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IB Theatre II: Semester Exam

Review of Theatre Concepts

Test Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2008

Structure: Listing, with elaboration

1. 6 Approaches to Developing Character
-list each and elaborate (1 sent: example, meaning,
procedure, etc.)
2. 5 Keys to Performance
-list and elaborate if necessary
3. 2 Types of International Theatre
-briefly describe form/creator and influence on
expansion of theatre in world
4. Definitions:
5. Uses:

Section 1: Six Approaches to Developing Character

There are 11 (12 counting extra credit) here. Choose your favorite 6.

1. Uta Hagen’s 9 questions

-used to create given circumstances
2. Stanislavski’s sense/emotional memory
-uses personal experiences to understand character experiences,
in order to reenact them
3. Stanislavski’s “Magic If”
-objectively considers possible actions in place of character, to
distance actor from character while still considering motivations, etc.
4. James Lange theory
-Actions result in emotions: frown, and you’ll feel sad.
5. Psychological gestures
-poses that communicate energy/emotion of character
6. Improvisation
-create past memories, practice character disposition
7. Past history creation (Stella Adler)
-imagine past experiences (similar to Uta Hagen)
8. Folio (Shakespeare)
-use syntax/structure for character/dialogue insight
9. Energy level
-define character by energy (eg. suspended, vibratory, swing)
10. script/textual analysis
-understand writer’s intention of character
11. Research (for historical characters)
-add historical/social context to character’s life

And extra credit if you add (as a seventh approach): Costume!

Because sometimes the clothes really do make the man.

Section 2: Five Keys to Performance

1. Actors’ Homework
2. Relaxation (Alexander Technique)
3. Ensemble (everybody acting the same play)
4. Meisner’s in-the-moment reactions
5. Step on stage and breathe.

Section 3: International Theatre

Some examples:
1. Brecht- Created Epic Theatre, which employed “alienation effect”
as a way to distance the audience from performance, making them
think about it instead of just enjoy it. Brecht’s theatre was intended as
a social tool to provoke analysis.
It pioneered the idea of theatre in the primary role of instruction
and thought, instead of just entertainment.
2. Theatre of the Absurd – Began in France after WWII, arising from
the idea of disconnectedness and brevity of life. Absurd is intended to
point out, among other things, the lack of communication and lack of
immediacy among human lives: we’re all going to die quickly, so make
it clear and don’t waste time with stupidity!
Absurd was a theatre in which form followed theme: the dialogue
of the plays is as crazy and disconnected as the world it satirizes.
3. Butoh – Japanese “dance of darkness” also arising from WWII. Very
grotesque, usually slow-moving and not always set to music, Butoh
emphasizes the primal connections people have to nature.
By using environment as a catalyst for motion and expression,
butoh brings out a very fundamental aspect of humanity, in order to
satirize or simply emphasize those traits.
4. Kyogen – A branch of Japanese Noh theatre, kyogen is performed
before each Noh play as a sort of “opening act.” It is short and
comedic, whereas Noh is long and dramatic. Kyogen tends to play to
the lower classes, showing servants outwitting masters etc.
This is a very clear example of lower-class theatre prevailing in
popularity, and its plays combined song, poetry, and dialogue in a
unique way.
If you are more familiar with another style, then pick it. Just
remember to do 2!

Section 4: Definitions

1. Stimulus: Anything observed, whether a song, poem, picture, sound,

person, idea, dream, math problem, mailbox, wound, crack in the
sidewalk, news story—anything, essentially, can be a stimulus.
Stimuli provoke inspiration. They lead to reflection, which leads
to a concrete idea, which leads to (hopefully) a piece of art/theatre.
Sometimes their effect constantly changes until performance.

Observation  Stimulus  Reflection  Idea  Creation

2. Workshopping: The process of considering a stimulus, discussing it,

practically playing with it, going home and doing research, and getting
back in a group to work on it some more hands-on, before going back
home for research—that is workshopping.

Stimulus  Groups  Research/Analysis  Groups  Lather, rinse,


Section 5: Uses of Things

1. Morgue: a collection of images/technical thing for the following

-stimuli waiting to happen
-production morgue (research conglomerate, basically)
-resources for an unforeseen future (ooh, a picture of a barn! I
might need to design a barn set one day! I’ll save it, just in case!)
-show-specific (preparation/record of references used for a show)

2. Dramaturg: The person who does all the research for a show. This
guy (or gal) checks up on historical context, general
costume/furniture/prop/light fixture info, while also researching, if
necessary, specific acting needs (like for an unfamiliar form of theatre,
eg. Vietnamese water puppetry, or Brecht). All of their research is used
to make the show as clean and accurate as possible.
Example from real life! Seth Watson was the dramaturg for
Twelfth Night our sophomore year. He researched the meanings of
terms that weren’t defined by the script, and also became our stage
combat trainer/reference for fight scenes (something a little beyond
the realm of normal dramaturgy).
Study this guide and you should do fine! Remember: with
Shakespeare, when in doubt, think dirty. With Mrs. Brooks,
when in doubt, elaborate in sentence form. Good luck!