Aristotle (Poetics) : 6 Elements/Principles
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Presentationalism vs. Representationalism
· Drama is a mix of both.
· 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).
super-objective and/or through-line of actions (Method)
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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. 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.
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).
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.)
Given circumstances Stanislavsky's term, describing the situation of a character(s) at the scene, which actor must construct in his exposition.
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.
"MIMESIS" -- Drama is an "imitation of an action."
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 charcters and their environment.
Objective being the aim or goal.
Obstacle something which stands in the way of one's progress, that delays or retards progress.
Pre-acting Meyerhold's definition of a performance stage before any acting cycle.
Prompt book A book of the play containing business, blocking, cues and plots needed for dramatic presentation; e.g., director's book, play book, stage manager's book.
Performance A human activity, interactional in nature and involving symbolic forms and live bodies, which constitutes meaning, expressing or affirming individual and cultural values, meaning "to complete" or "to carry out thoroughly," execution, accomplishment, fulfillment; show. The performance event is the embodiment or enactment of the text--usually a collaborative endeavor involving one or more performers, text, audience, context.
Plot The sequence of events in a play, differs from the "story," which encompasses earlier events (multi-plot stories).
Post-modernism is generally characterized by stylistic "quotation," an invocation and disengagement from history and the fragmentation of artistic surface.
Properties set and props.
Realism a theatrical practice valuing direct imitation, concerned with psychological motives, the 'iiner reality," and less committed to achieving a superficial verisimilitude.
Resolution Last part of a play, in which the act or dramatic process breaks into resolving previous conflict and determines as to future action.
Role a part, or character, that an actor creates in a performance. Role is the basic ingredient of work in drama. When the actors assume roles in a drama, they are acting "as if" they are someone else.
Scene complete action between more than one actor (and audience).
Scenic unity the practice of harmonizing acting style, costumes, and sets to creat the illusion of a single, unified environment on the stage.
Stagemetrics system developed by Meyerhold to measure space and time on stage.
Script The text of a dramatic work.
Script Analysis The critical interpretation of a script for the purpose of achieving an understanding of it.
Self, selves a single, autonomous being seeing as a unity of multiple selves within any individual person (see Inner Conflict).
Set design A visual representation of the form and arrangement of scenery and properties.
Situation position or condition with regard to circumstances, the combination of circumstances at any given time, a difficult or critical state of affairs; any significant combination of circumstances developing in the course of a play. The objective conditions immediately affecting an individual.
Spectator single member of the audience.
Stage business Small actions performed by an actor without moving from one place to another.
Stage manager's book The planning book developed by a stage manager to facilitate management of a dramatic presentation, including scene breakdowns, entrance and exit cues, lighting plots and cues, sound cues, etc.
Stage movement The purposeful movement of an actor on the stage.
Story a life of a character behind the plot.
Subjective Time sense of time created by actor.
Sub-text the complex of feelings, motives, etc. conceived of by an actor as underlaying the actual words and actions of the character being portrayed; an underlying meaning, theme, etc.
Stanislavsky, Konstantin Russian-Soviet director (1863-1938), founder of Moscow Art Theatre and method of training for psychological realism.
Structure formal systematic arrangements.
Style forms of organizing space and time.
Symbol Something which stands for or represents something else. Broadly defined, dramas and collective creations are symbolic or metaphoric representations of human experience.
Tableau A still image, a frozen moment or "a photograph." It is created by posing still bodies and communicates a living representation of an event, an idea or a feeling.
Tapping-in A means by which those individuals represented in a tableau may be prompted to express their response to that particular moment which is captured in time and space by the tableau. The teacher places a hand on the shoulder of one of the students in role in the tableau and poses questions which are designed to reveal the actor's thinking about the situation represented by the tableau.
Tension The "pressure for response", which can take the form of a challenge, a surprise, a time restraint or the suspense of not knowing. Tension is what works in a drama to impel students to respond and take action and what works in a play to make the audience want to know what happens next.
Text oral, written, gestural, or combination of these, repeatable and capable of having boundaries around it, separating it from other external features.
Theatricality a combination of stage languages used for dramatic, performance events.
Theme A consistent kind of meaning.
Time dramatic (subjective), made out of "real time" by performers.
Verisimilitude refers to the extent to which the drama appears to copy the offstage reality.
Well-made-play a form of drama where the plot usually turns on the revelation of a secret and includes a character who explains and moralizes the action of the play to others; the plot is often relentlessly coincidental.
Writing in role Any written work done in role (for example, monologues, family histories, letters, newspaper headlines, etc.)
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