November 10, 2004

The Girl of the Golden West

"The Girl of the Golden West" is a play written by David Belasco. The play is set in Cloudy Mountain, California during the Gold Rush. The center of the story is the Polka Saloon, owned by Minnie, or "The Girl." There are many frequent customers to the saloon, and a few of them are Sonora, Rance, Trinidad, Billy Jackrabbit, Handsome Charlie, and Happy Halliday.

The aspect of the play I want to discuss is the movement and action that takes place in the bar. The action seems to keep the story moving along, and seems to bring all the characters together.

There is always someone new entering the bar. I think all the movement keeps the reader interested. There are bar fights, shots fired, people yelling, people singing; it is an action-packed place. When a new character is about to enter, the action seems to slow for a minute. This seems to give the audience time to focus on each character and their role in the story. When Jake, a musician, is heard by singing in the distance, all the characters quiet down and listen, therefore the audience knows that a new character is being introduced. When he enters, everyone turns their attention to Jake and cheer for him. When The Girl enters, Rance, the sheriff, is just about to shoot Sonora, but he stops and cheers for The Girl instead. Everyone stops as she enters. When The Girl and Johnson, a stranger, are talking, notice that everyone is gone. This is the intent, the action of the story took all of the other characters offstage so that the audience could focus on the relationship between thes two characters.

As a review, I think that the actions in the play serve as motivation to keep the play moving along, to introduce new characters, and to focus on individual characters.

Any other ideas on what the action in the play is used for?

Do you think all the action/movement is distracting?

Posted by Sarah Elwood at November 10, 2004 12:37 AM

I think the action and excitiement is essential to this particular play. We are used to seeing old westerns on TV and this play illustrates (in detail) this concept well. With the poker games and bar fights you can see how rough it may have been at this time. You asked the question about what other purposes this play may serve. As well as good old fashioned entertainment, I think the "girl" is a nice contrast to all the rough male characters in the story. If all the charcters were men I wouldn't have even wanted to read it. She adds a feminine touch to the story. She shows (I believe) women are least in this town. There is only one woman that ALL the men are after...and she has her pick!

Posted by: Jennifer Haun at December 6, 2004 11:57 AM
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