I know two kinds of audience only - one coughing and one not coughing. ~ Artur Schnabel
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Chronotope in details in The Book of Spectator!
Let me see what you see. The pix on this page -- how the focus is ORGANIZED?
Print the page and draw two diagonal lines from the corners. What is in the middle? Yeah, the baby.
Now, draw two more lines through the center -- vertical and horizontal. We got four squares, your character in in one of them. That is YOUR space for this composition (scene). Remember that we already have the focal point, the center of the action -- how your character does express it? It must on the lines of main axises, your movement. Vector is a direction of your movement.
See the other vectors -- how do they relate to yours?
What your "address"? Some in the scene have the mother as an address. The difference in vectors creats the conflict.
What is the "empty space" in the top right corner of the picture for?
That is the question for your homework.
Learn how to observe, learn to be a professional spectator, if you plan to be a theatre professional.
See -- and then you can find the way to SHOW.
Learn from the others, who know. Steal -- I say to my actors. Have no shame -- steal everything that is good!
Did you read the dictionary of BM? What is the "mass of the event"?
PS. Go to the Spectator directory pages! Remember, if you can't master BM, you will never get Method right. If you can't get through Method, you can face the camera! Please, don't confuse "camera act" -- when actors behave and only camera, directing, montage do the ACTING!
How different the Idea of Spectator in BM, comparing with Spectator in Method Acting, or Directing? We have to analize Public for physical theatre, genre, style, because of the different medium and different chronotopes we operate in. 2007 - 2008
SummaryPractically every directory (acting, directing, drama) has a page on spectator; I even have The Book of Spectator -- analysis of this genesis of the phenomena of theatre -- spectatorship! Nevertheless, I was shocked by actors, I had to fight the resistence to communicate direct contact with the public in my ricent production of Don Juan (Spring 2003). The Commedia style requires it and I knew that Moliere's comedy won't work at all, if the actors can't learn this "non-method" method of communicating with each other. I don't remember where in biomechanics.vtheatre.net I talk about the triangle exercises, when each line has to be processed by the audience before your partner can reply (actor1 - spectator - acdtor2).
QuestionsHow to establish this habit of including public in every line between two actors on stage? In class I ask two students to have a dialogue (improvisation) and three of us are throwing something (hat, pencil, anything) at each other: line -- he throws it at me (did I get the line? Am I ready and waiting for reply?). If I am dying to get the reaction from his partner, I trow the thing at actor two; after his reply, he throws this object back to me... and so on.
Notes"Similar to the arena of a circus, pressed on all sides by a ring of spectators, the forestage is brought near the public, so that not one gesture, not one movement, not one glimpse of the actor should be lost in the dust of the back stage. And see how thoughtfully tactful are these gestures, movements, postures and grimaces of the actor on the forestage. Of course! Could an actor with an inflated affection or with insufficiently flexible bodily movements be tolerated at the proximity to the public at which the forestages of the old English, French, Spanish and Japanese theatres placed their actors?" MEYERHOLD AND THE THEATRE THEATRICAL
2004 & After
In approaching the problem of producing a play from the old theatre, Meyerhold admits that there is no need for the exact reproduction of the architectural peculiarities of the old stages. Free composition in the spirit of the primitive stage will serve, provided the substance of the architectural peculiarities most suited to the spirit of the production is retained. What is more important, he thinks, is to determine whether the play in hand is one which can be comprehended by the contemporary spectator through the prism of his own time, or whether it will convey its idea only when the conditions and the atmosphere surrounding the original players and playhouse and audience are reproduced today. Such a play as the latter, he insists, is Molière's "Don Juan."
... And why is the curtain removed for "Don Juan" at the Alexandrinsky? The play was not so presented either at the Palais Royal or at the Petit Bourbon. "The spectator is usually coldly inclined," the producer answers, "when he looks at the curtain, no matter how well painted it is nor by what great master. The spectator has come to the theatre to see what is behind the curtain; until it is lifted, he contemplates the idea of the painting on the curtain indifferently. The curtain is lifted, and how much time will pass until the spectator will absorb all the charms of the milieu surrounding the personages of the play? It is different when the stage is open from beginning to end, different under a peculiar kind of pantomime by the supernumeraries who are preparing the stage before the eyes of the public. Long before the actor appears on the stage, the spectator has succeeded in breathing in the air of the period."
[ This article was originally published in The Russian Theatre Under the Revolution. Oliver M. Sayler. Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1920. pp. 202-20. ]
Notes only, regarding Public and BM only...
I have to have it, this chapter. If only we can remember our experiences as audience, there will be no need for books on acting!
Theatre begins and ends with the public... Or should we define the difference between Audience, Public, Spectator?
First, there is no such a thing as PUBLIC... unless you, actor, can transform this audience into public. Public is a product of the show!
Second, you can't have it unless you transform everyone of them into a spectator. Experienced speaker knows how to work the crowd. Yes, that is what you have -- the crowd, nothing more. Maybe preselected crowd (they bought the tickects), but they are only a potential public. They are not even an audience yet!
Do not assume they are ready. You haven't establish the rules of the game yet. Not the general "theatre" code, but the rules of YOUR show, YOUR character, YOUR story!
Good actors are always good observers. They see, they notice -- and steal from life! Every artist does it. That's how writers write and painters paint. This is the most difficult part -- to see it; if can see, you will find the way to show it. Remember -- imitation! How can you do it, if you don't see it?
But how, Anatoly?
You won't know it, if you have no NEED for it?
Work on your role, the way a sculptor works on every details -- and you will need drafts and sketches, you will need to go back to life and catch this move and that pose. Work -- and your immagination will ask for the sight!
You have to be a professional spectator, if you want to be be a professional actor.
If you can read their spectator's mind, you understand theatre.
[ More I work on BM pages, less they resemble a textbook. Maybe I cut the theory passages, when I get to the print-only version?
* Ask questions! And do your Homework. In all my classes I start and finish with SPECTATOR. Spectator in you is the criteria! Think about it, think about them, they are your "product"! ]
Did you see my comments on Method? I have a "test" in acting two class; if I see that an actor avoids spectators as partners, I force on them the "standup comedy" exerrcises. If the class doesn't laugh, I won't let a student to "go on" -- not until he "cracks them"...
In many ways, we better talk about "performance" (not acting), because set, light, costumes do "act" too! They must! To save actors and acting for the most important and most difficult tasks -- inner, secret, human, spiritual motions (Method). More can be expressed outside, the better -- by taking everything that can be communicate without actors, we focus them on the invisible drama! You see, we are getting closer to the position of our dear spectator, who is motionless and seems to be passive! Remember the principle of Identification?
I realise that I am placing too many htmlgears, but I do not know how else I can redistribute the levels of the subjects. I try to keep the complex issues in Theory Directory or The Book of Spectator (and practically ignore the Virtual Theatre, since it is more on the research side and the future applications). This is the upstairs, the downstairs -- Fundamentals of Acting, 200X Aesthetics Files... So, I palce the links, hoping that it could help you to navigate to YOUR place and construct your composition of learning, according to your level of knowledge and your needs.
I do not have to confess to the obvious, I write (think) what is of interest to me (we are not in class, I am at home right now). So, kid, you have to find your own way around.
... 27.2.07. After Stage Directing Class (notes):
... Before Acting2 class...
... Spectatorship is taken for granted. This wonderful "theatre machine" is not used. My ability to understand words, my ability to understand... Did you get it? And they (actors) move on...
... It's not about UNDERSTANDING! It's about EXPERIENCING!
Let me live drama, live through suspence, expectations... let me be on stage! I ACT, the spectator!
The theatre ART is for me...
... They want to "get" it fast...
... Get what?
... Where should I write about it? In The Book of Spectator?
I think that this is the only fundamental function that the theatre can have, One has to accept that fragmentation and conflict are part of the human lot. And one also recognizes that the aspiration to go beyond that is also a part of the human psyche. And so this healing process of the fragmented social body - which has to exist - can only be brought about by moments of reminder, and that's what the word "communion" really means. That you don't try to reform the world, you don't try to establish a paradise now. You only attempt to remind yourself and others that a communion is a highly desirable possibility for mankind. And this is the meaning of public performance.
And this is why earlier on I said the theatre is a process. Comparable to cooking. It's not just a hot bath that the audience gives; it is a heating process by which the collective temperature rises, and like all temperature that rises, it goes through changes of state. The state changes only at certain points. So at one moment it will be like water, the same substance, and then suddenly it'll reach a point when it turns into steam. Now in the same way, a theatre performance will get more and more vibrant, and then suddenly there will be a change of state and it becomes an experience of another quality.
... Any play, from the lowest to the highest, is never an end in itself. It is a support. It is a basis. And overtones are being produced. Harmonics are being produced all the time. And there are moments that you can only call moments of grace. Moments of grace are moments when something way beyond the support suddenly comes to existence, but without the support it wouldn't have been there.
Peter Brook * http://www.jameswehn.com/bindlestick/pad04.html
An online course supplement *
2005-2006 Theatre UAF Season: Four Farces + One Funeral & Godot'06
Film-North * Anatoly Antohin * eCitations *