And other dictionary @ filmplus.org/vtheatre & spectator.vtheatre.net
[Critical Concepts] ***
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Key Terms: Glossary
Key Terms: Glossary
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ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan: Director's BOOK
The Possessed 2003
Presentationalism vs. Representationalism
· Drama is a mix of both. The former would be all performance with no hint of a fictional life, while the latter would lack any spectacle or interest.
· Presentationalism: Frank acknowledgement of stage and audience. Actors may speak to us and stage may be bare, so audience must engage their imagination to create a virtual existence for the characters.
· Representationalism: emphasizes life through illusion (realism and naturalism). Shows people living their life, oblivious to being watched. A play can never avoid escape presentation, though (fights must be staged, for example).
2008 - 2009 Caligari [double view]
Acting area(s) designated stage spots for actor's different emotions. Position(s) on stage designed by the actor's performance for different emotional states.
Action Dramatic motion in subjective space and time.
Acting Styles A particular manner of acting which reflects cultural and historical influences.
Actor a performer who developed in himself the art of inner and outer mimicry and incarnation (Richard Boleslavsky on Stanislavsky System). Initiator, leader and organizer of the material (the actor and medium are one and the same thing). (Biomechanics)
Actor's Text Actor's performance; broken down dramatic text, with ground plan, positions, acting areas, stage directions written in by the performer.
Alienation effect A stage technique developed by Bertold Brecht in the 1920s and 1930s for "estranging" the action of the play. By making characters and their action seem alien, separate from actors. Three ways of establishing A-effect: third person reference to yourself, and songs.
Aristotle Greek philosopher (384-322 b.c.), first drama critic, The Poetics.
Audience Public, second actor's ego is made up of those who witness the event through dramatic (emotional, intellectual) participation.
Biomechanics Theatre system of performance and training developed by Meyerhold. The technique emphasized the movement on stage, the study of preparation for a certain action: emotional and physical state of the moment of action itself: and the resulting anti-climax of reaction (see Cycle).
Blocking The placement and movement of actors in a dramatic presentation.
Brecht, Bertold German director and playwright (1898-1956), inventor of methods and theories of non-realistic theatre. *
Character a functional "person" appearing in a play or other work of fiction; role as portrayed by an actor or actress.
Character analysis A description of one's understanding of a character.
Characterization The process of developing and portraying a character.
Climax Dramatic decisive turning point of the action, the highest moment of conflict.
Comedy a drama with a happy ending or nontragic theme (see situation comedy and comedy of characters).
Complications a build up segment after the exposition.
Composition an arrangement of the parts to form a unified, harmonious whole.
Conflict clash of opposite impulses, collision, fight, struggle.
Constructivism Constructivist theatre resisted the use of representational sets, using more abstruct "constructions" on stage.
Context includes the political, social, historical, psychological, institutional, and aesthetic factors that shape the way we understand the performance event.
Contra-Text Meyerhold's definition of an extreme sub-text.
Contrast Dynamic use of movement/stillness, sound/silence and light/darkness.
Cycle three-step acting sequence in Biomechanics (Aim, Action, Release, Stop).
Demonstration Describing "A-Effect," Brecht urged his actors to "demonstrate" the roles they played, rather than identifying with them in the mode of Stanislavsky System (Method Acting). Acting-as-demonstration keeps the audience aware of both the actor and the character at the same time.
Directing Assuming overall responsibility for the artistic interpretation and presentation of a dramatic work.
Director's book The planning book developed by a director to guide the development of a dramatic presentation, including interpretative notations, schedules, scene breakdowns, preliminary blocking, etc.
Drama a literary composition, usually in dialogue form, that centers on the actions of charcters.
Dramatism According to Performance Theory has six principles for analysis of actions (Kenneth Burke): act is defined as a deed, thought, or feeling; scene is the background or situation in which the act occurs; agent is the person who performs the act; agency is the instrument or means by which the action is produced (movement, voice, etc.); purpose is the reason for which the action is undertaken; and attitude is the bent of mind through which the action is carried out.
Emotional memory Stanislavsky's term, describing an actor's "work on himself" in acting. The actor tries to connect the character's situation with important events in his own life. This emotional connection can make the character's display of emotion on stage seem realistic and immediate. (see Identification).
Epic Theatre Erwin Piscator's term, theorized by Brecht; epic theater uses episodic dramatic action, non-representational staging to demonstrate the political and social factors of characters.
Episodes Parts of the whole drama work. A series of events which may be sporadically or irregularly occurring.
Event segment of dramatic action with three-step structure. (Exposition--Climax--Resolution).
Existentialism a philosophical movement argues that "existence precedes essence," that individuals must choose, decide their "essential" nature rather than having it given from some transcendent source.
Exposition First part of a play (or action), which establishes the character(s), conflict, situation, style, genre, etc.
External Composition changes between actor's acting cycles.
Floor plan a ground plan with actor's major positions and movement.
Fourth-wall The style of realist theatre since the late nineteenth century, in which the stage is treated as a room with one wall missing. The audience is not acknowledged or addressed by the actors.
Futurism an art movement opposed traditionalism and sought to depict dynamuc movement by eliminating conventional form and by atressing the speed, flux, and violence of the machine age.
Genre Literary "kind" or "type" refers to comedy or tragedy (or various combinations of two; drama, farce, etc.): the goals, means and modes of mimesis.
Given circumstances Stanislavsky's term, describing the situation of a character(s) at the scene, which actor must construct in his exposition.
Ideology a body of beliefs, a doctrine, a socially grounded system for producing beliefs and values, a way of producing meanings or doctrines.
Improvisation method of rehearsals, method of training and method of performance. Improvisation -- any unscripted work in drama.
Inner Conflict emotional disturbance resulting from a clash of opposing impulses or from an inability to reconcile contradictions with realist or moral considerations, a fight or struggle "selves" within one-self. Inner gesture a motion expressing a certain emotion.
Inner monologue a text developed by the actor (scream of conscience) in order to have a sub-text.
Interpretation actor's choices.
Internal Composition a structure within one acting cycle.
Level(s) on stage (space) or vocal to establish the range of action.
Melodrama a genre with an opposition between good and evil, in which good prevails.
Master gesture a physical icon representing character's traits.
Method American equivalent of Stanislavsky System.
Meyerhold Russian-Soviet director (1874-1942), see Biomechanics Mise-en-scene "The putting on stage" of a play, including the setting, scenery, direction, and acting (blocking).
Modernism the general trend in the methods, styles, and philosophy of artists involving a break with the traditions of the past and a serach for new modes of expression. (See post-modern).
Monologue a part of a play in which one character speaks alone; soliloquy. Monologue is a piece of oral or written literature (e.g., a story, poem or part of a play) spoken by one person who exposes inner thoughts and provides insights into his or her character.
Naturalism emphasizes the role of society, history, and personality in determining the actions of its characters, usually expressed as a conflict between the characters and their environment.
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"poor theater": Jerzy Grotowski's term for a theater which seeks (by choice or necessity) to eliminate everything not entirely essential to the performance (e.g., scenery, elaborate costumes, makeup, high-tech lighting); "found" objects and costumes are used and the actors themselves create effects to support the production (see also via negativa).
"A play is a series of actions." (Ball 9)
Event: A concrete occurrence that takes place on stage in time and space among characters. According to David Ball, it is "something happening" (9). A Plot is the series of on-stage events that make up the story of a play: it i s everything that happens.
Action: "Action occurs when something happens that makes or permits something else to happen. Action is two ‘something happenings,’ one leading to the other." (Ball 9) Think ‘transaction.’ "If I say ‘how are you?’ it is h alf an action. The second half is your saying, ‘Fine, thank you.’ The first leads to the second; the two compose an action." (Ball 9) Note, though, that the two events in question must be "adjacent" (Ball 13). One thing leads to the thing immediately next, with no gap between. If I say ‘how are you?’ and she says ‘he’s fine’ before you say ‘fine, thank you,’ ‘he’s fine’ is the second half of the action.
Defining Action: Ball says: "Find the first event of each action, then the second, then the connection between the two." The connection is the action, distinct from the events. When we name the connection between two events, we name the action. If I say "how are you?" and you say, "fine, thank you," the connection may be that I am greeting you. You answer "fine, thank you" because you have been greeted. If, after you say "fine, thank you," I say "sorry," we might not be inclined to say that the second action in the series was "to respond," "to greet," or "to thank;" none of these are likely to elicit the response "I’m sorry." We mig ht instead suggest ‘to silence,’ ‘to reprimand,’ ‘to hurt.’ The action we choose determines the delivery of the line "fine, thank you," and we make the choice according to the context in which the line appears.
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