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Lecture Notes
Chapter 1:  What Is Theatre?

 

Key Terms:

                    drama

                    Theatron

                    Dran

                    empty space

                    Audience

                    Trope

                    Producing

                    Directing

                    Designing

                    Acting

                    Building

                    Crewing

                    Stage managing

                    House managing

                    Playwrighting

                    Play

                    Art

                    Impersonation

                    Mask

                    Performance

                    Representational

                    Presentational

                    Suspension of disbelief

                    Empathy

                    Immediacy

                    Playwcript/script

              Theatre

              Form

              Idea

              Esthetic distance

              Action (know Oedipus the King as dramatic action example)

              Myth

              Ritual

 

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 Director

 

    Music Director

              Choral Director

              Vocal Director

              Conductor

              Orchestra Members

              Rehearsal Pianist

 

    Choreographer

              Assistant Choreographer

                        Dance Captain

 

    Designers

              Scenic Designer

                        Assistant Designers

                        Graphic Artists               

                        Draftsmen

                        Crew

                                  Shop Foreman

                                  Construction Crew

                                  Setup Crew

                                  Running Crew

              Costume Designer

                        Assistant Costume Designer

                        Pattern Drafters

                        Crew

                                  Cutters

                                  Seamstresses

                                  Running Crew

                Lighting Designer

                        Assistant Lighting Designer

                        Electrician

                        Crew

                                  Hanging Crew

                                  Running Crew (including Follow Spot, Console, Special Effects Operators

                 Sound Designer

                        Console Operator

                        Microphone Operator

                        Live Sound Technician

              Makeup Designer

              Special Effects Designer          

 

    Technical Director

 

    Stage Manager

              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

 

    Actors

 

    Playwright

 

    Composer and Staff

 

    Business Staff

              Administration

              Box Office

              Ushers

              Publicity


 

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:

 

                    Acting

                    Designing

                    Building

                    Running;

                    Producing

                    Directing

                    Stage Managing

                    House Managing

                    Playwrighting

                    Composing

                    Business

                    Administration

                    Box Office

                    Ushering

                    Publicity

 


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? 

 

 

 Concept Questions:

 

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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