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Theater 101 (Spring 2015)

by: Alexia Chew

Theater 101 (Spring 2015) 101

Alexia Chew
GPA 3.8

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These notes cover basic and important material from this course and can be useful to review for tests or quizzes.
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This 10 page Bundle was uploaded by Alexia Chew on Thursday January 7, 2016. The Bundle belongs to 101 at Southern Illinois University Carbondale taught by in Spring 2015. Since its upload, it has received 44 views.


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Date Created: 01/07/16
Unit 1 Plot  Plot: an ordered sequence of events  Plot is how the scenes of the play are arranged; it is NOT the story being told  Kinds of Plots: o Casual: “linear”; following a chain of events that follow a line of causality from start to end o Episodic: “thematic” or “mosaic”; the events may or may not follow in chronological order  Point of Attack: point of the story where we enter the world and the plot begins o There can be both a late and an early point of attack where the plot starts either late or early in the storyline  Exposition: background material in the opening pages  Exposition is often used in late point of attack so the readers can caught up to the current point of the story Play Structure  “Traditional” play structure contains 5 Elements: Climax o Exposition o Rising Action o Climax o Falling Action o Denouement Exposition Denouement  Exposition teaches us the “who”, “what”, “where” and “when” of the play together with what the characters say and do provides us with given circumstances  Rising Action: contains “mini plays’ where conflicts and complications occur  Conflict is when a character or force stands in the way of another character  Complication is when a desired outcome is blocked by another character or force  Climax: the moment of highest tension when a decision must be made and there is no turning back so that the action peaks  Falling Action: the results of the characters decision is revealed  Denouement: a conclusion is reached Genre  Genre: “kind” or “type”  Two main genres: o Tragedy  The “hero” does NOT need to die for the play to be a tragedy  In a tragedy, the protagonist fails to achieve his/her goal  Catharsis: a purging of emotion o Comedy  The “hero” achieves his/her goal  Elements of Comedy:  Slapstick: physical comedy  Verbal Wit: punning or malapropism  Repetition  The Rule of Three  Mistaken Identity  Confusion  Derision  Incongruity: the juxtaposition of unlike things  Deus ex Machina: the ending of a play where someone or something appears that magically makes everything okay  Comedy’s purpose: offers the audience an escape from reality Themes  Two Broad Categories of Theatre: o Representational: “illusionistic” or “realism”; seek to create the illusion of the play’s reality on stage  The audience sort of “eavesdrops” on character’s interaction within the world of the play  The characters do not break the fourth wall by addressing the audience o Presentational: “non-illusionistic” or “non-realistic” or “anti-realism”; acknowledge that what the audience is watching is not “real” and make no attempt to disguise that the play is a play  The characters break the fourth wall (speaking to the audience, refer to theatrical elements, lights, etc.) ***As we move across the semester, consider which of the plays we read are representational or presentational. How can a play contain both representation and presentational moments? *** Style and form will **Style: the manner in which a play is produced and the way it looks of stage be discussed in more detail later in **Form: the way in which the play is written the semester Unit Two: Directing and Acting The Director  The director serves as the captain of a ship  The directors responsibilities: o Play section or working on the script o Interpretation/analysis o Interacting with the designers o Auditioning, casting, rehearsing o Staging/blocking (stage pictures, composition, movement, rhythm of the play) o Planning and coordinating the production o Interact with the members of the production team Staging and Blocking  Blocking: the movement of the actors on-stage  Composition/Picturization: the arrangement or grouping of characters onstage to create emphasis  Stage Directions: blocking or movement instructions for a particular production  Stage Directions are given from the actor’s perspective – NOT from the director’s  Stage directions are relative  Directors are aware of focus, and where the audience’s eye should be drawn o Framing: placing the actor in a doorway, etc. o Isolating: by placing the actors against a crowd, or on a higher or lower level o Elevation: standing while others sit o Enlarge: with costumes, props, etc. o Illuminating: with a pool of light or a brighter costume Types of Stages  Four main types o Proscenium  A.k.a Picture Frame  Has a big arch that looks like a picture frame separates the seating area from the performance area o Thrust  Seating is on three of its four sides  Performance space juts out into the seating area o Arena  A performance area at center and seating on all four sides o Alley  Has a long walkway with seating on two sides  There is a fifth commonly used space: Blackbox or Flexible Space that can be reconfigured as one of the other types or in a new and different way o A box-shaped room painted black to maximize its versatility Vision and Concept  Vision: the most important or compelling idea/theme left in the directors mind after reading the play  Concept: the plan or the strongest ways to communicate the director’s vision and set a mood for the production o HOW the vision will be realized **So vision is the idea that drives a production and concept is the way in which the idea gets expressed in the product** Background on The Whipping Man and Matthew Lopez  The production was sold-out and ran off 101 performances Off Broadway and garnering Obie and Lucille Lortel Awards  Matthew was awarded the John Gassner New Play Award from the New York Outer Critics Circle  It has received over 30 productions nationwide The Play  Wanted to make the audience question the meaning of freedom and personal responsibilities both in their own lives and as citizens  Play title originates from the employment of the professional, white whipping man Audience Etiquette  Arrive on time  Do not use the restroom during the performance  Turn of electronic devices – so no sound interrupts the performance  Be aware of the fire exits  Remain silent – Don’t even whisper!  Do not take pictures  Do not eat or drink Acting  Actors use their bodies and voices to make their characters come alive o They must have a well-developed imagination  Most actor training programs promote a system based on the teachings of Konstantin Stanislavski – who had a psychology-based approach  Actors focus on the form of the play, the historical period, language and any other given circumstances o Who the character is o What he/she wants o How he/she attempts to achieve his/her goals Terms  Objective: Something you want – a goal  Obstacle: Whatever stands in the way of achieving the objective  Tactics: Maneuvers that allow you to implement a strategy  Subtext: The meaning behind the dialogue  Beats: Changes within the scene  Given circumstances: The reality of the world of the play What Actors Do  Actors must audition where they must perform a monologue form a play or read the script for the director o Improvisation might also be used in auditioning  Many rehearsals take place leading up to the actual performance o At this point, questions can be asked and answered  The expectations of Actors: o They will not succumb to “stage fright” o They will remain energized and continue to follow through with all performances o They will take care of their bodies between performances  Actors seek truth on-stage and remain open to possibilities Actor Training: The American Stanislavski System  Actors are trained to analyze: o Given Circumstances o Motivation: Whatever causes human action o Objective o Super-objective: The ultimate goal of the character Unit 3: Playwriting and Dramaturgy Playwriting  Playwriting is a craft which takes years of study to understand the numerous ways that a play can be created o A part of a larger production team o Uses ideas to build a story instead of using a story to build ideas  Uses words to convey ideas  A playwrights text relies mostly on dialogue and actions to convey who the characters are, the desires of those characters, and to show conflict  What a Playwright must contain: o At least one character o Given circumstances – a play with a conflict o At least one idea – a message o A change or growth of the character by the end of the story  Two ways the playwright affects the performance: o Realism: 3-dimensional characters who pursuit a goal but are met with challenges and the character ends up different in the end o Non-realism: plot is less significant than the messages or the characters; do not follow a chronological storyline; use both representational and presentation techniques Background on Last Seen Alice and Jaclyn Grogan  Absurdist fictions include characters who ask for what the meaning of life is and seek to answer this question by doing different acts  Absurdist Plays: o Circular Plot Structure – play begins and ends in the same place o Themes that express a lack of control or meaninglessness of life o Disconnect between language and action – words and actions seem illogical About Playwright  Jaclyn Grogan creates works that explore absurdist themes which include the ultimate struggle for control in an illogical universe in which no control is to be had Playwright’s Short Artistic Statement  As said by Grogan: o I construct my own worlds, each with its own set of rules o These universities appear similar to our world, yet these worlds function with an altered sense of reason – one that may seem illogical within our realm  Things that normally happen in our world do not exist  Things we may think are odd are normal in the worlds she creates – example: red balls falling from the sky is not out of the ordinary o These conflicting images form a new sense of logic o The behaviors of characters are bizarre o Her performances are very spontaneous and unpredictable Origin and Inspiration of Last Seen Alice  Grogan hoped to write a script that illustrated the bleakness of desire for a pat self, a better self, or even a happier self Dramaturgy  Dramaturgy is a recent addition to the field of theatre  **A hybrid aspect of production where literacy criticism, theatre history and production elements meet**  Dramaturg: a person who complies information for the director ad designers so that the concept is portrayed o Help with new play development and playwright o Researches words, social customs, and the like o **Biggest responsibility: prepare a glossary of all concepts and terms from the script that the cast and production team might need defined** o Sources of information:  Art work  Diaries  Biographies of the playwright  Literary criticism  Films  Magazines  Catalogues  Websites Unit 4: Design and Public Relations Design Elements  All members of the productions team are there to tell the play’s story and revolve around the director with everyone striving for unity of production  Costumes: enhance the movements throughout the performance and visually allow a time period to be seen  Lighting: reinforces mood and communicates to the actors where they need to be at what time  Sound: affects how performers are heard Scene Design  Elements: o Line o Mass o Heights o Color o Symmetry or Asymmetry o Movement  Two main factors of focus: o How the scenery is to move o How the performers move around the scenery Lighting Design  Lighting designers manipulate elements or qualities of light to obtain desired effects  Objectives: o Provide visibility o Establish time and place o Help create mood o Reinforce the concept o Provide focus and create visual composition o Establish rhythm and movement  Elements of Light: o Intensity – how bright; “setting levels” o Color – white is not actually white; the colored plastic that goes infront of the lamp is call a “gel” o Direction – lighting the stage o Form – light can help define a shape o Movement  Changed is light and sound are called “cues” Sound Design  Involves the process of meeting the auditory requirements  Collecting and creating sound effects, sonic environment, and music as dictated by a dramatic script and the production’s needs  Sound reinforcement in needed  Using a combination of elements  Designers must pay attention to practical sounds  Designers contribute to the mood of the production The Costume Designer  Costumes must be functional on stage and visually appealing  Costumes reflect character’s age, personality, gender, socio-economic status, health, occupation along with the era, season and time of day  Costumes need to: o Reflect mood, theme, style of production o Be unified with the whole production o Have psychological effect on the audience o Meet physical needs of production’s staging  Vocabulary: o Line/Silhouette: Draped or fitted o Vertical: gives height, dignity, strength o Horizontal: width o Diagonal: indicates excitement o Weight: determines how the fabric flows o Texture o Color Much Ado About Nothing’s Relevance to the Class  Return to comedy  Practice image tracking while looking at themes  Learn about theatrical conventions  Compare different styles of production Staging in Shakespeare’s Time  Lighting came from natural sources  All action took place in front of a general three-tiered façade **Theatrical convention: an established practice; for a practice to become a convention it must occur more than once** Much Ado About Nothing  Comedy: word play, bawdy language, sexual innuendo and malapropisms  Characters: Protagonists and Antagonists  Themes: o The road to marriage is often lined with pitfalls and impediments o People often wear masks to disguise their true feelings o All is not what it seems o Love is not blind o Love is blind o A woman’s chastity is a treasure no man should possess except in marriage **For more explanations of each theme visit page 64 in the course packet**  Imagery and Metaphor o Animal Imagery o Metaphors of Fire Public Relations  Publicity person: o Creates a press release o Designs posters for the play o Creates the program o Develops essays o Fosters good well within the public  Press release o Written in third person o All essential information is first, followed by other information o Should all fit on one page o Typed and double spaced o Has an attention grabbing title


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