Theatre 1000 Week Two Notes
Theatre 1000 Week Two Notes Thea 1000
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This 15 page Class Notes was uploaded by Summer Notetaker on Tuesday July 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Thea 1000 at East Carolina University taught by Dr. Jill Carlson in Summer 2016. Since its upload, it has received 37 views. For similar materials see Theatre 1000 in Arts and Humanities at East Carolina University.
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Date Created: 07/05/16
Theatre 1000 Theatrical Genres: Genre: a french word meaning “category” Oldest and best known are tragedy and comedy; the Greeks created the symbol for theatre: a mask for tragedy and a mask for comedy Tragedy: dramatic form involving serious actions of universal significance and with important moral and philosophical implication, usually with unhappy ending. Usually probe questions of human existence “why is the world so unjust?” Conditions for Tragedy: two conditions 1. The idea that human beings are capable of extraordinary accomplishments 2. The idea that the world is potentially cruel and unjust Two periods of prominence: Golden age of Greece (fifth century B.C.) and the Renaissance in Europe (fourteenth- seventeenth centuries) In both periods the individual was apparent in all arts; along with exalted humanism, there was a simultaneous awareness of what life can do to men and women (cruel, unjust and even meaningless) With that, the outlook of society serves only as a background in creating theatre. Foreground is the highly individual point of view of the artist. Traditional tragedy: Tragic heroes and heroines; usually extraordinary character who symbolizes entire society. In traditional tragedy the universe seems to trap hero in fateful web. Heightened language or verse. Tragic irretrievability: the tragic situation becomes irretrievable; no turning back, hero must go forward to meet their tragic fate. Acceptance of responsibility: a tragic hero accepts responsibility for his actions and shows willingness to suffer, and immense capacity for suffering. Recognizes flaw of character that caused their tragic downfall. Modern tragedy: Do no deal with kings and queens and are not written in verse. Some say they are not “true tragedies” Ask the same questions “why is the world so unjust?” Comedy: humorous drama whose characters, actions and events are intended to provoke amusement and laughter. Laughter is quintessentially human. Characteristics of comedy Suspension of natural laws: temporary suspension of the natural laws of probability and logic. Actions in comic play don’t have same consequences as actions in real life. Contrast between individuals and social order: either putting “normal” characters in an abnormal world or “abnormal” characters in a normal world. The comic premise: an idea or concept that turns the accepted notion of things upside down. Forms of comedy: Farce: thrives on all forms of exaggeration. Broad physical humor, plot complications, and stereotyped characters. Ex. Entertainment and laughter; excessive plot complications; ridiculous situations; pratfalls and horseplay 2 Satire: uses wit especially sophisticated language, irony and exaggeration to expose or attack evil and foolishness. (individuals or in general) ex. Political cartoons Domestic comedy: usually deals with family situations. Ex. Sitcoms like friends, will and grace. Family or friends are caught up in a series of complicated but amusing situations. Comedy of manners: concerned with pointing up the foibles and peculiarities of the upper class. Ex. Verbal wit; expose social pretensions Comedy of ideas: George Shaw used comic techniques to debate intellectual propositions such as the nature of war, cowardice and romance. Other Genres: Heroic Drama: serious drama that has heroic and noble characters and certain other traits of classical tragedy (such as dialogue in verse or elevated language) but differs from tragedy in important respects. Ex. Having a happy ending or basically optimistic worldview, even if the ending is sad. Melodrama: historically means “song drama” or “music drama.” This came from the music played to accompany the action. Melodrama played on strong emotions of the audience: suspense, fear, nostalgia. Ex. Easily recognized stock characters, strong conflict between good and evil and good always wins. Suspenseful plot with a climax or cliffhanger at the end of each act or before a commercial break. Domestic drama: most of the plays deal with people from everyday life, usually members of a family in their own homes. This has replaced tragedy and heroic drama as the predominate type of serious drama. 3 Tragicomedy: the point of view itself is mixed; the overall or prevailing attitude is a synthesis or fusion of serious and comic. Key Terms: Burlesque: formerly parody; later a serious form of satire. Comedy: in general, a play that is light in tone, is concerned with issues that are not serious, has a happy ending and is designed to amuse. Comedy in manners: form of comic drama that became popular in seventeenth-century France and the English restoration, emphasizing a cultivated or sophisticated atmosphere and witty dialogue. Comic premise: idea or concept in a comedy that turns the accepted noticing of things upside down. Domestic or bourgeois drama: drama dealing with problems- particularly family problems-of middle and lower class characters. There are serious and comic domestic dramas. Farce: dramatic genre usually regarded as a subclass of comedy, with emphasis on plot complications and with few or no intellectual pretensions. Genre: category or type of play. Heroic drama: serious but basically optimistic drama, written in verse or elevated prose, with noble or heroic characters in extreme situations or unusual adventures. Melodrama: dramatic form made popular in the nineteenth century that emphasized action and spectacular effects and also used music; it had stock characters and clearly defined villains and heroes. 4 Satire: dramatic form using techniques of comedy-such as wit, irony and exaggeration-to attack and expose folly and vice. Slapstick: type of comedy or comic business that relies on ridiculous physical activity-often violent in nature-for its humor. Theatre of the absurd: plays expressing the dramatist’s sense of the absurdity and futility of existence. Tragedy: dramatic form involving serious actions of universal significance with important moral and philosophical implications usually with an unhappy ending. Tragicomedy: during the renaissance, a play having tragic themes and noble characters but a happy ending; today, a play in which serious and comic elements are integrated. Stage Performers: Acting is almost as old as the human race Acting: assuming a role onstage. Impersonating a character in a dramatic presentation before an audience. Changed though out the centuries, so depending on time period, actor must adjust to style. Three challenges to acting: 1. To acquire the many skills (both physical and vocal) that stage performances demand; to master the craft of acting. 2. To make characters believable. 3. To integrate the first two, that s, combine skills with credibility. The performers body: 5 Actors may be called upon to: run, sword fight, falling or dying, dance, or represent extreme characters (all without getting hurt) Actors train their bodies for many years studying: yoga, stage combat, alexander technique, tia chi, dance, laban, mask, and physical characterization just to name a few. The performers voice: To be heard in a theatre that seat a thousand people, a performer must project-throw his voice into the audience so that in penetrates to the uttermost reaches of the theatre, all while maintaining believability Classical text is also a challenge for actors. The poetry must be articulated clearly and properly sometimes all in one breath. Actors study: articulation; breath control; dialects; projection; singing. Any performer who intends act in a revival of a tradition play (Shakespeare) must learn to speak and project stage verse, which requires much the same breath control as opera. Mastering the craft of acting: Vocal and movement training require the actor to study extensively. Many years. Centering: a technique used by actors to pull everything together and eliminate any blocks that impede the body or voice. You locate your center through breathing and concentration. Actors achieve balance, focus, freedom, and flexibility through this technique. Making Characters believable: The development of realistic acting: 6 Serious attempts were made to refine craft of acting in a credible, natural style. Became even more important when the style of realism came about. Realism: an attempt to present onstage people and events corresponding to those in everyday life. With realism came a demand on actors to avoid any hint of fakery or superficiality in their performances The Stanislavski system: a technique used for realistic acting; before this system individual performers had achieved believability on stage, through their own talent; Stanislavski developed system to teach it and discovered that acting realistically onstage was extremely artificial and difficult. Stanislavski said the actor must believe in everything that takes place on stage. He developed serious of exercises and techniques. Wanted to help actors achieve: behavior that was natural and convincing; to create true to life, complex characters with wants and needs; to make the life onstage continuous and dynamic; to develop a strong sense of ensemble playing with other performers on stage. Relaxation: to create realistic, natural characters an actor must be relaxed on stage. Concentration and observation: focus on stage, the scene, the people on stage, not the audience. Observation of life. The importance of specific: making specific choices is very important to acting. Inner truth: developing the character’s inner life, what they are thinking and feeling. Psychological motivations for characters. 7 Actions onstage: what? Why? How? Action is an opening letter What: opening a letter Why: it contains very important info that may make or break you How: very urgently and intensely The magic if: technique by Stanislavski where actor uses phrases to get the right feeling for scenes “as if I suddenly became wealthy” Through life of a role: how a character goes through the play, moment to moment, from beginning to end. Super-objective: what the character wants above all else. They will pursue this objective moment to moment throughout the play. Ensemble playing: the playing together of all the performers on stage. Giving and taking focus. Approaches to realistic acting: Almost all American acting uses Stanislavski system; many schools combine Stanislavski with classical voice and movement training. Other types of training borrowed from other cultures: Asian, Indian, Tribal Many actors also study: juggling, acrobatics, mime and circus skills Certain productions place demand on performers Happy days (Sand) Endgame (garbage cans) Musical theatre Actors as furniture 8 Frozen tableaux Move constantly or remain still Synthesis and integration: all this training both internal and external is to create for the performer an instrument that is flexible, resourceful and disciplined. Before a performer ever goes before an audience she must: Audition and get the role Read and analyze the script Discover the super-objective for the character Put together the spine-moment to moment life of the character Deal with all the outer aspects of the character: how does this character walk? Eat? Talk? Look like? Deal with the internal aspects of the character: feeling and emotions Must learn: blocking, lines, dances, songs Deal with makeup, costumes, lighting, props, directors, other actors All of this must be blended seamlessly into one full character. This is called integration. Some actors prefer to work: Inside out: finding out the character’s inner life and motivations first, then working on movement Outside in: getting the movement, look and voice to a character then working inward Sill others prefer to work on both at the same time. Finally there is the spark no one can teach: Stage presence Charisma 9 Talent Star quality Judging performances: By familiarizing themselves with the problems and techniques of acting, audience members can get an idea of all that goes into preparing for a role. They are then more qualified to judge how successful an actor was at portraying the character naturally and honestly. Key Terms: Emotional recall: Stanislavski’s exercise that helps the performer present realistic emotions. The performer feels a characters emotion by thinking of an event in his or her own life that led to as similar emotion. Ensemble playing: acting that stresses the total artistic unity of a group performance rather than individual performance. Magic if: Stanislavski’s acting exercise that requires the performer to ask ”How would I react if I were in this characters position?” Realism: broadly an attempt to present onstage people and events corresponding to those in everyday life. The Director and the Producer: The director is the person responsible for the overall unity of a production and for coordinating the work of contributing artist. Sometimes argued that directing didn’t exist until 1874. In actuality, directing has been around since the Greeks. Lead actor or playwright would serve as the director. 10 Because style, unity and cohesive views of society are elusive, the director is more important. Directors get their training from ways like: beginning as an actor or being trained in academic institutions with programs for directors. The Auteur Director: director who takes the text and presents his or her own interpretation of it. Auteur is French for author. Important development in 20 th century. Auteur director doesn’t hesitate to: alter texts drastically; combine texts from different sources; introduce other elements such as film, video, dance, and the visual arts; to rearrange times and places in which the action of a dramatic piece occurs. Director at work: Directors vision controls what audience sees. The director begins with close examination of the text. They must: understand dramatic purpose and structure the playwrights intension fundamental drama or conflict of the play the spine or main action of the play Directors must translate the play from page to stage. They develop a “directional concept” which is an overall image or metaphor of the play. 11 Director cast production. Involves choosing actors for each character. they hold auditions for actors to try out. Actors are interviewed, asked to bring prepared monologue and read a scene. Director works closely with costume designer, set designer, lighting designer, sound designer to develop the visual and aural aspects of the production. All areas need to mesh to insure unified production. Director responsible for rehearsals. They assemble the cast and work on each scene. Give the actors blocking. Blocking is actors movement on stage; Where to go at each point of each scene. Director must keep in mind what audience perspective is. He is eye or audience and must make sure actors don’t get bunched up on stage; pictures created need be interesting and dynamic. Stage picture or visual composition need be kept in mind. Be aware of the pace or production. If too quickly-miss some story; too slow-get bored. All elements are brought together in technical rehearsal right before play opens. The tech combines all elements together: actors, props, costumes, light. Director must coordinate these rehearsals and fix problems. Dress rehearsal is run just like performance. Directors also has collaborations with the: Musical director Vocal coach Fight choreographer Dance choreographer 12 The stage manager is vital. Helps coordinate schedule, and actual running of performances. They: Call rehearsals Lets performers know their rehearsal schedule Makes all important announcements Coordinates all elements of light, sound and scene chances during technical rehearsals. Producer or manager: Audience confuse director and producer. Producer is directors counterpart in business and management side. Not all productions have a producer, but truly commercial production does. Producers in commercial theater are responsible for entire business side of production. Raising money for production Securing rights to script Dealing with agents for any involved Hiring director designers and stage crew Dealing with theatre unions Renting theatre space Keeping production on budget Publicity Key Terms: Artistic director: person responsible for all creative and artistic activates for resident and repertory companies. Auditions: tryouts held for performers who want to be considered for roles in a production. 13 Auteur director: director who believes that his or her role is to be the author of a production. An auteur directors point of view dominates that of the playwright and the director may make textual chances and modifications. Blocking: pattern and arrangement of performers movements onstage with respect to each other and to the stage space, set by director. Casting: assigning roles to performers in a production; this is usually done by director. Director: person responsible for overall unity of production and for coordinating the work of contributing artist. Dramaturg: literary manager or dramatic adviser or a theatre company. Dress rehearsal: rehearsal in which a play is performed as it will be for the public, including all the scenery, costume, and technical effects. Front of the house: all of the nonproduction elements of the theater space that relate to the audiences’ experience including auditorium lobby and box office. Pace: rate at which a performance is played; also to play a scene or an entire event to determine its proper speed. Producer: person responsible for the business side of a production, including raising the necessary money. Run-through: rehearsal in which the cast goes through the entire play in the order that it will be performed. Spine: in the Stanislavski method, a characters dominate desire or motivation; usually thought of as an action and expressed as a verb. Stage manager: person who coordinate all the rehearsals for the director and run the actual show during it performance. 14 Stage picture: visual composition: how an entire scene on stage will appear to the audience. Technical rehearsal: rehearsal at which all the design and technical elements are brought together. 15
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