repeated behavior to achieve a desired result. from ancient greek and egyptian rituals
what is theater?
a performance that places human experience before a group of people - the audience - in the present moment
what makes theater unique?
Aristotle wrote that drama is the imitation of an action
what are the two essential components of theater space
actors and the audience
action of the play
what happened before the play began
used to build tension
the audience wonders what is going to happen, sees the characters set in motion -- questions are answered one by one
when the action reaches its greatest tension -- revelation is experience by main character
stage directions and how the characters move -- perhaps even the significance of their movements
the message of the play
the drama reaches a conclusion and the characters understand the situation and they themselves better than they did at the beginning
between characters -- plot depends on conflict
who is the hero/villain? who are just there as "functionary"
the time and place in which the play takes place
verbal exchanges between characters
what are the three genres of drama
tragedy - serious drama in which a protagonist is of noble birth and suffers a series of catastrophes
comedy - entertainment and amusement with a happy ending
tragic-comedy - combines elements of tragedy and comedy
what are three different theater spaces?
what is acting?
believable behavior under given circumstances
what are the duties of the director
-agreeing to direct an offered script or selecting or creating a script.
-deciding on the text's interpretation and look and configuration of the stage space. the spine of the play
-casting actors in various parts
-working with other theater artists to plan and execute the production
-rehearsing the actors
-coordinating all elements into the final stage performance
what are the elements of drama?
what is upstage?
towards the rear of the acting area (further away from the audience)
what is downstage?
towards the front (closer to the audience)
what is center?
center of the acting area
what is right and left?
movements that are the ACTORS right and left
- producer/director/actor that co-founded of Moscow Art Theater
- moscow art theater worked with Anton Chekhov
- created a method for training actors in pursuit of "truthful behavior"
what are the scene designer's objectives?
- help set the tone and style of the production
- establishing locale and period
- developing concept
- providing a central image or metaphor
- coordinating scenery with a whole
- solving practical design problems
what are the elements of scene design?
what are the costume designer's objectives
- help establish tone and style
- indicate historical period and locale
- indicate the nature of individuals characters or groups in a play: their stations in life, occupations, personalities
- show relationships among characters: major characters from minor ones
- meet needs of performer
- be consistent with production as a whole
actors external technique
- from the outside inward
- he/she approaches a role through a deep and passionate study of human behavior IN ALL ITS OUTWARD FORMS, with an eye toward reproducing them in a discipline and sensitive way
- the english actor david garrick approached acting as an imitation of life - he called acting mimical behavior
actors internal technique
- from the inside outward
- a creative process that is intuitive, subconscious and subjective
- to select behavior pertinent to the character's needs within the given circumstances
- to allow personal behavior to develop out of the playwright's prescribed circumstances, knowing that their actions will involve a moment to moment subjective experience.
what is the magic "IF"
- actors learned to experience what their character experienced as IF it were actually happening to them.
- if i were in Othello's situation what would i do? not if i were Othello, what would i do?
- by becoming a person in a characters situation the actor could give a performance that became a truthful living experience not merely the imitation of fiction.
What is the Abydos ritual?
it is about Osiris and Isis. Osiris is killed, cut up, body parts scattered. Isis finds body parts and brings him back to life. He is buried at Abydos and is made a God.
Dionysus is the Greek God of agriculture and wine. he is the symbol of life giving power. he is killed and cut up, body parts scattered. he is brought back to life.
what were the four Dionysian celebrations?
- rural or small Dionysia at the end of december
- the Lenea in January
- the Anthesteria in February
- the Great/City of Dionysia in March (this was the biggest of the celebrations)
City of Dionysia
- 5 to 7 day festival
- dithyrambic contests
- satyr play
- 486 BCE - first comedy
- prizes were awarded
The Greek Chorus
usually portrayed ordinary human society, performed in the dancing area (orchestra). they shared the audiences reactions to event and characters, and sometimes interacted with the actors. the chorus was called the goat singers, and their ritualistic chant was called the goat-song or tragos.
according to greek folklore, he won the first competition. He is credited with being the first tragedy writer, and he changed the form of drama by stepping out of the chorus and taking a solo part. he therefore became the first actor.
what is the greek orchestra?
the dancing circle where the chorus sings and dances
what is the greek skene?
the scene house/building
what is the greek proskenion?
the raised part of the stage added later times in front of the skene where the actors perfomred
what is the greek Koilon?
the main theater or auditorium
what is the greek parados?
the entrance for the actor,s chorus, and the audience. it is also known as the entrance song by the chorus.
*if someone was entering from the right parados, that meant that he was coming from the city or port. if he was coming from the left parados, he was coming from the field or abroad.
What is the greek Machina?
a machine that permitted actors to appear above the stage as if flying.
*deus ex machina means god from the machine. it is used today to indicate an artificial plot device an author introduces late in a play to resolve difficulties.
who is aeschylus?
he added the second actor intensifying the conflict or agon-
who is Sophocles?
added the third actor and also wrote Oedipus
Who is euripides?
a playwright noteworthy for his writing and portrayal of women
- tragedy - humans at the mercy of moira (fate)
- it focused on the downfall of a person of noble birth
- tragic figure experiences 3 stages of development:
purpose, passion, and perception
Greek satyr plays
- dressed as half man half beast, with phallus as part of costume
- erotic comedy
- Cyclops by Euripides is the only surviving satyr play
- deals with characters of a lower status
- playwrights included
- Aristophanes - Lysistrata
- Meander - the Grouch
- aristophanes - Lysistrata
- individuals attacked personally
- coarse, raunchy humor
- phallus costume piece
- Meander - The Grouch
- more focused on the short coming of the middle class
- Social manners
purging of emotions, pity, and fear
what are the three unities of greek theater
rules of drama derived from Aristotle's Poetics, they include
- unity of place
- unity of time
- unity of action
the seeing place (audience)
what did the roman Etruscans do?
improvised song and dance
what was the Atellan farce?
broad coarse popular comedy
Roman dramatist: Plautus
he wrote the Twin Menaechimi. he dealt with the trials and tribulations of romance. his comedies may have resembled modern musical comedies because it is believed that a good portion of the dialogue was sung.
Roman dramatist: Seneca
he is noted for closet dramas, influenced by Shakespeare.
Roman dramatist: Terence
known for characterization, subtlety of expression, elegant language, possibly of African descent?
Why did Roman theater begin to disappear?
because of Constantine, Christianity, and the disintegration of Roman civilization
What were the three characteristics of Roman Theater?
comedy and other popular entertainments
What three changes did the Romans make?
they got rid of the chorus
emphasized dramatic devices such as eavesdropping and identical twins for comic effect
what is a stock character?
A stock character is a fictional character based on a common literary or social stereotype. it is a character with predictable behavior traits.
what is the time period of the middle ages?
from 500 AD to 1500 CE
*sometimes called the Dark Ages
what is a Liturgical drama?
it is an early medieval drama, written in Latin and was part of the Mass. They were developed from tropes
what is a Vernacular Drama?
- Later in the middle ages
- the language of these plays was not in Latin, but in the everyday speech of the people.
What is a Trope?
an embellishment sung as part of the Mass. it was part of Liturgical drama
what is Quem Quaeritis?
the earliest known trope. It means "Whom seek ye?"
What is a mansion?
tiny spaces/stages where the performances were designated
what are Miracle Plays?
dramatized the miracles performed by the Saints. they moved outside of the church because of space constraint and because the plays began to get expensive.
*Feast of Corpus Christi is an example of a miracle play
what are mystery plays?
dramatized the mystery of Christ's Passion.
- the dramatized a series of biblical events that could stretch from Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, Noah and the flood, and Abraham and Isaac to the stories of Christ in the New Testament
- Second Shepherd's Pageant
- Part of the cycle plays-
what are morality plays?
- morality plays such as Everyman used religious characters and religious themes to teach a moral lesson.
- internal battles between certain vices and specific virtues in the human soul.
- Allegory was used. this is giving abstract ideas or values a physical representation.
what is a pageant wagon?
a flat surface drawn on wheels that had a wagon next to it; these structures touched on their long side. the stage was, then, a raised platform visible to the audience below.
What were guilds?
plays that were produced by members of the craft guilds, and they became known as CRAFT or MYSTERY PLAYS.
* the word mystery was used to describe a trade known only to a few apprenticed and mastered the special techniques.
what was significant about the level of realism in medieval drama?
sometimes the dramas demanded that the actors suffer in accord with the characters they play. for example actors playing Christ or Judas.
what is verisimilitude?
the appearance of truth
what is commedia dell'arte
- comedy of professional player. it was simple and appeared to be improvised.
- highly valued because of the high level of performance.
- used stock characters and improvisation
what is the burla?
the general plot for any given performance.
what were lazzo or lazzi
they were comic routines
what was the most lasting design of the Italian/Renaissance Drama?
the proscenium arch.
*renaissance drama was prominent during the mid 1500s
Renaissance stock characters
- Pantalone - miserly old man
- Arlecchino (Harlequin) - cunning clown
- Punch and Judy - the lovers
- Columbina - zanni servant
* players still used masks to portray characters
Italian inspired designs
- designed space with stage and staggered wings and painted backdrop that gave a sense of perspective, vanishing point
- it was the first theater to use changeable scenery
Jacobean Court Masque
- written expressly for the court
- performed in banquet halls with the king/queen and court participating
- inigo jones - designed stage and costumes
characteristics of asian theater
- relied on dance more than western drama
- emphasized symbolism
- total theater - an integration of acting, mime, dance, music, text
- puppet theater - large puppets 2/3 life size
- with three handlers dressed in black
- chanters - do all the text, play all the characters as well as narrator
- music - shamisen which is a three stringed instrument
- started when female dancers began to give public performances
- originally performed by women but women were banned in 1629
- female impersonators took over
portraying a characters wants and needs through artistically truthful behavior that reflects a characters psychological and emotional life.
change in 18th and 19th century drama
acting style alternated between exaggerated and naturalistic
english restoration in the 1660's
- while exiled in France the court was exposed to French and Italian theatrical devices
- as a result new theaters were built (indoors):
*Lincoln's Fields Inn
*Dorset Garden Theater
when did actresses appear on stage?
what are breech roles?
what is a closet drama?
something that is not meant to be performed, it was written only to be read
after the restoration what changes were there in the theater?
- indoor theaters and year round theaters
- indoor lighting with candle light
- apron extends into audience
what was the comedy of manners?
it was influenced by Moliere and it makes fun of the manners of society (The importance of Being Earnest).
what were some of the technical changes in 19th century drama?
- gas jets - lights could be dimmed or darkened. selective lighting
- actors moved off apron and deeper into set
- scenery - machinery lifted actors from the stage
- apron shrank
- proscenium opening became "fourth wall"
what were gas jets used for?
they were used for lighting, lights could be dimmed, light can be used to heighten emotional effect of plays and actors could move deeper into the set. lighting was placed between scenery and behind proscenium arch
when did costumes begin to accurately reflect the period of the drama?
what three forms of drama emerged in the 19th century?
the well made play
what is melodrama?
- melo means song, originally resembled comic operettas
- later developed into dramas using back ground music to alter the mood
- plays were sentimental with well defined heroes, heroines and villains
- lots of twists and turns in the plots
- strong emotional appeal
- decisive endings
Who introduced the well made play?
what were the characteristic of the well made play?
- exposition - explanation of what is going on and one or two surprises
- surprise - a letter opened at a critical moment
- suspense- steadily built throughout the play
- climax - late in the play, secrets are revealed, hero confronts antagonist and wins
- denouement - resolution of the drama, all lose ends are tied up
what is blocking?
where the actor enters, crosses, where they come in, etc.
how were places shown?
they were outlined in tape on the rehearsal hall floor so the actors can visualize the environment in rehearsals
what are the roles of the stage manager?
- compiles the prompt book
- records stage business
- lighting cues
- sound and other cues
- makes rehearsal schedules
- coordinates rehearsals
- runs the show after it opens
- the ground plan
What are the roles of the lighting designer?
- light should be used to unify all the elements
- it should fuse all the elements into a unifying whole
- they are concerned with the degree of reality
- important scenes
- what forms, moods, color patterns are suggested by the play
what are the roles of the sound designer?
- music can evoke mood, establish period, heighten tension, intensify action
- use of live or recorded sound
what is realism?
- ordinary people in ordinary situations
- forced comfortable audiences to watch psychological and physical problems of the middle class
- implied morality and immorality were relative
what is naturalism?
- often dealt with the lower classes, showing the stark side of life
- slice of life - events should be show in a time continuum. No editing or rearrangement like in ordinary dramatic writing
- focused on the lower class to call attention to social problems and initiate reform
when did realism hit europe? America?
by the 1920's in Europe
and by the 1930's in America
- 1904 in Ireland, Lady Gregory and John Synge created dramas with the peasant dialogue of ireland. dialogue that was distinctive, poetic, and colorful.
- 1924 in the US Eugene O'Neill experimented with poetic realism in Desire Under the Elms using the Phaedra myth as an underpinning
- 1936 in Spain Federico Garcia Lorca in House of Bernarda Alba explores erotic forces explored and then released.
what is social realism?
realism with a political conscience. during depression dramatist wanted to open the government eyes to the results of unbridled capitalism
- 1930's Clifford Odets' Waiting for Lefty was a leftist labor drama
what is expressionism?
- it is an alternative to realistic drama
- stage might be barren or flooded with light
- poetic in language and effect
- many different forms
what is surrealism?
- interpretation of experience through the mind of a dreamer. The unconscious mind
- distorted reality for emotional purposes
- Pirandello's Six Characters...
what is epic theater?
- a sequence of actions or episodes in which the dramatic illusion is voided. you are constantly reminded that you are watching a play.
- uses stark lighting, bare stages, long discomforting silences
what did Bertolt Brecht do?
- he rejected the well made play. he felt realistic drama convinced the audience that things had to be that way
- brecht felt that realistic drama helped to maintain the social problems they maintained
what is theater of the Absurd?
- it assumes the world is meaningless
- meaning is a human concept
- dramatist samuel beckett
- waiting for godot is an example, so is endgame
what is theater of cruelty?
- Antonin Artaud 1846-1948
- he wanted the audience to feel uncomfortable
- wanted them to face unpleasant ideas and situations
- departure from the soothing melodrama of earlier times
what was the little theater movement?
- the growth of smaller theaters or little theaters started in France and England and spread to America
- in 1915 the Provincetown Players was created with Eugene O'Neill and Susan Slaspell
- noted for her light-heartedness and risque manner
- was discovered while selling flowers near the theater at age 15
- she was the mistress to King Charles II
- noted for his naturalistic style of acting
- more subdued
- noted for the variety of emotions in his face
mixes film, video, opera, rock and other music with live actors
what is applied theater?
drama in a specific context and environment. does not have to be in a conventional theater. what the audience brings to the performance and takes away from the performance is vital to applied theater. can be used in prisons, museums, therapeutic settings, any variety of settings
what is AEA?
actors equity association
What is SAG?
screen actors guild
what is AFTRA?
american federation of television and radio artists
- wrote tragedies, comedies, and romances
- heavily influenced by Roman playwright Seneca
- wrote 37 plays
- started as a poet
- company was Lord Chamberlain's Men during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and the King's Men during the reign of King James
what was The Globe?
- an open air outdoor theater
- groundlings stood in the open space in front of stage
- wealthy patrons sat in uper galleries
- stage had a trap door
What is Iambic Pentameter?
a poetic meter that divides a line into five parts, each part containing an unaccented syllable followed by an accented syllable
*10 syllables total in each line
what was Ziegfeld?
a combination of ethnic music, ethnic comedy routines, and beautiful girls
what was the first african american company?
- African Grove Theater started by William Alexander Brown
- born in NYC
- imitated Edmund Kean
- left america and traveled to england
what was Folk Drama
- non commercial rural theater and pageantry based on folk traditions and local history. wanted Howard University to be for Negro folk theater what UNC was Appalachain folk theater
- lynching Dramas
- Written mostly by black women
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