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THEA 104, Week 1 Notes

by: Kinsey Sturgeon

THEA 104, Week 1 Notes THEA 104

Marketplace > Ball State University > Theatre > THEA 104 > THEA 104 Week 1 Notes
Kinsey Sturgeon
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About this Document

These notes cover the first week of class: some review from Aesthetics 1, some setup, etc. The only thing I don't have in here is the first group activity, but that can be found in Blackboard.
Aesthetics 2
Dr. Michael O'Hara
Class Notes
theatre, aesthetics




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This 12 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kinsey Sturgeon on Tuesday January 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to THEA 104 at Ball State University taught by Dr. Michael O'Hara in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 24 views. For similar materials see Aesthetics 2 in Theatre at Ball State University.


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Date Created: 01/19/16
Week One 1/11  “Show Business” o Review how study helps us create it o Explores why such work is valuable  How much work is required? o You will read (a lot). o You will think (as much as possible). o You will learn new plays, facts, and methods of thinking. o You will write 2 major papers and 5 group research projects, and take 12 quizzes and 2 major exams. o You will research, write, create, and present before class a major group project. o You will work longer and harder than you have ever thought possible.  What is your first task? o 1st task is to study the syllabus, familiarize yourself with all class materials, prepare questions for Friday’s class, and take the Syllabus Quiz. o 5 minutes, 20 questions, have to get a 90  What work must be done? o What is common to all acts of theatre?  Acting?  Directing?  Design?  Dancing? Singing? Mime? Masks? Etc? o What must be done for theatre to actually happen?  Script analysis o The analysis of a text is our common task. All theatrical work starts with a text/plan. A good analysis of that text is:  Systematic.  Orderly, informed, and defensible.  Able to be performed/produced. o It is NOT an opinion, guess, or feeling. o Starts with the structure of the script. o What follows is a quick review of the basic structural elements of a script. o Review  Each play can be broken down into some common elements  Play o The play written on the page, from beginning to end  Act o Some plays can be broken down into individual acts. Most familiar to us is the two act model, but plays can be divided into however many acts the playwright requires. Each act has its own structure.  Scene o Specified by the playwright, a unit of story with its own beginning, middle, and end. Scenes became more 2 important with the development of episodic structure.  French scene o Begins when a character enters or leaves the scenes. There are often several French scenes within a scene. Important because each time a new character enters, the atmosphere/mood/dynamic/room/acti on changes.  Action unit o One complete action, driving the story forward, occurs. Defined from the story, not the character’s point of view. Helps us identify the text’s rhythm and style  Beat o An exchange of one idea. The beat is to scripts what the paragraph is to writing…it changes when subject changes.  Moment o A play is filled with moments; quick exchanges of information. A glance, sigh, silence, stare, groan, etc. o These moments exist “in between” the words.  Why is all this work valuable? o What does it do for us as writers, actors, dramaturges, technicians, designers, singers, directors, etc.? 3 o What is “the art of making art”?  Why do we do it? o Because…it gives us access to info not available by just reading; o Reveals essential details in actions and character; o Unearths subtext, literal and essential actions; o Shows the play’s rhythm and movement throughout time and space  Why this level of detail? o Because it unlocks the spaces in between the words for you to find real truth from which to create art! o This hard work is the ONLY way that your artistic contributions are anything other than accidental.  Why study theatre? o Why all this hard work? o Why do I STILL study theatre? o Because…we must; it’s how we search for truth. o Each day, you must decide how much you will work, give, and sacrifice to reach your unreachable, yet reachable, star. 1/13  iClickers and Learning  Group Work o 4 major challenges in group work  self-centered or selfishness  Halfhearted or lack of conviction  Aggressive or uncooperative 4  Stubbornness or rigidity  Group success o The 4 solutions to group work  Selflessness  Dedication  Collaboration  Flexibility  3 basic types of group roles o Task roles  Move the group toward goals  Initiator - proposes new ideas  Director – keeps group on task  Energizer – stimulates group to activity  Recorder – keeps record  Technologist – assists with technology  Info giver o Maintenance roles  Maintain group cohesiveness  Supporter – praises, agrees  Harmonizer – mediates disagreements  Tension reliever – relaxes others  Gatekeeper – sees that everyone has an opportunity to contribute o Self-centered roles  Serves self but not group 5  Blocker – constantly raises objections  Aggressor – criticizes others  Isolate – persistently resists efforts to be included  Cynic – continually focuses on negative  Dominator – insists on ordering others  Successful groups o Get better all the time by  Permitting members to serve many different task and maintenance roles over time  Finding ways to reduce members self-centered roles and increase task and maintenance roles  Making the norms of the group explicit  CHECK BB LECTURE FOR 1 STGROUP EXERCISE  Help for group assignments o Software for completing assignments  Download a PDF editor!  PDF-notes & PDF Assistant Lite are free o “Sharing” technologies  Google docs, calendars, etc. o Virtual meetings  Skype, Google video hangouts, Facetime  Use the correct extension! o DOCX o PDF 6 Podcast Lecture 1  Theatrical analysis  Changes you must make o Both the larger world and your own future depend on you developing these tools. o Fortunately, recent scientific research demonstrates that adult brains are both flexible and elastic. o You can change your habits, attitudes, and expectations.  Correcting habits o Multitasking is a myth and a trap. o Neuroscience shows that all deep learning requires concentration. o Learn to develop intellectual focus, discipline, and stamina. o Your effort will make all the difference.  Focus o Surfing or skimming detrimental to artistry. o 10,000 hours are required for mastery o Take breaks if necessary, but yourself and one another to FOCUS for increasingly longer periods of time  Right answers o There is no such thing as a right answer (really) o The mere existence of script analysis itself is proof that there is no such thing as a right answer o If there were a right answer for each script, I’d tell you, you’d do it that way, and we’d all be rich. 7  Good answers o The lack of universal right answers doesn’t make “any analysis” valid o All interpretations must be grounded in evidence, or you’re really not analyzing and interpreting, you’re just making being lazy o More importantly, you’re likely to do violence to the script, which can get you in artistic and legal trouble  Discipline o Careful analysis (a close reading) of a play requires patience and discipline o Close reading is your job, not a hobby or pastime o If your want to read plays for fun, be a business major  Stamina o Sustained thinking (close reading the ENTIRE play) requires stamina o Like any physical or mental “effort,” you can build thinking stamina o Build thinking stamina similarly to other kinds of stamina  Prepare o Thinking requires similar preparations as acting o You’ve all “acted” without being prepared and know how awful the results are o Thinking without preparation leads to the same state of awfulness  How to prepare o Manage your mental processes 8 o Do each of these major steps  Warm up and make a plan  Monitor your efforts as you do them  Get feedback from others  Reflect on the outcome  Revise your plans for the next effort  How to think o Even though we’re talking about script analysis, “thinking” is a multidimensional skill o Everything you learn here is transferable to other fields and disciplines o 1 , focus on analytical thinking  Analytical thinking o All analytical thinking follows 3 basic steps  Identify the essential elements of the thing  Uncover and examine the inner workings of each element  Identify and understand the relationships among and between each element as well as each with the whole  Creative thinking o Creative thinking can only occur after analytical thinking o You can’t be creative in ignorance; only lucky o Analytical thinking breaks things apart; creative thinking puts them back together  Creative script analysis 9 o Once you understand the script, then you can begin with your own questions  What is YOUR artistic goal?  What is the intersection of that goal and the script you analyzed?  How many different ways can you bring the analysis and your artistic self together?  Creativity o There are innumerable ways to be creative o There is only way to be a failure: stop trying o Take risks, play, withhold judgement, tolerate ambiguity, imagine 10, 20, 200 ways to interpret the script o Don’t stop trying  Final step o Use critical thinking to make sure you’re serving the play, not your ego o Test both your original analysis and your creative ideas o Test everything  Critical thinking o Critical thinking is the disciplined conceptualizing, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating of info o It is based on universal intellectual values shared across the arts, sciences, and humanities: clarity, accuracy, precision, consistency, relevance, sound evidence, good reasons, depth, breadth, and fairness  Critical script analysis 10 o Carefully ask for each creative interpretation of a script  Is your analysis overly dualistic to simplistic?  Can it be justified contextually, both in your world and the play’s script?  Does it matter?  Are you prepared to defend this interpretation with your life – can you commit? 1/15  Meaning o Script analysis is interpretation that shows us what a play means; it is the spark that lights our fire o First, however, we have to know what we mean when we say “what things mean” o In order to know that, we have to know how humans knew what things meant in the past  Pre-modern vs. modern o Prior to the Enlightenment, or the “Age of Reason,” nearly all cultures shared the following characteristics:  Mostly rural  Static (most lived and died within a few miles of where they were born)  Mostly illiterate  Power divine & held “forever” by a chosen few  Absolutist belief systems  Modern 11 o After Enlightenment & Industrial Revolution, most cultures share the following characteristics:  Mostly urban  Mobile  Mostly literate  Power contestable & limited by temporal laws  Belief contestable & fragmented (Reformation, etc.)  This shift is important o The change from pre-modern to modern sensibilities changed ever aspect of human life o The change is so radical that we even divide this course along those lines o Nothing was left unchanged in its wake o Now, however, that change, is nearly invisible to most westerners, but not to everyone  Modernism & meaning o Modernism didn’t reach all cultures at the same time, and there are some cultures where it hasn’t yet arrived o Modernism sometimes occasioned radical, violent change in some cultures o “Fundamentalists” of all kinds are currently fighting “culture wars” against modernism in many parts of the world o Some, even “modern cultures” like the US, reject significant parts of “modernism” o How do we declare what is “meaningful” in such a fragmented world? 12


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