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84 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
To better understand a play, one must understand its _________
1. Introduction
2. Crisis
3. Resolution
4. Aftermath
Common organizational approach to structure (4 parts)
gathering of the audience
The first step in any evening of theater is __________
background that is necessary in order to understand the story of the play; it is usually presented in early scenes
a point of contention within the play
the moment of maximum tension within a play when the main conflict comes to a head.
the part of the play that follows the climax in which action taken during the climax is resolved
Curtain Call
the moment following a performance's conclusion in which the actors convene on stage for their final bows
Who is considered the most influencial theatre theorist?
plot, characters, theme, diction, music, and spectacle
Six components of tragedy
everything that happens in or around the play
the part of the story that appears onstage and the way in which it is organized
the people who appear in the play
the basic intellectual message
the rhythm and poetry of the text
Seen aspects of the production (i.e. set, costumes, lighting, etc.)
Climactic structure
a common structure that first appeared in ancient Greek theatre that features a plot that begins late in the story, relatively few characters, and a compressed story.
Episodic structure
a common structure, best known from Shakespeare that features a wide-ranging plot, numerous characters, and a sweeping story that might cover numerous locations and times
Ritualistic Structure
a play built about repeated, formalized acts
Series structure
a series of short pieces that tell a larger story
Segmented structure
a collection of otherwise unrelated pieced often unified by a shared theme
Major Characters
characters central to the plot of the play
Supporting Characters
character that is necessary for the plot but only appears a few times until their contribution is complete
Minor Characters
unessential to the plot; provides background and atmosphere
the main character of the play who is most central to the plot
character whose main role is to oppose the protagonist
Contrasting Character
added less to further the plot and more to heighten the characteristics of a major character by providing a contrast. (ex. evil step sisters contrast wholesome sweet daughter)
Representative Character
a character who is not particularly exceptional but serves to represent a large social group
Stock Character
a character who appears in more play than one featuring easily recognizable common traits; i.e. James bond (smooth under pressure, ladies man) and the harlequin
In major plays, main characters are some how ____
one of the first genres of dramatic literature, it features an extraordinary central character who is trapped by fate and who is forced to undergo extreme difficulties and suffering but whose noble traits rise to the surface in the face of suffering
Tragic Hero
the central character in a tragedy, he is an extraordinary character and, at least in classical tragedy, is usually a member of nobility
tragic irretrievability
the inescapable nature of events in a tragedy
ancient greece (5th century BC)
elizabethan england (16th and 17 centuries)
france (17th century)
Great outpouring of tragedies occured at 3 times:
* The first is a belief in the power of humankind to overcome obstacles and make the world better.
* The other is a recognition of humankind's power for cruelty and a belief that the world can be arbitrary and filled with despair.
two elements that must exist in a society for tragedy
heroic drama
a dramatic play that features many of the characteristics of tragedy, but that ends on a positive note
bourgeois drama
a dramatic play featuring a member of the middle class rather than a member of royalty as its central character, a precursor of domestic drama
domestic drama
a dramatic play usually focused on people much closer in class and status to the audience than heroic drama; the dominant dramatic form of the present day
a dramatic form in three acts featuring stock characters caught in situations that build suspense before an inevitable happy ending
soap operas
cop dramas
examples of modern melodramas
suspension of natural laws,
contrast b/w society and the individual, plot complications
elements that appear in comedies
a broad style of comedy featuring overblown characters, ridiculous situation, and a plot that accelerates as the play goes on
an even broader more vulgar style than farce, best known as a variety show featuring comedic acts and scantily clad women
a comedic form that uses wit and irony to mock foolishness and evil in the world
comedy of manners
based around differences in class, this form of comedy plays on class distinctions, often featuring witty verbal humor.
domestic comedy
utilizes comic situations based around a family unit
comedy of ideas
explores important issues in a comedic way, often using the tools of satire
problem plays
plays that freely mix comedic and tragic elements, defying easy categorization
a play that features traits of both comedy and drama
who has the comedy.
One of the simplest tests to determine whether a play with comic and dramatic elements is a tragicomedy is to look at ____
to create a character and communicate that character to the audience
job of the actor
Konstantin Stanislavsky
the single most influential teacher of acting in the modern era, he developed his System to train actors to create honest, emotionally true performances for the stage.
magic if
one of the basic tools of Stanislavsky, used to help an actor imagine himself in a character's situation and therfore create an honest response
Lee Strasberg
a founding member of the Group Theatre, he went on to become probably the best known teacher of theater in the US, developing The Method. (Al Pacino, James Dean, and Marilyn Monroe are some of the famous actors who utilizeds his teachings)
Sanford Meisner
He learned Stanislavsky throughLee Strasberg and Stella Adler. He created a series of exercises to help an actor attain spontaneity and openness onstage.
the method
an approach to acting developed by Strasburg particularly rooted in the technique of emotional recall
emotional recall
remembering an emotional event from one's past in order to evoke a truthful emotional response onstage to an imaginary event
Stella Adler
actually worked under Stanislavky. Strasberg left b/c she wanted to teach emotional recall. teachings focused on imagination and close examination of the given circumstance to help in emotional preparation
* Force actors to focus on their scene partners.
* Emphasize living in the present moment while acting, rather than worrying about what should be happening.
* Prepare emotionally offstage so as to have access to those emotions during a scene onstage.
Meisner approach
for an actor, this refers to his physical and vocal abilities
a way of collectively referring to an actor's techniques for conveying a performance to an audience through use of voice and physicality
an actor's charisma onstage - a necessary but elusive element to strong acting
The first actor
stage combat
the particular skill of creating violence for the stage that looks realistic but is in fact completely safe. This includes hand-to-hand fighting and combat with weapons such as swords and knives
- Live
- Actor
- Audience
- Conflict
The Essentials
the act of imitating
group sharing
to purge in (e?)motion - an audience related concept - can be positive or negative
- releases in the audience members to react to what is happening; free to release your emotions; usually similar cathartic reaction when in groups
- Text Script
- Design
- Venue
- Money
- Marketing
Secondary Elements
Proscenium Theatre Space
Aesthetic Distance
- Suspension of Disbelief
- Fourth Wall - acts like an invisible "forcefield" you wouldnt normally scream to the actors; fourthwall can be broken if actor initiates it
- the audience all faces one direction
- usually the biggest: can be bad for the people in the very back
Thrust Theatre Space
Aethetic Distance is much smaller; much closer to the action
- 3 sides
Arena Theatre Space
- Circular or Square
- Audience surrounds the stage space
- Hard to have special effects
- Where do you put your props??
Found Theatre Space
- any place that is not a tradition theatre venue
- used sometimes b/c they are tight on money
Bert Williams and George Walker
- worked on Broadway - first time to have African Americans work, direct, and act on Broadway
- did musicals; operettas
- first to perform without 'black face' and in contemporary clothes
- prior to them it was very stereotypical (tried to make black people look like slaves)
- paradym shift for how African American performs were seen and perceived'
Perkin Theatre and Lafayette Players
- conceived b/c of the success of Bert and George
Perking Theatre
- African American performers (formed in 1904 in Chicago)
- produced a new play every 2 weeks (don't even do this today. need the money, the audience, and the actors to memorize these plays)
Lafayette Players
1915 in Harlem
- Did a new play EVERY week until 1932 (17 years of constantly producing)
- provided a huge amount of opportunity for African American performers and writers
- did plays that were being done on Broadway as well (to bring the Broadway successes to their Af Am audiences)
Federal Theatre Project
- Jobs program (during the Great Depression) took place to get theatre professionals back to work
- opened up 22 African Am theatre companies around the country
- performed mostly African American plays; (employeed thousands)
- freaked the govt out by:
people said they were employing communists
did color-blind casting (didn't care about race)
- in 1937 it was shut down
Greenwich Mews
- 1950s in New York
- off Broadway theatre (one tier below Broadway)
- did work excessible and popular but not a Broadway production
- exclusive color-blind casting - cast the right person for the role no matter what their skin color
- very controversial
- notorious for the first professional staging; (had a budget, actors, director, and design) FULL production written by an african american woman called Trouble in Mind (??)
- ^^ written Alice Childress
Lorraine Hansberry wrote ____
raisin in the sun
Lorraine Hansberry
- lived only to be 35 years old (died of cancer)
- studied art in college
- after graduating, joined Harlem based magazine called 'Freedom' and becomes a writer
- Raisin in the Sun - very first play she ever wrote
- still popular today; brings audiences in today
- why did she write it? "wanted to write a social drama about negros that would be good art"
- based on a poem by langston hughes
- March 1959 opened on Broadway - first African American writer, youngest playwriter, and 5th woman to win the NY drama critic circle award for best play.
- Lloyd Richards - director of this play - first African American director on Broadway
- went on to become very famous - premiere interpretter of August Wilson
- wrote 4 other plays before she died in 1965; occasionally see them produced
Free Southern Theatre
- toured rural Louisiana doing educational plays on Civil Rights
- VERY dangerous and rebellious
- from the 1960's Amiri Baraka is the most famous playwright
Amiri Baraka
- before him, most African American plays are realistic
- wanted non-realism and experimental; used allegory and imagery to try to create a diff experience for the audience
- 'The Douchman' and 'Slaveship' (1967) were his most famous
- won multiple awards for his writing
- founded Spirit House Movers and Players in Newark, NJ
- founded Black Art Repertoire Theatre in Harlem
- still a figure in African American theatre today
August Wilson
- 1980s and 1990s, the major African American playwright
- wrote 10 plays; each place took place during a different decade during the 20th century and highlighted the African American experience during that decade
- took place in the place he grew up in in Pittsburgh
- the most famous is called 'Fences' set in the 1950s
- in the original production, James Earl Jones played in it, is on Broadway with Denzel Washington as the lead.
- Fences won a Pulitzer Prize - most prestiges prize a writer could win; 'Piano Lesson' also won a Pulitzer
- writes about 'the black experience in America and explore them in terms of the life I know best; those things that are common to all cultures" - wanted to reach out to everyone and have a universal appeal
- sense of legacy
- real sense of poetry to his lines