Theater 1101V

Thursday, April 14, 2005

And the play begins

Jon- Jon did a great job today letting us know how he felt the play should go, and took charge in arranging the group in the roles we will play by really listening and analyzing how we read through the script. I feel he's spent some time thinking about what he wants out of the play and therefore was able to put it into action last night.

Marie- Marie’s reserveness was the key element to her reading of Mrs Peters. It's unbelievable how she just fell into the role, and although I’m not sure she initially felt comfortable with the thought of acting, let herself fall into it.

Ladia- From tonight’s contemplation of how we can be non-typical with this play, I found that she is going to keep this group on it’s toes and the play as interesting and unique as possible. Her visions are great, and will keep the rest of us busy trying to complete this “vision” of hers.

Jennifer- Jennifer seems like she is really ready to dive right into this play. I doesn’t matter how she is involved, she is just happy to be a part of things. I think it is for this reason that Jon assigned her Minnie Foster. I think she’ll be great because of her goal orientated nature, and she’ll put a lot of thought into how Minnie would need to act in each situation.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

how do we start producting this play?

Given our discussions in class, and after reading Clurman I find that my definition of the spine of Trifles is to appreciate women’s place in society.

With Trifles being a Realistic piece I think the convention would be to create a fourth wall for the audience in a conventional seating order in front of the fourth wall. We are going to need both a living room and a kitchen, and I feel that these spaces need to be explored thoroughly by the audience. I’m not sure how to do this with arrangement, but that’s what I’m seeing.

According to Bogart, risk and decisions are the only way to enter into a production. Ultimately I feel we need to not concern ourselves with failing, and really dig into creating the feelings we are looking for by trying new things and communication amongst us how each way of doing it makes us feel. Without the dialog amongst the cast members, we cannot be “violent.”

As we are trying to depict women being suppressed in society, I think that the aura gives way to a small physical space to work with. I feel that we want the women making as small of actions as possible. It may help by making the kitchen and living room seem small, maybe by pulling the back wall a little closer to the audience than usual.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

robot or real?

Alright, so how many robots have won oscars for their acting? What makes acting so connecting to the audience is that we feel the connection and feeling they are in the situation they are portraying. Although my acting experience is limited (to the chorus in our high school musicals) I pull experience from everyday life. There are those special situations that arise everyday, in which we must "act" a certain part. I like to think of the difference in my actions between going to church, and hanging out with friends. However, even through "acting the part" in these situations, it is impossible to have these parts "memorized" and act the same way each time. I must let my personality shine through to the point that as conversations and situations change within the setting, I am able to adjust. This takes constant innovation. Non-mechanical acting is what Stanislavski suggests is the key to believablity, and convincing acting. Grotowski takes it one step further saying that a great way to keep actors on their toes and to avoid using cliques is to constantly change the setting (environment in my example). Also, the less "scenery" used is a way not making conventions and therefore allowing the actor to free him/herself from a restricted performance. By taking away the scene (preconceptions) we are able to use our imagination to create the scene (or character).

Theater 1101V

Monday, February 28, 2005

Bertolt Brecht

I'll start with the element that is really bothering me about Brecht's writing. Does anyone else find it totally awkward how he has the actors reading the stage directions along with their lines. It makes the play seem choppy, and distracted me from the message of the story. Now to what I thought was enlightening. I love his relation of theater to early education. As a child we only learn from examples, which is all acting. In fact "acceptable" behavior is acting, because if we were not taught it, these actions would not be considered necessary.

Monday, February 14, 2005


So I loved reading stage blood. I couldnt' put it down once I had started. I think it would definatly be benificial to read it again because there is so much to pick up on... especially when the jokes come. This tragedy works as a comedy because none of the people's death is made a big deal of. It happens and then it moves on. If they were to dwell on these parts, comedy would not be appropriate. I actually think that more people connect to the comedy than the tragedy part. Maybe it's just my family, but joking around about everything is a way of life. All the way around, it almost seemed like a bad soap, or maybe a mild high school drama. Either way, anyone can relate.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

The Hamlet Project

Hamlet and The Laramie Project. Two totally different plays, from to totally different eras. Their styles, or "nuts and bolts" differ as much as the times they were written.

Hamlet’s theme is one of knowing what actions are purposeful, and which are not. How can you tell if the action you take is going to be purposeful? Who is it purposeful to? Hamlet felt the personal need to avenge his father’s death. This was not purposeful to anyone but himself; however, that purpose was enough to carry through with his plan to kill Claudius. There are many elements of the play that support this personal battle that Hamlet was out to fight. This play was all action. Each character not only spoke, but played his part for the audience. In this way, each member of the audience sees the same specific action and motive for each action. By doing this it is assured that the one meaning of the play will get through to each audience member. This holds true for the setting also. The entire scenery is spelled out for the audience. In this way people do not have to search themselves for the meaning of the play, because the actors and setting is “showing” it to them. Because the audience is not totally submerged in the play time is easy to distort, and this story takes place over several weeks. This elongation of time creates a building suspense that captures and holds the audience for quiet some time. However, just when we feel we cannot take anymore suspense, there is a humor break in which the audience lets it’s guard down, and suddenly the suspense catches you by surprise again. It is like this in the graveyard scene, and during the play, where we are ready to see if Claudius is guilty, and then you have Hamlet being witty with Ophelia, and then before you expect it everything goes crazy without Claudius storming out in a frenzy. All of these elements create a story in which the audience connects with the personal longings of Hamlet and without getting to personally involved themselves.

In complete contrast The Laramie Project is a little more vague in its elements, but that creates the need for each audience member to look inside themselves, and make up their own mind about what happened, and what it means to them. The characters in this play were quite vague. We didn't’t get a whole lot of background, so each character was just as credible as the next. Also, we never really get statements from any of the main characters such as the family, the accused, or obviously Michael. By interviewing many people we are able to get a wide sense of the character of these main characters even without interviewing them personally. We also define the people speaking not by their actions, but by how they perceived the situation and how they retold the story as they saw it. The setting was a town, however, it was more than the town. It was the organization of the citizens of the town. It was greater than the town itself, just like the meaning of what happened there. By making the audience imagine was this town is like without giving them much direction, the play is able to make the audience relate Laramie to their own town and try to imagine using images they already have in their head. By doing this it makes the audience become more involved and personally attached to what is happening. In this story it is difficult to tell the time. In fact, I felt as if there was time within time. They told a story of the town when Michael lived there, which started years before the incident took place. However the interviews done, and the way the interviews are dialogued, it is made so the book is taking place over the few days the interviewers were in Laramie. This play uses bits of humor from the interviews as a way to show the audience that the people being interviewed are as real as we are. It’s a way to make them human and credible. By being able to relate to the people telling us the story, we are more willing to accept the outcome, and the message at the end. Laramie, in my mind, is a way to make people look at themselves, and find out if we are comfortable with who we are and where we come from. Yes, it’s a story about a young gay boy who was tortured to death because of who he was. But it ultimately asks each audience member if they are comfortable with who they are in return.

These two plays read separately are phenomenal in getting across the message they carry. Hamlet was about a purpose, and how this is significant to actions. Laramie is about being comfortable with yourself, and where you come from. It’s about tolerance. I personally cannot see the same messages in these two plays, but put together, and listening to both messages makes us think about ourselves. It makes us consider how we look at things, and how we can be better so we do not end up in these situations. They are lessons that each person should learn in life.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Second Blog

What Socrates is trying to say through this story is that running away from a problem is not the way to solve anything. Oedipus lived his life in fear of what the oracle had foretold. Yet because he lived in fear and ran away his fears were given the opportunity to come true.
There was quite a bit of irony associated with this theme. When Oedipus was finally willing to ask questions about his history he sought the truth. It was only then, that he could really “see” his past and his faults. However, because this was so bad, he took his sight away but sticking his eyes with the gold pins. Fear of what he was “seeing” in the truth influenced him to take his own sight.
It was also fear of dethronement that made him distrust his most trustful friend Creon. When the blind Tiresias finally told Oedipus he had killed the King he was not only hurt, but fearful to believe, even though deep inside he knew that he can killed the man, just not that the man was the king, and his father. At this point the blind Tiresias could see better than Oedipus. This accusation by Tiresias created the fear in Oedipus that his most trusted friend was trying to dethrone him. However, when Oedipus finally learns that the oracle had foretold the truth, it is Creon that had mercy on him. Ironically, Creon does take over the throne though.
This play was centered around fear driving the actions of Oedipus, which in turn makes his situation continually worse. It sends the message that you should confront your fear right away, and not run away from it. When you run from it, you don’t avoid it, it actually controls you and your life.