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When a theatre performance is the re-enactment of an event that has happened in real life, can I say that the fourth wall is being broken by the realness of the experience rather than by the actors or any other tool the director chooses to include?

I am going to watch a play which is based on real life events, and I am exploring the play's relation to the fourth wall.

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You might consider using the word "verisimilitude" instead of "realness." Verisimilitude means something like "resemblance to reality," that is, sort of like "realisitic-ness." I'd be sure to define the word in your paper, or your teacher might think you were plagiarizing, since it's a pretty fancy word! – Michael Broder Nov 3 '13 at 14:02
... and the fourth wall? Verisimilitude is a nice word and all that, but it doesn't address whether the fourth wall is being broken. – Roaring Fish Nov 3 '13 at 14:14
Could you give a bit more detail of why you think the realness of the experience would break the fourth wall? – Roaring Fish Nov 3 '13 at 14:18
Perhaps they use live bullets. – Edwin Ashworth Nov 3 '13 at 14:19
I'm new here but this site seems to be about English language and usage, not theater studies or any other kind of literary or cultural criticism. So I think the user should be allowed to make his or her own argument about the question, and we should help with grammar and usage. – Michael Broder Nov 3 '13 at 14:38

I am going to watch a play which is based on real life events, and I am exploring the play's relation to the fourth wall.

No, this context would have no obvious relation to the fourth wall unless the play was somehow about the real lives of the audience themselves. Whether or not the play has an astounding feeling of realness is irrelevant.

The fourth wall refers to the implicit wall between the play and the audience; breaking the fourth wall would entail the play or actors directly engaging or addressing the audience.

That being said, the play could most certainly use the theme of reenactment to break the fourth wall. The first example I can think of is chastising the audience for not interfering when a character in the play is murdered right before them. Another example would be addressing them as the jury during a court scene.

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