Date of Award

Summer 1952

Degree Type

Thesis - Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Sokolnicki, Alfred

Second Advisor

Helleman, Hugo

Third Advisor

Staudacher, Joseph


Speech problems are manifold and have numerous therapies. Therapies vary as the philosophies of their proponents and adherents vary. Drama as the comprehensive art of communication is presented here as a therapy for defective oral communication. The dynamic principle of conflict in drama is proposed to purge through catharsis the psychic conflicts resulting from ineffective adjustment in the speech situation. Play acting is suggested as a tool to accomplish the first task of the speech clinician, that of adjusting the patient socially so that the impediment need no longer be a handicap. Tracing drama through the centuries acknowledges the fundamental urge in man to recreate. Dramatizations have been employed since earliest time as therapeutics. The theatrotherapy of Nicolas Evreinoff and the psychodrama of Dr. J.L. Moreno are conscious attempts to utilize the therapeutic potentialities of drama. The rascally antics of a Commedia dell' Arte buffoon inspired the title of this paper. With a spring Harlequin leaps upon the stage, and in the midst of high spirits and laughter, silences many an anxiety or ache in the heart of the spectator.