Art of Theatre: Actors and Audience Week 5
Art of Theatre: Actors and Audience Week 5 THEA 11000
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This 6 page Class Notes was uploaded by Janell Notetaker on Wednesday September 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to THEA 11000 at Kent State University taught by James A. Weaver in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 6 views. For similar materials see THE ART OF THE THEATRE in Theatre and Dance at Kent State University.
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Date Created: 09/28/16
ACTORS AND AUDIENCE WEEK 5 The Theatre Audience We’ve already established that the audience and performers are the two basic elements in any theatre experience What sets theatre apart from other forms of entertainment such as TV and film is the presence of the audience. If these components are not present, the what is being experienced is not theatre. How an Audience Participates Audience member participate in a theatrical performance vicariously using their imaginations. With their imaginations, audience members can identify with the characters They can be moved to feel sympathy, anger, and joy. Willing suspension of Disbelief “Willing Suspension of Disbelief,” means that we want to believe so much in the reality of what is happening on stage that we put aside all practical considerations and enter into the world of drama. The audience must be engaged into the world of the play in order to suspend disbelief To have this effect on the audience, the actors require certain skills and commitment The Actors Work Because of the influence of television and film, we often think of “good” acting as acting “real” or “natural” Plays and the medium of live performance place special demands on the performers that require careful training and skill in order to seem believable “realistic” acting is a fairly new trend in the more twothousandyear history of the theatre having begun only about one hundred or so years ago This style developed in response to the demands of a new type of theatre that mirrored the lives and struggles of common people Chekhov and Stanislavsky Anton Chekhov a Russian playwright one of the most important playwrights of realistic drama who’s plays were first produced by the Moscow Art Theatre in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Konstantin Stanislavsky was one of the directors of the Moscow Art Theatre at that time he realized that the actors in the company must be trained in a new style of acting suitable to the plays and roles they would be performing The Stanislavsky System Stanislavsky developed a system of exercises and techniques to train the actors in his company to convey the objectives or inner needs and wants of the character He utilized: ACTORS AND AUDIENCE WEEK 5 Relaxation Concentration Specificity Given circumstances Ensemble playing Emotional Recall Early in his process of developing a system of actor training Stanislavsky decided that, in order to achieve “real” emotion on stage, an actor must attempt to recall that emotional feeling from some earlier experience in his or her life The Group Theatre in the 1930s The Moscow Art Theatre toured to NYC where their new delicate and intricate style of acting was admired by several young actors who wanted to establish their own theatre company dedicated to performing in this realistic style. The Theatre Group was formed by: Lee Strasberg Harold Clurman Stella Adler Sanford Meisner and others They attempted to copy Stanislavsky’s System and apply it to their roles in group breaking news plays by their resident playwrights Clifford Odets and Lillian Hellman They wanted to make a change in the oldfashioned light entertainment that dominated the theatre of the late 1920s. Their vision was to put on new American plays that would mimic society, the life of their troubled times. Method of Physical Action Later in Stanislavsky’s career, his ideas about actor training took on a more psychophysical approach He changed his thinking: rather than creating emotion from a past experience and using it to create realistic performance, through action could yield authentic emotion. His revised system is referred to as “The Method of Physical Action”: Super objective : what the character wants overall in the entire play Objective what the character wants in that scene Action : what the character does to overcome the obstacles and achieve the objective Stella Adler & Lee Strasberg Founding member of the Group Theatre ACTORS AND AUDIENCE WEEK 5 Traveled to meet Stanislavsky and ask him for an explanation about some aspects of his system including his approach to emotional recall Stanislavsky told Adler that he had abandoned that approach and was now using the Method of Physical Action Adler returned to NY eager to share what she had learned with the company One member of The Group was happy with the original way of doing theatre Lee Strasberg used “emotional recall” with great success and refused to stop using it The difference of opinion, which is still a point of controversy today, eventually led to the dissolution of The Group Theatre at the end of the 1930’s From it sprang three major techniques of acting that are still taught in colleges and training programs both in the US and around the world The Actor’s Studio Lee Strasberg founded The Actor’s Studio where he taught his version of Stanislavsky’s System which includes emotional recall and complete believability in one’s character that some critics believe causes actors to border on the brink of psychosis Some prominent actors who have studied with Lee Strasberg include: Marlon Brando Al Pacino James Dean Paul Newman The Stella Alder Studio Stella Adler began her own studio called the Stella Alder Studio where she taught what she believed to be the correct or at least the most uptodate version of Stanislavsky’s System The emphasis is on action which will in turn lead to an emotional result Some famous graduates of her studio include: Harvey Keitel Chloris Leachman Cybil Shepherd Warren Beatty The Neighborhood Playhouse Sanford Meisner, another member of the Group Theatre used the updated information that Stella Adler brought back from her study with Stanislavsky in Europe He used this information to formulate his own acting technique The Meisner Technique utilizes an exercise called “repetition” to teach actors to listen and respond truthfully one moment at a time Several famous graduates of The Neighborhood Playhouse include: James Caan ACTORS AND AUDIENCE WEEK 5 Tony Randall Robert Duvall Sydney Pollack Diane Keaton Uta Hagen In addition to these three members of the Group Theatre, several other actors and teachers have developed training methods largely based on or influenced by Stanislavsky Ulta Hagen created a series of exercises that train students to substitute experiences from their own lives a way in to a role similar to Stanislavsky’s earlier teachings and the Method of Lee Strasberg Michael Chekhov Nephew of playwright (Ulta Hagen) uses psychological exercises as a means for the actor to connect to his or her imagination to reach inspired acting He introduced “quality of action” to existing principles of Stanislavsky’s Method of Physical Action Suzuki Method of Actor Training Realism seems to still be the predominant style of acting due to what we have come to except from television and film performance Many theatrical performances today are performed in a nonrealistic style and require a different form of training Tadashi Suzuki is a famous Japanese director who created an actor training method based on his understand of Greek Theatre and the Japanese theatre style of Noh and Kabuki His work is part of the viewpoints training methodology developed by Anne Bogart and Tina Landau In viewpoints work, actors examine their movement in relation to six factors including: Space Shape Time Critiquing Performance Although you know that actors have spent years training in their craft, if they are doing their job well, you will be unaware of it in performance You may momentarily forget that they are actors and instead become emotionally invested in the stories of their characters However, during this course, you are being asked to see a play and think critically about the work of those who made itincluding actors The Theatre Critic The theatre critic is someone who observes theatre, analyzes it and comments on it ACTORS AND AUDIENCE WEEK 5 Usually in written form While professional theatre critics, like NY Times critic Clive Barnes are usually highly knowledgeable audience members All audience members are critics in their own way Example: you though Romeo was good, but Juliet was boring, you as an audience member are making a critical judgement Criteria for Criticism It has been recommended that there are three questions a critic or audience member should inquire when evaluating a production: What is the production attempting to do? How well has it been done? Was it worth doing? What is being Attempted? When analyzing the work of a director, and audience member must ask: is the director trying to present a play exactly as the playwright intended, or is he/she trying something different? How Well is it Being Done? The audience member must make a personal evaluation How well have the director, designers, and performers brought the play to life They would ask: Are the directors, designers, and performers bringing the play to life Do I hear the lines clearly? Dance numbers, are they wellchoreographed Are the characters believable How is the quality of the ensemble? Was it Worth Doing? You are clearly evaluating the overall event Is this meaningful or significant? Was it worthwhile This is not necessarily a judgement on the depth of a production, but a question of comparing the achievement to the goal If the purpose is to entertain the audience, then the question is, Was I entertained? Art is Subjective Remember that there are no rules to determining what is good or not good in art Theatre, like all art is highly subjective and many very clever people often disagree on whether or not a play is skillfully written, directed, or designed and performed The ultimate test really is whether or not you are affected by the performance This is up to each spectator individually Audience Etiquette ACTORS AND AUDIENCE WEEK 5 Because the energy shared by the performers and the audience is so important to a theatrical event, your behavior in the theatre can have a major impact on the success of the performance Even if you are not interested in the show, you should respect the actors work and give them your attention for the duration of the performance. Such as: Rustling with programs Talking Sleeping and fidgeting this can be distracting to the actors and sometimes causes them to alter their performances in subtle but very real ways No Cell Phones or Texting In the theatre, not only is cell phone usage distracting to the audience, but also to the actors Can ruin a climactic moment or critical scene No Photos or Recording It violates copyright restrictions and union regulations Dress Code Many theatres are fairly casual and wearing nice pants would be sufficient attire One exception may be if you attend a production on opening night Often there is a reception after the performance you may want to be a bit more dressed up even in the most casual theatres, it is customary to remove all hats
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