Theatre Today & Theatre for Me
Theatre, as a genre of creative expression, is still very much valid in the 21st century. It originated thousands of years ago, and still draws crowds in the 21st century around the world. Many of the classic plays of many cultures are still performed, as well as adaptations of other forms (such as films, songs, etc.) are transformed into plays that interest and captivate audiences. Of the plays we read in the course this term, I was able to find value in all of them, but I did not personally enjoy all of the plays.
Theatre today is sometimes based on historical events and figures, as well as new takes on old ideas in modern forms. Many plays are period pieces, and in many cities, such as New York City and London, there is a proliferation of one-person plays (one man show, or a one woman show). Theatre today connects audiences across cultures and time, and this is one aspect of theatre that appeals to me. I appreciate theatre that is stylized and inventive. Though I am interested in classic plays, many young people and young adults do not have the same tastes or even have the attention span or interest to sit through a play by Chekov or Shaw, for example. Therefore, theatre for me, the theatre that interests me the most, is theatre that is both modern and classic, that draws older crowds and draws younger crowds.
A friend from another college was in a production of "Arcadia," so I was already familiar with this play. Tom Stoppard has a distinctive and famous style when it comes to his writing, but overall this play did not speak to me personally. Of course, I was interested in the play by Albee because he is a notable playwright, so I was able to maintain interest based on my previous knowledge of his works.
"Doubt" and "Wit" were the most interesting plays in the class for me. These plays truly represented what theatre is today and what theatre is for me. There was a synergy of elements in these plays that truly interested me. The characters were very interesting and relatable. I additionally enjoyed the subject matter. "Wit" was an amazing take on the experience of a woman with cancer -- there are many women living with and dying from cancer. Unless…… [Read More]
Most of Fugard's plays stand as a proof of reality reflected in theatre as an art of real life. Athol Fugard's play My Children! My Africa reflects a cruel reality of his times: South Africa's dehumanizing system of apartheid laws that denied freedom to blacks. Worried that his country would never live in peace, Fugard wrote the play in hopes that the polarization between blacks and whites would end and world will know peace, freedom and understanding between each other. The play is based on a true incident and gives good insights into the situation in South Africa.
My Children, My Africa" is inspired by real events and describes a teacher's attempt (Mr. M) to bring understanding between two of his students: one is a middle class white girl - Isabel - and the other one is a brilliant black boy - Thami - who grew up in Coketown ghetto. The path toward understanding each other is marked by pain, but in the end brings respect and acceptance between the two of them.
This humane and dedicated teacher who believes in the power of ideas, not stones, inspires the minds of the enthusiastic white schoolgirl and black schoolboy and changes their lives forever. The play is a "timeless and powerfully poetic work about race, justice, fundamentalism, freedom, and self-knowledge," themes that we can find in many plays performed on theatre stages around the world.
Watching a play performing on a stage can determine us reconsider, doubt or confirm our opinion, goals and philosophy of life, searching new answer to new questions. Theatres are aimed to create values in society, educate audience and encourage positive social change. In the effort to react imaginatively to current events, theatre productions often acquire subtle connections to current political and social issues. Fugard was fascinated about "the living experience" in plays performed in theatre: the actual, the real, the immediate, there right before our eyes, like a scene from real life. A real good play is the one which creates…… [Read More]
Theater of the Opressed
History of Theatre of the Oppressed: Critique of the Community Theatre as a Means of Empowerment in Social Work: A Case Study of Women's Community Theatre
Similar to institutional and professional theatre, community theatre uses a combination of mime, ritual dance, song and drama as a means of communicating messages, knowledge and ideology to the audience (Mulenga, 1993). Nonetheless, community theatre does not purport traditional theatrical components and professional stage production. Rather, this kind of theatre reportedly takes inspiration from the community's life story (Erven, 2001; Mda, 1993; Miller, 1979). In this way, common communal issues are brought to the forefront bringing those who participate as actors or audience members into the "socio-political arena" (Boehm & Boehm, 2003).
In Boehm and Boehm's 1993 article, "Community Theatre as a Means of Empowerment in Social Work: A Case Study of Women's Community Theatre," the authors posit the general acceptance of empowerment as a social work construct (Guitierrez, 1994; Jackson & Morris, 1999; Rappaport, 1987; Rose, 2000; Solomon, 1976). Although many themes have been posited as to what empowerment entails, a widely accepted construct is the raising of consciousness and the development of critical thinking skills (Lee, 2001). Moreover, one of the reported goals of empowerment is to aid oppressed groups who have suffered systematic disenfranchisement and loss of power to develop a greater understanding and address the role of powerlessness in maintaining personal as well as societal problems (Itzhaky & Gerber, 1999).
Boehm and Boehm maintain that community theatre supports the principles of empowerment on many levels including personal, group and community (2003). As evidence of the posited theory, researchers conducted a case study of six women guided by a director and a social worker through the process of establishing and participating in community in Israel. According to the findings, participants were empowered by the process through the evolution of the development of the theatre project. Researchers noted significant increases in mastery, critical awareness, inner voice expression, collective empowerment, propensity to act, and self-esteem that according to their findings were a significant manifestation of empowerment as operationally defined. Through the use of qualitative methodology, the women's activities were empowered as a…… [Read More]
Theatre of Dionysus: Athens, Greece
General history about the theater itself and the history of theater in Greece
The evolution of theater in Greece, and therefore, theater's evolution as an art form over the course of early Western history, may be directly linked to the festivals of Dionysus of the land. Dionysus was the Grecian god of wine and misrule. Over the course of performances of tragedy and comedy written and designed to honor this God, all of Athens essentially shut down to observe the literary performed works of its greatest dramatists and judge them in competition, as well as the ribald satyr plays designed for the populace's enjoyment. Much of the history of the earliest period of Greek drama has been lost. But the earliest theater probably took place in the Athenian marketplace or agora. Eventually this became fixated as a site on the southeast slope of the Acropolis. This site was eventually was chosen for a theater dedicated to Dionysus. (Theater of Dionysus, CUNY, 2004)
The first Greek dramas were largely choral in nature. They then took on the form of alternating a chorus speaking as a collective with the individual voice of a singular actor, the first of whom, legend suggests, was named Thespis. He became the spiritual patron of all subsequent thespians or actors. Gradually, the religious elements of theater became more subtly injected into the plots of Greek drama. Drama's ritual elements began to be less important than the elements of character and plot. At the end of this period of history, in later comedies like "Lysistrata" by Aristophanes, the dueling personas of Aphrodite and Athena take on far less importance than, for instance, the drama of the human characters engaging in debates over the morality of war. (Elderkin, 1940)
Architecture of Greek theaters -- a parallel reflection of social realities
It should be noted that Greek theaters, including the theater of Dionysus are not freely standing works of architecture. They are built into hills in amphitheater forms. There were many alterations…… [Read More]
Dimly lit prison kitchen. It is after hours, and only a skeleton crew is on hand: RAY and ANGELA. They are inside the kitchen, but the spotlight is on TOM and GARY, who sit across from each other in the dining room just outside.
TOM: Inmate at Phoenix Prison Complex, serving a life sentence for murder.
GARY: Inmate at Phoenix Prison Complex, serving 15 years for assault and battery.
ANGELA: Kitchen worker, 30-year-old female
RAY: Corrections officer, 28-year-old male
Scene 1: Pizza Night
TOM: Tonight's the night.
TOM: Tonight. You remember what we talked about, right?
TOM: What do you mean, "right"? Well? What did I tell you?
GARY: We wait until 2AM.
TOM: Well what time is it, genius?
GARY (looking at a watch that doesn't exist, as his wrists are bare): I don't know.
TOM (exasperated): What time do you get off work?
GARY: What time did I get off work? Uh, today's Friday, right?
TOM: No, it's Saturday. (shouting) WHO CARES WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK IT IS?
GARY: Because sometimes I work until midnight and sometimes until
TOM: Gary, Gary, Gary, are you nervous? Are you going to fuck this up for us? Don't fuck this up, Gary! Don't screw me over Gary! Because if you screw me over
GARY: I ain't screwin' no one over, Tom. I just lost track of the time, I did. I don't know what day of the week it is. Oh wait!
TOM (looking around, thinking Gary saw someone or something): What? What is it?
GARY: We had pizza for dinner.
TOM: So? So what! What does that have to do with anything, you idiot?
GARY: Friday is pizza night. It's Friday.
TOM: No it ain't, it's Saturday. We don't always have pizza on Friday. I went to class today. I never go to class on Friday because I'm working the license plate factory on GARY: What is it? What is it, Tom?
TOM: I don't know what day it is either, you know.
GARY: You sure tonight's the night?
TOM: Sure, why not? We've got to do it sometime, right?
GARY: Got to.
(Pause in conversation as the spotlight dims on TOM and GARY, and a soft light illuminates the face of ANGELA, the kitchen worker and REYNOLD, the night guard.…… [Read More]
Towards the end of the play, after Argan finds out about the intentions of his wife and those of his daughter, he agrees for Angelique to marry Cleante, the man she really loves, as long as he agrees to become a doctor. Argan's brother has an even better idea by proposing that Argan be made a doctor himself. To this end, he calls some gypies that perform dances and rituals that make Argan a doctor. According to some versions of the play, during these manifestations, the patient suffers from a heart attack and dies.
"The imaginary invalid" is a highly intriguing play, of recurrent notoriety and secular popularity due to the multitude of themes approached. Some of the more popular of these themes include the greed of the principal character, the rivalry between the daughters and the step mother or the pursuit of financial gains.
Greed is one important element that influences the relationships between people. As it has been mentioned before, Argan is a rich man, who affords the services of doctors and apothecaries, but who still pays his bills only in half and complains that he is being robbed. Despite the fact that he disposes of the financial means to pay for his medical services, he still withholds payment, revealing how greed influences the relationships between people.
And furthermore, the patient wishes a doctor in his family -- and the doctor's family with medical expertise -- to also attend on him upon every request. These services would not only be delivered for free, but also at any time solicited by the hypochondriac. The son in law, his father and his uncle would as such become the medical staffs to attend to the patient for free, around the clock.
And in order to attain this objective, Argan is wiling to sacrifice his daughter's happiness, to such…… [Read More]
William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Moliere, brought us so many masterpieces not only valuable as works of art, but also as very important sources of understanding the society in the Renaissance. More important, when reading or wathching these plays, we can understand today the universality of Man.
We are not allowed to forget the Asian theater which bears the stamp of the philosophical and religious ideas and beliefs of the times when it was created.
Up to the 20th century, theater continued to play an important role in every society around the world.
Stages and performers and costumes have constantly changed in theater during the ages, but its role in educating people hasn't. It is one of the best ways be make children understand the "surroundings" worldwide, the best way to entertain them, but also the best way to make the very young start asking questions about civilizations and cultures and history. Once started they will never stop wanting to find out more about the world they live in and about its roots.
That is why theater from the ancient Greeks to our days has and is palying a keyrole in education, everywhere in the world.… [Read More]
English-speaking versions of Hamlet vs. European versions
The many contemporary interpretations of Shakespeare enacted on the modern stage underline the fact that Shakespeare was a playwright for the ages, not simply a man of his own time. However, in the ways in which Shakespeare has been adapted to modernity, it becomes apparent that modern directors are just as intent upon revealing their own personal preoccupations as well as revealing the nuances of Shakespeare's plays. This can be seen when comparing British interpretations with European and other non-English language stagings of Hamlet. Although the most obvious difference between these two categories is that British interpretations are in the original language of Shakespeare while European stagings are enacted in translation, the difference runs far deeper. English productions tend to emphasize the psychological, internal conflict of Hamlet and view the play in terms of its psychological drama. In contrast, European interpretations of Hamlet have stressed the social dimensions of living in a Denmark that is ruled by a murderous king with a secret, a place which Hamlet calls a prison. Shifting attitudes towards 'truth' can be seen in the representation of 'truth' and theatricality in Hamlet in all nations' productions, but the individualism of the English-speaking world has tended to deemphasize the political aspects of the work.
It should be noted that in its original form, the elements of Hamlet had both a political and a personal aspect. Take, for instance, Hamlet's father's ghost, In Protestant Elizabethan England, the idea of a 'ghost' would have been a forbidden concept. "The ghost presents an interesting double bind for the audience, and defines a new type of theatricality. The ghost, in whom the public does not believe -- belief would be forbidden both religiously and morally -- achieves his effect only in retrospect…the ghost, in the truth of his untruth, cannot actually be doubted in the slightest." (Haverkamp 2006: 176). According to the Renaissance scholar Stephen Greenblatt, Hamlet is awash in concerns about what it meant to mourn the dead in an England that had rapidly transitioned from Catholicism to Protestantism. What did it mean to have a ghost asking for revenge in a Protestant country, coming from a purgatory that officially no longer existed? "Purgatory…was at the center of vast web of institutional rituals and customs, and these practices had been forcibly repressed by the Church of England for…… [Read More]
Theater in the Elizabethan Age
The Elizabethan period in England was dominated by intrigue at court (which was a constant) and the willpower of Elizabeth herself, but the various people formed a strata that looked more similar to today than most would guess. Throughout recent history, going back a thousand years or so, society is simplistically divided into three groups: wealthy, merchants/artisans, poor. These three can be further delineated, but for these purposes it is not necessary. During Elizabethan times, leisure became more common for the two lower classes and there was more for everybody to do that was meant for pleasure rather than work. Researchers into the period agree that the theater was a major source of entertainment for all of the different groups, but they do not agree how that was structured. This paper will look at the different classes of Elizabethan theater goers and try to determine how they were influenced both as a group and separately.
The theater crowd was greatly restricted in one way. Theaters were an oddity in small towns and villages; it just did not pay for troupes to travel to a small hamlet, or even a group of them, because they would probably not redeem the cost of their travel.[footnoteRef:1] This meant that the primary place of theatrical endeavor was London even though there were other cities that had some small houses. London was actually very well supplied with playwrights, actors and theaters, but these were often on the outskirts of the town because they were still considered something of a sinful indulgence at the time.[footnoteRef:2] One researcher says that "theaters were generally relegated to the "liberties" -- i.e. To the outskirts of London town, where they kept company with bear gardens, bowling greens, low taverns, and bawdy houses."[footnoteRef:3] For some reason leisure was considered both undignified and sinful. Since most of the people at the time were relatively Puritanical in their belief system, they did not want the theater to be incorporated into downtown London. The fact that it was on the outside also meant that people could more easily sneak off to see a play without their…… [Read More]
theater order variety fortunate today. Because Shakespeare the Globe Theater great
It was quite an experience to watch Shakespeare's Globe Theater Production of Othello in 2007. There are quite a few elements of Shakespeare, and of dramatic works in general, that take on different connotations when they are acted out and presented to the public vs. simply being read. These connotations had both positive and negative effects for both of the media in which a play may be absorbed, either by watching it in person or by reading it. As such, they certainly contributed to a unique viewing of Othello.
One of the several aspects of a dramatic work that is enhanced by watching a play is humor. The laughter of the audience, indeed, the audience's very participation in the Globe Theater's 2007 production of Othello, helped to heighten the viewing experience. Whereas in reading a play one merely laughs at the humor in the monologues and dialogues presented within the work, in proper theater there is situation comedy in which there are no words spoken and plenty of opportunities for the audience to laugh. In such a manner was the audience in the Globe Theater's production of Othello an active participant in the play, as it helped to clue me in as a viewer as to when parts were funny or serious.
One of the drawbacks of watching this play -- in which the military leader Othello's happiness, in the form of his wife Desdemona and his coveted position as general in the Venetian army, is destroyed -- was the actual language, the old/middle English Shakespearean prose/poetry that makes for compelling reading, but which is not easily understood when it's rapidly spoken. In many parts, it was hard to understand what certain members of the cast were saying, particularly during parts of heightened emotion when the characters would yell at each other. The fact that they were shouting (and also…… [Read More]
Phantom of the Opera" -- Recent theater performance
What is all the fuss about? For many years, ever since this reviewer was a child, stories have been spun about the wonders of this tale, of Erik, the lonely and murderous phantom of the Paris Opera tunnels, who falls in love with a lovely orphaned ballet dancer and soprano, named Christine. He mentors her in her music through the mirror of her dressing room until she falls in love with a man named Raul. Erik, the phantom, tries to steal her away forever, but only after Christine takes the starring role in the opera he has been writing for the stage for many years. At the end of the play, he allows Christine to live her own life and leaves the theater.
Since this play has been running for so long, much of the cast's chorus is seasoned, and all of the current performers are replacements for the originals. Many of them appear to be singers by training rather than actors, as they tend to sing to the audience, rather than emotionally interact with one another. The only exception is the woman who plays Christine's rival,…… [Read More]
Shape of Things:
Theatrical Convention from Class: Suspension of Disbelief -- the audience is made to believe that a man or any person for that matter could become so obsessed with a single person that they are willing to completely change themselves, including having plastic surgery and destroying their interpersonal relationships for a person whose only appeal to them is a sexual one.
Potential Convention: Given the subject matter of the play and the heightened emotions the ending portrays at least on the part of one character that I would try to have the actors deliver their dialogue and their attitudes as realistically as possible.
In the Blood:
Theatrical Convention from Class: Pathos -- the audience is meant to feel sympathy for the main character of this play and to understand her sense of desperation and her inability to find a way to preserve herself and her sense of dignity and also support her children.
Potential Convention: Due to the highly tense nature of the play, it might benefit best by containing the setting as much as possible to a single setting, such as directly inside our outside the home of the impoverished family.
Theatrical Convention from Class: The play relies heavily on singular perspective of the dying woman, namely the soliloquy and her direct discussion of her situation with the audience.
Potential Convention: Because of the isolated nature of the character and her disease, the theme of the play would be helped by having her physically isolated on the stage, such as by creating a large space between the main character and everyone else, including her doctors.
Theatrical Convention from Class: Satire -- the play deals with a man's relationships with a goat but this taboo could be any sexual feeling which the society considers to be inappropriate, the goat then serves the purposes of satirizing all taboo relationships and the reasons they are taboo.
Potential Convention: In order to sustain the universality of taboo, it would be a good idea to use not an actual sheep but an apparently artificial substitute.
The playwright's job is not only to tell a story but also to use the medium of the play in order to illustrate an important perspective on life to the…… [Read More]
Blood by Suzan-Lori Sparks expands on the main theme of society's unfair disregard for its people of low condition in general, for women, and for adulterers. Hester La Negrita, the protagonist, is an African-American woman who struggles to survive in poverty along with her five base-born children. The family's outcast status is portrayed as a direct inducer and accelerator of emotional suffering, poverty, lack of education, and sexual exploitation.
(A) From a structural perspective, In the Blood is constructed in two acts and nine scenes, employing a linear plotline (Rush, 2005). In this sense, the play debuts with the equilibrium of Hester striving to provide for her children in meager conditions, the inciting incident represented by the suggestion to seek help from the available former lovers and fathers of her children, the major dramatic question of whether or not she will attain it, the developing action as Hester approaches Reverend D. And Chilli with this intention and is openly rejected by both, the climax when she violently murders her oldest son, and finally the resolution and renewed state of equilibrium as the tragic hero is imprisoned and can no longer provide for her children.
(A) The literary connection to Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is traced through the main characters' identical first name, a recurrent surfacing of the letter A, and also in a clearly visible emphasis on woman's reputation and how mothering bastard children negatively impacts it. It is unspeakably moving, even shocking, to witness the tragedy of a single mother who only wants to care for her children, and is met with cruel shunning or sexual labeling by the other characters.
(B) Histrionics are employed in the silent interactions which occur repeatedly between Hester and the others, and also in the five monologues. Whereas the former serves to accentuate turns in conversation or imply certain meanings, the dramatic confessions are poetically revelatory as they provide crucial insight into the hero's past and connection with the other characters. In addition, the elaborate confessions convey the characters' culpability (B) as faulty…… [Read More]
Most theatergoers are familiar with the poem by African-American writer Langston Hughes, which asks "What happens to a dream deferred?" One of the possibilities offered in Hughes's poem is "Does it dry up / like a raisin in the sun?" This gives the title to Lorraine Hansberry's legendary 1959 drama A Raisin in the Sun, about the attempts of an African-American family to purchase a house in a largely-white suburb. Bruce Norris's 2011 Pulitzer Prize winning play Clybourne Park is, in many ways, a contemporary rewrite of Hansberry's play -- but it seems to explore the possibility that Langston Hughes hinted at in the last line of his poem: "What happens to a dream deferred? / Does it explode?" Certainly Grant Mudge's production of Clybourne Park, now running at Notre Dame University, is an explosive event -- the fireworks fly onstage in the lively impassioned performances by the ensemble cast, and they continue in discussions held by audience members afterward.
Norris' play is, inescapably, about Obama's America, and more specifically about the widespread but contentious claim that America is now a "post-racial" society. He uses the premise of Lorraine Hansberry's original play to show events taking place before and after the aspiring African-American family tries to buy their house in a white neighborhood in 1959. As a result, the two acts of the play feature two different sets of characters, but taking place in the same house. In the first act, we see the story of A Raisin in the Sun told from the perspective of the white characters (one of whom is the only white character in Hansberry's original play). In the second act, circumstances have changed: the neighborhood is now entirely black, but undergoing gentrification. So we see, with some historical irony, a white couple 50 years later undergoing difficulties in attempting to purchase a house in an…… [Read More]
Theatre in Antiquity:
The Romans and the Greeks in a Quest for Entertainment
Entertainment in antiquity was often found at a theater, in the form of a play. Due to the efforts of the Romans and the Greeks in this particular area, we have a rich dramatic culture today. However, as mentioned in the paper, there are basic differences between Roman and Greek theaters. Though both provided forms of entertainment, they did so in different ways. The Roman Theater was often used to prove prowess and authority. Though it included some dramatic plays, this theater, which was in the form of a structure such as the Coliseum, with arches and seating for thousands of people, was often utilized for non-entertainment purposes, such as punishments, combat and executions. This was, again, due to the fact that the Roman society was very hierarchical, and Romans utilized a lot of propaganda to keep this kind of mentality intact.…… [Read More]
(Philadelphia Theater Company)
This year, the magic and the splendor of the Holiday Season would be welcomed by the Philadelphia Dance Theater, which would perform with a hundred artistes, the ever popular holiday season play, the 'Nutcracker'. It must be noted that the very first Nutcracker Ballet performance was given in the year 1892, and it is the story of a young and lonely orphaned German girl named Laura, who dreams of a Nutcracker Prince. This particular production by the Philadelphia Dance Theater Company was choreographed by the 'Artistic Director', Joy Delaney-Capponi, and a very important feature of the play is the profusion of lavish Victorian hand made costumes that the actors on stage wear during their renditions. (100 dancers to welcome the Holiday Season November 12 when The Nutcracker comes to Horsham stage)
One costume in particular is certainly eye catching, and this is the eight feet by ten feet wide skirt that Mother ginger wears during the play, with the purpose of hiding eight children under her skirt during the play. Some of the other dazzling features of the production by the Philadelphia Dance Theater are the 'growing tree', which literally expands from a mere eight feet to a massive twenty feet as the play and the scenes unfold. The fact is that the audience is literally drawn into the story that is unfolding in front of them, and when special effects like, for example, falling snow, fog rolling on to the stage when there is a battle being enacted are added to the show, the effect created is that of a wonderland and a mystical setting that would amaze and surprise the viewers.
The primary dance style in the Nutcracker by the Philadelphia Theater Company is that of Classical Ballet, and at times during the play there is character dancing, with an additional international flavor. For example, sweets and hot chocolate are presented as from Spain, tea as from China, coffee from Arabia, and…… [Read More]
The machines were used to create vertical and horizontal movements which had not been done before. In other words, a god could be pictured using the machine as floating down onto the stage, or boats moving across it. Night or dawn could appear, or ghosts (Lawrenson 92). Most of these machine-plays were produced at the Theatre du Marais. There is a difference here, too. The French machine plays reached the public, whereas the English masques of the early century were performed mainly for royalty. Certainly the stage sets for court ballets and opera were more elaborate and special than the public designs since they were subsidized by the royal coffers.
Both English and French theatre took over the new Italian techniques for changing scenery. The French theatre abandoned triangular prisms used in conjunction with painted backdrops. At the beginning, these were painted simultaneously and dropped over or pulled back to reveal another scene (Lawrenson 85). The scenes or the built stage had all kinds of buildings: castles, fortresses, temples, palaces, mountains, prisons, gardens, terraces, tombs, forests, grottoes, town squares, landscapes, and street scenes were included. Lighting effects were used to indicate day and night, whereas in the English theatre lighting was typically done through natural light, windows, and positioning of the stage in addition to candles (see Graves). Later under the influence of Italian designers like Torelli, the use of flats and prisms allowed the scenery to change (Brockett and Hildy 197). This was the development of the flat wings that slid in grooves in the Baroque theatre. It was a "scenery changing system that differed from the angled wings and revolving wooden prisms . . . This new scenery consisted of a series of flat batten frames, covered with painted canvas and sliding sideways in grooves" (Berthold 420). Different aspects of the wings could be displayed to the audience, giving the impression of a scene change. This innovation increased the spectacle since…… [Read More]
Perhaps there is something deeper to Twilight than anyone is willing to admit. So, then, we must ask ourselves: What are these films about? Is there not something revealing even about the reflections seen in popular culture? Cannot pop culture, therefore, be considered part of high culture? Must it be discarded simply because it is popular? I don't think that it must. And yet there is something distinctly different about the Tree of Life that Twilight simply does not have. One might call it vision or purpose. Perhaps this is the difference between high culture and popular culture. Needless to say, however, at a cinema one may often choose either/or.
Still, Umberto Eco states that "according to traditional standards in aesthetics, Casablanca is not a work of art, if such an expression still has meaning" (Eco 197). This is an interesting observation by Eco for a number of reasons. First, it points out that one of the most celebrated movies of all time is not what traditionalists or high culture purists would classify as part of high culture: it is a pop culture phenomenon. Secondly, however, Eco qualifies his statement with the curious phrase "if such an expression still has meaning." It is indicative of the radical transformation in the way art and culture are now analyzed both by amateurs and scholars, low and high cultures, that Eco should have to add this qualifier. Why might going to the movie theater to see a film by Antonioni be considered participation in high culture? What distinguishes a work by him or Malick from a standard Hollywood studio production? Again, we arrive at the same question. If popular culture scholars are compelled to give such a definition, it may be because "high culture" descended into the ranks of popular culture through the works of such artists as Richard Hamilton, Jaspar Johns, and Andy Warhol.
This idea may help explain why John Storey theorizes that it is difficult to separate popular culture from high culture, since there are many works of high culture that are also popularly admired and thus a part of popular culture (Storey 4). A few examples might be the works of Shakespeare (still being produced into films shown at the movie theater). I remember seeing Romeo and Juliet at the cinema with friends and enjoying it very much (as did a good portion of the world, which made it…… [Read More]
Constantin Stanislavsky is the father of modern acting theory. His theories which he extols in his four books, My Life in Art (1924), An Actor Prepares (1936), Building a Character (1941), and Creating a Role (1961) have had an unparalleled effect on actors and acting instructors throughout the world. Acting theorists such as Vsevelod Meyerhold, Uta Hagen, and Bertold Brecht have all taken his theories into account while developing their own. Indeed, entire movements in world drama have been in part inspired by the work of Stanislavsky.
But what of his influence on Russia? During Stanislavsky's life and his career Russia went through many changes. Two major events in Russian history would determine the fate of theatre and as a result Stanislavsky. The first was the failed revolution in 1905. "The great rehearsal," Lenin called it and that's exactly what it was. The second major event was the 1917 revolution which in part turned Russia into the heart of the Soviet Union.
Konstantin Stanislavsky developed the Moscow Art Theatre in 1898. The creation of this particular theatre was important in that it differed from many of the other theatres of the time. It was a fully professional theatre organization and it emphasized new plays as opposed to older work. Stanislavsky believed that new plays would bring the theatre to life. His theatrical philosophy was that the actor was an educator and that plays were tools of education. As a result the initial work produced at the theatre was not successful. It wasn't until Stanislavsky partnered with a young playwright named Anton Chekhov that the theatre attained any commercial success.
Chekhov's first play, The Sea Gull had been performed once before at the Alexandrisky Theatre in St. Petersburg, but for reasons beyond his control the play failed. When Stanislavsky produced it at the Moscow Art Theatre it was a tremendous success. As a result, Checkov provided the theatre with three more plays, Uncle Vanya (1899), The Three Sisters (1901), and The Cherry Orchard (1904). Each of these plays had political undertones which revolved…… [Read More]
Subscriber Importance to a Live Theatre Venue
The Importance of Subscribers to a Live Theater Venue
Live theater is far different from movies and other types of venues. Unfortunately, people often do not realize that, and they take live venues for granted. When they do not see the differences or realize how live theater productions work, they do not realize the value of supporting these kinds of venues through subscriptions or sustaining memberships (Vogel, 1998). Becoming a sustaining member of a live theater venue is one of the best ways in which people who love the theater and want to support performing arts can do so, and has been for some time (American, 1966). The same is true of subscriptions, whereby people get newsletters, tickets, and other information - often in advance and at a discount compared to non-subscribers. While it may not seem significant, these types of helping hands can add up to significant money over the life of the specific play or production, and also over the life of the entire venue.
Live theater works in two ways. It can be a traveling kind of theater where the group moves from place to place with a particular production, or it can be a more static group, where the same people put on different productions throughout the season or the year. This is the most common option - especially for subscription-style services, but both options are possible. A live theater venue can also have actors and actresses that come and go, but the sustaining memberships and subscriptions are designed to support the entire theater. It may be a small group or a much larger one, but both need help and assistance if they are going to continue their productions and entertain the masses. Unlike a movie, where a great deal of money is raised to produce the project and then it is all made back when people go to see it, a live theater group works on a much tighter budget in most cases. If there are not enough tickets sold for the production, it will not be produced (Vogel, 1998). There will not be money for costumes and sets and everything that is needed.
Subscriptions and/or series subscribers provide a more consistent cash flow for…… [Read More]