piqued in the first work, I looked forward to seeing what Wong had in store for readers in this current composition. I was not disappointed.

Wong goes into great detail to educate readers about risk theatre. Information presented on theatre and the scientific method particularly interested me. The in-depth discussions that follow are accessible to people who are at all levels of interest in theatre. As someone who is not an expert in this area, I found myself readily able to follow along.

My attention increased when I read the three risk theatre plays that he choose to present. While the plays covered completely different topics, they all were perfect representations of risk theatre. The physical and emotional reactions I felt while reading let me know this. I have to admit that I was not ready to be finished with the reading of the plays when Wong moved on to present six essays about risk theatre.

Not having a choice, I moved into the essays, and once again found myself intrigued by the well-written discourses. As with “The Risk Theatre Model of Tragedy,” I enjoyed the topics presented and found myself wanting to further explore the plays that were being discussed, such as Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons,” and Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.” While I had read these in college, I want to go back and read them again while incorporating the knowledge I gained while reading this composition. I also have to say that I love how Wong’s mind works! For example, he manages to tie the COVID-19 pandemic into a discussion about Black Swans in ancient theatre and our present times. This helped me to gain a better understanding of their use in literature.

“When Life Gives You Risk, Make Risk Theatre: Three Tragedies and Six Essays,” is not only a must read for people who enjoy risk theatre types of plays, but it should also be included as required reading in college level literature courses. Students will really enjoy being able to use this work while they are learning about these plays. I wish I had access to it while I was in college. Being able to look at the risk theater model of tragedy with this level of knowledge would have instilled a greater passion for me to continue exploring more of risk theatre. This is highly recommended reading!


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