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Chapter 1: What Is Theatre?
· empty space
· Stage managing
· House managing
· Suspension of disbelief
· Esthetic distance
· Action (know Oedipus the King as dramatic action example)
Some Thoughts About Theatre--It is:
· Most ephemeral of the arts--dies each night, to be reborn. It lives only in memories, scripts, reviews, programs, pictures.
· Most objective of the arts--both outer and inner experiences.
· Most complex of the arts--involves action, speech, music, dance, painting.
Where Plays Are Performed--Theatre Spaces
· Black Box
· Thrust Theatre
· Arena Theatre
· Proscenium Theatre
Some Artists Involved
Director (Regisseur--Master Designer)
Assistant Costume Designer
Assistant Lighting Designer
Running Crew (including Follow Spot, Console, Special Effects Operators
Live Sound Technician
Special Effects Designer
Assistant Stage Manager
Backstage Running Crews
Property Master and Crew
Wardrobe Mistress and Crew
Lighting Crew Head and Crew
Sound Crew Head and Crew
Special Effects Crew Head and Crew
Composer and Staff
Jobs of the Theatre:
The work of the theatre is indeed hard work. An original play usually takes about one year to produce and often five from conception to actual presentation. The enterprise may involve hundreds of people in scores of different efforts, many more backstage than onstage, and the mobilization and coordination of these efforts is in itself a giant task. The work of the theatre is generally divisible into a number of crafts:
· Stage Managing
· House Managing
· Box Office
Drawbacks. Theatre is:
· A minority art. Only one audience, a few people at a time, can see a performance. Compare that to a film showing in 3500 theatres.
· An expensive art. There are weekly salaries and ongoing expenses.
· An obscure art. There is less chance of fame for its artists. Do you know who Donna McKeckne is?
1. Define "impersonation," and explain the moral implications it holds for theatre. Why is impersonation the heart of theatre? How does the actor cope with the implied split in self? Incorporate Denis Diderot's remarks about the actor's paradox.
2. Agree or disagree: Theatre is not simply a collaborative art that requires the coordination of many crafts; it is also a collaborative experience because it requires an audience.
3. Take one of the crafts and explain the duties and responsibilities involved in it.
4. Explain the difference between a script and a performance.
5. Discuss the range of meanings contained in "theatre," and then explain how theatre differs from drama.
6. Explain why theatre is work.
Chapter 1 Study Questions:
1. What does "theatron" mean?
2. "Drama" comes from the Greek dran, which means what?
3. What are some meanings of theatre?
4. What are the minimal requirements for theatre?
5. When did the rigid distinction between acting and audience spaces come about?
6. What is a repertory?
7. In general, how much time goes into preparing a play for presentation?
8. Which theatrical craft fits the following description? "Technicians execute in proper sequence and with carefully rehearsed timing the light and sound cues, the shifting of scenery, the placement and return of properties, and the assignment, laundering, and repair and change of costumes."
9. What is the producer's job?
10. Who has the responsibility of running a play?
11. What is the process called which turns designs into reality by constructing and finishing in detail the hardware of the show?
12. What does the house manager do?
13. Who provides the unified vision and controls the artistic product?
14. Historically theatre and ______ have a shared history.
15. How do sports activities differ from theatre?
16. In what way is theatre a collaborative art?
17. What separates theatre from other arts?
18. Of what importance was the mask in classical times?
19. What (and whose theory) is the paradox of the actor?
20. Who was the first actor?
21. What does hypokrites mean?
22. An action or series of actions taken for the ultimate benefit (attention, entertainment, enlightenment, or involvement) of someone else is called:_____
23. What is the direct mode of performance? Does theatre use this?
24. What is the indirect mode of performance? Does theatre use this?
25. What is catharsis?
26. What is "willing suspension of disbelief"?
27. Why did the playwright Bertolt Brecht use songs, signs, chalk talks, arguments and slide projectors in his productions?
28. What is the theatre of the fourth wall removed?
29. What two things does an audience look for in a performance?
30. How does a theatrical performance differ from a video or filmed performance?
31. What are the advantages of live performance?
32. How does a theatrical performance differ from a happening or performance art?
33. What is the relationship between the script and the play?
34. What is the meaning of the word "audience"?
35. What is the meaning of the word "troupe"?
36. What is the difference between theatre and drama?
37. Which of all the theatrical crafts is usually executed away from the theatre building and its shops?
38. Why is a theatrical performance sometimes called a "play"?
39. What does the No drama of Japan have in common with early Greek drama?
40. The English word for person comes from the Latin word for_________
41. What has supplanted the use of the mask in the 20th century?
42. Twentieth-century emphasis on verisimilitude had what consequences for acting?
43. How does theatrical performance differ from other kinds of performance?
44. Why is theatre an art?
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