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by: Robin Rodolfo


Marketplace > George Washington University > > TRDA_1025Chapter1Notes pdf
Robin Rodolfo
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Understanding the Theatre
Professor Wetenhall
Class Notes
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This 1 page Class Notes was uploaded by Robin Rodolfo on Tuesday February 9, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to at George Washington University taught by Professor Wetenhall in Winter 2016. Since its upload, it has received 36 views.


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Date Created: 02/09/16
Chapter 1: What is Theatre?  Theatre​ is derived from ththeatr, 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. 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. The​ occupation​ ​f​​heatre​is 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​​f​heatre​s hard workThe​​rtoftheatre​rings togetherTheatre​mpersonation​​s a feature that requires a lot of time anthe physical energy of play andunique to and is the very foundation of theatre preparation. The work involvesintangible sense of humanity’s itself. The ancient crmaskto best ​ of various crafts—producing, dpurpose and meaning in life. Thdistinguish between the actor and the character acting, designing, building, ctherefore, is empowering for bobeing portrayed. The concept of “masking” stage managing, house managingactor and the audience. It sharstill remains at the heart of impersonation and composing, and playwriting. Ththoughts and focuses the feelinthe mask serves as one of the most work of theatre is different finvolved. Theatre places realitfundamental symbols in theatre. “playing” in it that theatre iimagination and pushes the bounDiderotParadox of thestates that the and has a preordained ending. human creativity and potential.character becomes alive in an apparent world, “Theatre is the art of making offers a sense of clarity and swhile the actor has no apparent life at all. At work—specifically into a work of art.”finds life muddled and the end of the performance, however, the actor frustrating. is applauded, not the character. Performance​of​​heatrePerformanis 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. Representationa(Indirectperformance​in which thePresentationa(Direct​erformance​involves direct and audience concentrates on events staged by perforcontinuous acknowledgement of the audience. An extreme version of acknowledge their presence. The audience maintaidirect performance was created by Bertolt Brecht. This style sought to through what Samuel T. Coleridge describes as “wappeal directly to the audience through the use of visible lighting, of disbelief”—belief in the character stirs empasigns, songs, slides, speeches directed to the audience and a “distanced” and encourages audience participation. Realism, style of acting that reduced emotional empathy. 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. Livperformance​​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. Scripteand​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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