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GWU / Theatre and Dance / TRDA 102 / What are the characteristics of a theatre building?

What are the characteristics of a theatre building?

What are the characteristics of a theatre building?


School: George Washington University
Department: Theatre and Dance
Course: 214601
Term: Fall 2015
Tags: Understanding the Theatre, theatre, and Robert Cohen
Cost: 25
Name: TRDA_1025: Chapter1_Textbook Notes
Description: This is a condensed version of the material covered in the textbook. It's a good way to understand the text chapters in a clear and concise manner that's perfect for last minute studying or brushing up.
Uploaded: 02/09/2016
1 Pages 114 Views 2 Unlocks

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Chapter 1: What is

What are the characteristics of a theatre building?


Theatreis derived from the Greek theatron, meaning “seeing place.” It is the place where plays are put on. Theatre is a collaborative art—it requires the input of different ideas from different people. Those in the occupation of theatre put in long hours of hard work.

The theatre buildingis comprised of an empty space & a viewing area. Originally, it was an outdoor space that was overlooked by a hillside of spectators; eventually, the plain hillside gave way to raked seating levels and more attention was paid to the acoustics involved. The selling of tickets helped to define the spaces of the actors and the audience. The theatre building has become a more elaborate structure, set up at the center of culture and a fundamental aspect of urban architecture.

What is the occupation of theatre?

The company of players results in theatre being a collaborative art. The theatre is comprised of practitioners of various specialities that make the company a self-contained production unit, capable of writing, preparing, and presenting whole theatrical works that help to define the company. Don't forget about the age old question of What are the three determinants of demand elasticity?
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The occupation of theatreis comprised of different aspects. For those involved in theatre professionally, it is a vocation/lifetime devotion. For amateurs, theatre is an avocation that brings personal satisfaction.

The work of theatre is hard work that requires a lot of time and

preparation. The work involves people of various crafts—producing, directing, acting, designing, building, crewing, stage managing, house managing, composing, and playwriting. The work of theatre is different from “playing” in it that theatre is rehearsed and has a preordained ending.

“Theatre is the art of making play into work—specifically into a work of art.”

The art of theatre brings together the physical energy of play and the intangible sense of humanity’s search for purpose and meaning in life. Theatre, therefore, is empowering for both the actor and the audience. It sharpens the thoughts and focuses the feelings of those involved. Theatre places reality against imagination and pushes the boundaries of human creativity and potential. Theatre offers a sense of clarity and satisfaction for one who finds life muddled and


Theatre impersonation is a feature unique to and is the very foundation of theatre itself. The ancient creators used masks to best distinguish between the actor and the character being portrayed. The concept of “masking” still remains at the heart of impersonation and the mask serves as one of the most

fundamental symbols in theatre.

Diderot’s Paradox of the Actor states that the character becomes alive in an apparent world, while the actor has no apparent life at all. At

the end of the performance, however, the actor is applauded, not the character.

What is the performance of theatre?

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Performance of theatre Performance is an action or a series of actions taken for the ultimate benefit (attention, entertainment, enlightenment, or involvement) of someone else. The performance of theatre is comprised of two modes.

Representational (Indirect) performance in which the audience concentrates on events staged by performers who do not acknowledge their presence. The audience maintains interest through what Samuel T. Coleridge describes as “willing suspension of disbelief”—belief in the character stirs empathy for the character and encourages audience participation. Realism, an extreme form of indirect performance, emerged in the 19th cent. Actors behaved like real people and the backdrops were extremely lifelike. Theatrical conventions were broken (i.e. actors spoke with backs to the audience), the breaks in between dialogue were lifelike, and intermissions resembled actual time lapses during the performance.

Presentational (Direct) performance involves direct and continuous acknowledgement of the audience. An extreme version of direct performance was created by Bertolt Brecht. This style sought toappeal directly to the audience through the use of visible lighting, signs, songs, slides, speeches directed to the audience and a “distanced”style of acting that reduced emotional empathy.

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Live performance is a characteristic distinct to the theatre and includes fundamental forces that allow for excitement and “presence.” There is a rapport between the actor and the audience—the actor’s performance is affected by the audience’s response. There is a relationship among audience members—the audience reacts in broad communal response to the events on the stage and audience activity becomes broadly social. There is also a quality of immediacy—all of the events are happening in the present and anything can happen. This adds a sense of excitement and uniqueness to each show. One could say that shows are reflective of the uncertainty of life.

Scripted and rehearsed performance Performances are largely prepared according to well-written scripts. A script, however, is not the play itself—it is merely the record left behind after the performance. A script outlines key features, but does not capture the complexity of the performance. Scripts help generate theatrical productions and provide an imperfect record of past performances—a rich collection of scripts ties into the history of theatre and offers a glimpse into the original nature of theatre. Scripts also serve as blueprints for the production of shows in the present day.

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