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TPPP Outline

Hi, my name is Madison Williams and my candidate number is 001518-0310.


All artforms are in the service of the greatest of all arts: the art of living.
Bertolt Brecht
Small things can make a big difference
At the beginning of the IB, it was difficult for me to separate all the elements of
theatre- I very much viewed theatre as split into acting and tech
I wasnt aware of rehearsal techniques, such as physicality and how its utilized,
and didn't understand in depth how costume designers, light and sound designers,
dramaturges, tech crew, and devisers fully contribute to REALIZE a performance
IB theatre has helped me to view the practice of theatre as a multifaceted
combination of acting, devising, design, and technical elements
Throughout the course, Ive learned to find value in all topics weve studied,
despite not loving all of them
I understand how small details can make or break performances, and have learned
how to utilize minute elements of a performance to emphasize a particular theme/idea
I understand how many different practices and theories come together to create
the art that is theatre
Three of these facets of world theatre I will be focusing on are costuming and
makeup, African storytelling, and Bertolt Brecht's Epic theatre
Costume and Makeup
Costuming and makeup is my favourite aspect of technical theatre
I chose images that show how many options there are within costuming and
theatre (a full set of makeup brushes, a costume designers workroom) in order to show
the endless creative possibilities allowed in costume
Costume and makeup designers are responsible for creating the visual appearance
of characters in a production
Key in reflecting the thematic ideas realized by the characters
Can be used to embody a symbol, metaphor, or allegory
Reflect mood and atmosphere
Establish the role or importance of characters
Reflect status, occupation, age, gender, and other facets of
character
Underline plot development
This is shown through:
Color symbology
Reflection of time period (time accuracy)
Texture and use of different materials

Ability to create movement (restricting fabrics vs. loose and


flowing)
Grotesque or traditional makeup (to reflect character)
In IB theatre Ive had the opportunity to learn how to utilize clothing and makeup
to reflect symbols and thematic elements in many performances
From using random objects found in our classroom to represent costumes for a
wedding party during a Dadaist performance to utilizing conscious visual symbology
during devising work, Ive learned to appreciate costuming and makeup as an important
aspect of reflecting the message and theme of the piece.
Costuming shows and performances both in and out of class has allowed my to
utilize the skills I learned in class in a practical manner.
I was even honored at the Massachusetts Educational Theatre
Guild competition in February of 2015 with an award in excellence in costume
and makeup design for my schools production of MEDEA.
I focused heavily on use of color and historical accuracy in order to
reflect the 1960s Vietnam War era we set the production in. MEDEA and her
savage chorus were very presentational, with use of rich colors in order to
highlight their chaotic nature, but also were made of materials that allowed for
extreme movement. The soldiers, the guards, the princess GLAUCE, and the
Greek chorus had representational costumes, that were designed to be historically
accurate, and allowed for as much movement as would have been typical of each
character; the women of the Grek chorus had costumes that limited their
movement, while the soldiers and guards had costumes that allowed for a wider
range of motion. This reflected something more concrete and real, as opposed to
the somewhat fantastical and unreal nature of the savage chorus.
Ive come to view costumes and makeup as an aspect of theatre
that requires a lot of creativity, planning and effort. This also has influenced me
when I go and see shows
On The Town
In October 2014, I saw a production of the musical On The Town.
Written in 1944, the show was choreographed and had a score written by Jerome
Robbins and Leonard Bernstein respectively. ON THE TOWN is the story of a three
sailors on leave from their ship, who want to squeeze as much fun into their 24-hour
shore leave. All three men quickly meet and connect with a different woman, and hilarity
quickly insues when problems arise on their dates, with many forces trying to force the
couples apart.
Robbins and Bernstein are known for shows that
I was extremely impressed with the costuming utilised historical accuracy was
on point, and the color symbolism was very strong, as well as allowing for movement

After the show, I actually had the opportunity to talk to the actors,
who were able to give me some information about the construction of their
costumes
The sailors' costumes, as most everyone else's, were made of a
cotton-polyester blend that reflected both their ranks in the navy, but also allowed
for easier movement in such a movement heavy piece
I was also very impressed with the extreme physicality
The musical integrates dance into its storytelling: Robbins made a
number of ballets and extended dance sequences for the show, including the
"Imaginary Coney Island" ballet.
The actors were all trained in dance, which showed even when
they were not actively dancing, and it made their movements flow naturally
In this particular picture, it's from the Imaginary Coney Island
ballet sequence that lasted about fifteen minutes, and the physicality completely
engaged the audience
The use of music and movement, combined with the strong
costuming reminded me of African storytelling
Why The Cheetahs Cheeks Are Stained
African storytelling originated from griots, or storytellers, recounting traditional
tribal stories and acting as a living history book for the village
Is an art that's even more ancient than theatre, and is still practiced widely today,
not only in Africa, but worldwide
African storytelling involves many unique elements, such as repetition,
physicality, use of costumes and/or makeup, use of rhythm and/or music, and audience
interaction
In our performance of "Why The Cheetah's Cheeks Are Stained", a traditional
Zulu story, we utilised heavy makeup to emphasize the story of a mother cheetah whose
baby was taken away from her by a hunter, and her tears caused the dark splotches that
are unique to cheetah's
Dan's smearing of the makeup helped to tell the story, as well as my own makeup,
as the hunter, separating me from the other two people in my group as a human as
compared to animals
African storytelling helped me not only to utilise my skills learned about the
functions of costume and makeup, as shown by Dan, Rose, and myself, but also to
explore physicality
Physicality is a huge part of African storytelling in that it shows how the griot
physically embodies each character they play, and reflects age, status, gender, similar to
how makeup reflects this as well
I'll go into a little more detail about physicality
Physicality

Physicality is my least favourite aspect of theatre. I absolutely do not like it.


However, when studying physicality in different practices, I didn't let my personal
opinions get in the way of my learning
Learning about physicality has helped me to appreciate all aspects of theatre
studies, and to find the value in activities that aren't my favourites
Physicality was extreme in "Why The Cheetah's Cheeks Are Stained"
As someone who has dealt with a lot of self-esteem issues, this was something I
had not been comfortable been with in the past, but having studied the merits of
physicality, I was able to successfully utilise it in performance
I understand now how physicality helps the actor embody the character, creates
tension, and engages the audience in the story
Huge part of African storytelling, and I wish that I had seen On The Town before
learning about physicality, because I would have understood how movement and
physicality can be utilized in many types of performsnce, not just specifically one
Physicality is not only a huge part of African storytelling, but of Brecht's Epic
theatre as well
Brecht Quote
This quotation from Bertolt Brecht is definitive of his opinion of theatre: change
is inevitable
Brecht developed his concept of Epic theatre in the 1920s and 1930s, taking
influence from Marxist revolutionaries, and wanted drama to be "a vehicle for tactical
didactism"
Epic theatre became a forum for political ideals and was a direct reaction against
traditional realism
Brecht's use of breaking the fourth wall, placards with messages written on them,
obtrusive costumes and makeup, use of the "gestus" (Brecht's theory around physicality,
the main point being that extreme gesture and physicality should be utilized to reflect
symbolism or thematic ideas), use of loud music and songs, and audience interaction
contribute to the core of Epic theatre
The V-Effekt is the effect of "making strange"; Brecht believed that audiences
should NEVER suspend their reality when watching theatre; Brecht hated Stanislavski
and realism, and completely rejected their concepts in order to force his audiences to
Studying Brecht showed me how theatre can force observers to examine their
"picture of the world" and how technical aspects of theatre contribute to creating this
change.
Costume is a major contributor to this, and grotesque and "unreal" makeup
combined with distinctive costume pieces that take the idea of concept reflecting
character even further (Brecht often had actors in neutral black clothing with only a few
distinct costume pieces such as a hat or a mask or brightly colored shirt in order to
emphasize social class, gender, age, or other aspects of character)

I found costuming in Epic theatre to be particularly interesting because Brecht and


African storytelling utilise extreme costume, but while in African storytelling costume
and makeup is used to immerse the audience in the story, in Epic theatre costuming is
used to shake the audience out of the "lull" that is realism
Brechtian theatre has been my absolute favourite thing I've done in theatre:
political theatre has been a concept that I have grasped on to, and my study of Bertolt
Brecht has inspired me to major in political science as well as continuing my theatre
studies at university (I'm basically majoring in Brecht, let's be real)
Studying Brecht had also shown me how many small elements of theatre can
contribute to engaging the audience without pretending that what they see on stage is not
relevant to their own lives
Run, Comrade
This sums up how Brecht viewed theatre: he was always looking ahead to the
future, wanting to create social change
A slogan from the rebellions in Paris in Mai Mille neuf cent soixante hutre
(1968), Brecht would have been all over this quote
Brecht focused on encoding social change, and grasped onto a dream of change
that was yet to come
Theatre is a constantly evolving art form; that is not to say that traditional
elements (like African theatre) are not useful in order to create new theatre, it is
important to understand traditional elements and learn how to utilise them in new creative
ways
That is the basis of theatre for me: small things, such as changing physical
position or lipstick color or playing Beethoven rather than Bach, and how these little
changes contribute to the thematic idea and or/symbolism in the performance
The skills I've learned in IB theatre throughout my study of costuming and
makeup, African storytelling, and Epic theatre allow me to utilise symbolic
representations, physicality, color, and sociopolitics to understand the importance of all
aspects of theatre, but also to be constantly thinking creatively and to be always
interested in creating more
All artforms are in the service of the greatest of all arts: the art of living.
Bertolt Brecht
I end.