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What is theatre?

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jess dalcanton

on 11 August 2016

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Transcript of What is theatre?

What is theatre?
There’s been a lot of talk about creating to meet the desires and needs of the audience, but isn’t it the job of the artist to take the audience to places where they never dreamed of going?
Is it really a good thing for artists to be so focused on what the audience wants, instead of what they can give the audience?

From the reading
Describe funding patterns in today's theatre?
Acting requires a wide range of skills, vocal, physical, imaginative, expressive, intellectual, intuitive, and work can demand different dialects, languages, accents, vocal control or body language, improvisation, observation and emulation, mime, and often dancing or stage combat. A stage actor will often be required to research around a character or a period of history. In an ever changing world it is a continually evolving profession.
Physical Prep
actors /directors
business of theatre
It seems that everybody is claiming to be an entrepreneur these days. And why not? The concept is no longer defined just in terms of some business guy or gal with a new idea and a knack for selling it.
Chefs, scientists, journalists and artists of all stripes are now devising innovative ways to do, fund and market their work.
Physical Prep
costume / set / sound
Explain the tension between theatre as art and theatre as business.
Explain why theatre audiences can serve as
an index to culture:
How to Read a Play
Stage Directions:

Name a few titles of plays:

What do the names suggest?

Aristotle's Poetics

6 parts of a play:
Plot: (Linear, Episodic)






What to do at the Theatre

Turn OFF you cell
Read the Program
Check out the physical surroundings

Brandon McShaffrey is a Philadelphia based Director/Choreographer. He is one of the founding members of Mauckingbird Theatre Company which is a Philadelphia based theatre company committed to producing professional gay-themed theatre, while also exploring classic literature and musical genres. At Mauckingbird he serves as Producing Director, and has produced their productions of {title of show}, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Tru, Never the Sinner, Hedda Gabler, Shakespeare's R & J, and their premier production of The Misanthrope.
Brandon McShaffrey

Industrial Age


Hierarchy & Authority

Autonomous individuals

History as progress


Information Age
Socially Shaped People
History as nonlinear

Why do theaters need
a Dramaturg?
Type Casting
Cross-Gender Casting
Color-blind Casting - Non Traditional

Society changes. In Shakespeare's time only young boys could portray women on the stage. In the past, there was not a great outcry when white actors portrayed ''Othello,'' despite the play's racial implications.

Physical Theatre
Modern physical theatre has grown from a variety of origins.
and theatrical clowning schools, such as L'École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris.
Theatre of Cruelty
Contemporary Dance
Commedia dell'arte
Ancient greek theatre, particularly the theatre of Aristophanes.

Why should this story be told now
Directors on Directing
Comes from the author Franz Kafka, and refers to the style with which he wrote his books (which in his dying wish asked for to be burned).

Basically it describes a nightmarish situation which most people can somehow relate to, although strongly surreal. With an ethereal, "evil", omnipotent power floating just beyond the senses.
You go to the city to see the law. Upon arrival outside the building, there is a guard who says "You may not pass without permission", you notice that the door is open, but it closed enough for you to not see anything (the law).

You point out that you can easily go into the building, and the guard agrees. Rather than be disagreeable, however, you decide to wait until you have permission.

You wait for many years, and when you're an old, shriveled wreck, you get yourself to ask:

"During all the years I've waited here, no-one else has tried to pass in to see the law, why is this?",
and the guard answers:

"It is true that no-one else has passed here, that is because this door was always meant solely for you, but now, it is closed forever".

He then procceeds to close the door and calmly walk away.
Directors Concept Project:

Create a presentation of how you would conceptualize MEDEA for a modern audience.
Must use Prezi.

For this project you will need to create a Prezi that contains the following items:
(5pts) A clear, concise concept statement you would give to potential theatrical designers if you were to direct the play. This statement should inspire designers as well as give them focus in terms of time period, location and style. What colors, sounds, styles, and the mood of your piece rolled into a single statement.
Example: I want the audience to believe that Medea is trapped in an insane asylum.

(2 pts) A justification for the statement. Using examples from the text and by highlighting specific themes in the play, you will justify why you have given this concept.

Example: Research on how insane asylums punished women in the 1880’s.

(2 pts) Artwork that helps to convey your concept. You may use any form(s) of art to inspire the designers including music, paintings, sculpture and pop culture.

(1 pts) Sources. You will need to use at least 3 non-wiki cites. You must cite all sources used for research.
Vocabulary from the text book
HOT N' COLE (know who directed, which theater produced it, and the plot)
Aristotle's Poetics (list 6 parts of a play)
Post Modernism (list attributes)
Dramaturge (What do they do?)
Casting (list 2 types)

critique vs. reviewer
dramatic criticism:

form & structure
images & metaphors
politics & sexuality

Bridge the gap between the mediators of theatre and business
Links for more information:
Kevin Glaccum
Kevin Meehan
Lauren Tracy
Stage Manager
Chapter 10
Creation of worlds on the stage

Historical periods: What history says really happened vs. our perception.
Technical Director

coordinates maintenance
upkeep of tools
backstage scheduling
Good Design above all serves the actor and the production

Being the Character?

To appear natural the actor must be artificial.

Never Judge your character
Know your objectives


Although very complex, one of the basic goals of the "Stanislavsky System" was to portray believable, natural people on stage. This notion was a striking contrast to the thespians in 19th century Russia.
Brechtian Theatre: Alienation Effect


Projection Design
Projector is positioned in front of the projection surface and actors
*brighter and uses less wattage
*wider viewing angle
projector is positioned behind the projection surface and actors
*projection screen is denser
*more light loss and absorption
Stage is usually brightly lit, which causes fading.
Hiding front projectors.
Rear projection screens are more expensive.
Many stages are too shallow for rear projection.
Colour can wash out actors or make them blend in.
Front projection can be used on any surface that reflects light.
This allows for more creativity.
Set changes are faster.
Great for dramatic effect.

How do we define
Deus Ex Machina
start at 1928
In the 4th century BCE, Aristotle wrote his Poetics, the first play-writing manual.
Aristotle established the principle of action as the basis for all drama.
Hierarchy of elements for the drama
plot , character , thought , diction , music , and spectacle.

Full-length play: Generally, two or three acts with an act break (intermission or interval) that marks some kind of scene change or time shift. Usually these acts are divided into scenes, which are also defined by shifts in time and place. This type of structure is called episodic. Episodic plays often contain scene changes and require careful attention to transitions, so as to maintain entails a more causal relationship between units and is often defined by the unity of time, place, and/or action.

One-act play, 10 minute play, 24 hour fesitval

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