The Unities

Time, Place, Action. What these three words mean to you is so important. For a great concert you need the perfect time. Maybe the best time for you to get off work, make sure it is the right time of day if outside, or you could say the longer the concert the better! Place. Where is the best place for your ideal concert? Concerts don’t work in a boring assembly hall with nothing but florescent white lights and terrible acoustics. You need room to move and breathe, a place built for a superior lighting display, and acoustic possibilities that make the music cut to your soul. Then action. I can imagine most of you don’t want to pay for tickets to a concert where Pink, Josh Groban, and The Dixie Chicks are playing in a round without separation. There is no unity of genre and therefore no unity of action. Well, these are examples to help you understand why Dramatic Criticism makes sense. Back in the day, during the Renaissance in Italy, there were a lot of smart guys writing about this idea. If they lived today they would agree that Josh Groban and the Dixie Chicks don’t belong in the same venue at the same time. They had the same feelings about popular performances of their own during the fifteen and sixteen hundreds. They felt it important for the story on a stage be about events that happened during a 24 hour period of time. Apparently that made it more realistic. They felt it important that the scenes on the stage represented one general location; unlike movies today where one moment you are in the US the next you are in China, they didn’t find that realistic. They also didn’t believe in lots of crazy subplots. A play with more than one core relationship of characters was just not going to work (Wilson and Goldfarb 152). Imagine what it would be like if people writing plays, stories, and songs had to follow those rules today, it would be insane. But just think, they had a reason for it. Like we already pointed out, they were thinking the same way then as you are thinking now about what rules make a good concert. This is called Unity of time, place, and action. Now you know, hopefully this makes sense.

Wilson, Edwin, Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre Sixth Edition. McGraw Hill: New York, 2012. Print.

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Greek Theatre

Bryan Kilpatrick

Professor Green-Rogers

Response 1

 

                                                A little about Greek Theatre

 

                        A more lighthearted style of theatre is old comedy.  Many of these comedies are not known to the world any more. Aristophanes was a Greek guy who wrote comedies and were well documented, as his are the only comedies known to theatre. Aristophanes was educated and had opportunities to experience many was of life and art. We sometimes call this being cultured. His comedies made fun of government leaders and everyday life. Sometimes his comedies would explain human life by telling a story about animals and how animals are just like humans.  It took many people to put on a comedy and many people attended, even government leaders. They would sometimes be made fun of in front of the audience. Who wants to know where the audience sat?

 

Where theatre was performed played an important role to the Greeks. Theatre was a very important part of life and also important to there parties. These parties were called festivals, and the theatres had to be able to hold 15,000-17,000 people. So these spaces were huge. The theatre had a place for the audience to sit and an area for actors to perform.  They also had a place where things the actors needed to use for the show; this place is the scene house. In the scene house costumes and masks were kept.

 

The most important part of Greek costuming was the mask. Every performer wore a mask. The masks they used covered there whole head. The masked allowed the actor to play many characters without the audience being able to tell it was the same actor. Sometimes the masks would even look like animals! The clothing worn by the actors was plain, almost like everyday clothing any citizen would wear. In comedies, the clothing might be worn differently so it looked funny, kind of like how skinny jeans look funny.

 

Theatre was really important to the Greeks and because of what Aristophanes wrote and that the theatres still exist, we can now look back on Greek theatre and see what it meant to them.

 

 

 

Works Sited

 

Willson, Edwin and Goldfarb, Alvin. Living Thetare, pg 26-61.

McGraw-Hill, 2008.Print.

Early Asian Theatre

Bryan Kilpatrick

Professor Green-Rogers

Early Asian Theatre

 

Early Asian Theatre

 

The most interesting part of Asian theatre is that it developed without the culture of Asia having any idea that other places in the world, Greece and Rome, where also performing theatre. There are many types of Asian theatre and they all, Kabuki, Sanskrit, Noh, Bunraku and Kabuki are all very stylized, but the most brilliant style is the Shadow Plays.  

 

            : A Shadow play uses flat puppets made of leather. These figures are intricately carved to create patterns of light and shadow when their image is projected on a screen. Edwin Wilson, Alvin Goldfarb p.109.  The word projection in this context means, light coming from behind the performer and puppet thus casting a shadow on the screen. I had the chance to watch a clip of the ancient art of shadow puppetry, and was amazed at the intricate movement the performers used to create this style of theatre. The performers also tell the story by narration and dialogue. In the video it showed that the music and sound effects were performed by a small band, or by one person.  Shadow puppetry is a lifestyle that the people dedicated to it submerge themselves into. Some people can spend their whole lives learning this craft. As shadow puppetry evolved two other form developed, one using performers in masks and the other using three-dimensional puppets. I find this amazing that this culture respects this style of theatre, as I have found a love for puppetry as well.

 

            Asian theatre is a style and craft of its own. It is elaborate, stylized and to me, exciting. Asian theatre focused on facial expressions, costumes, gestures, and movement. This is interesting to me being that I build sets for the Babcock theatre. Asian theatre focused more on the performance and less on the set. It is hard for me to watch theatre without a beautiful world for the performers to interact with.

 

            Asian theatre seems to be more sophisticated and respected by Asian culture than other styles of theatre in other countries. I find it respectable that a culture can dedicate them selves to a theatrical lifestyle.

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

Wilson Edwin, Goldfarb Alvin. Living Theatre- Fifth Edition. McGraw-Hill 2008. Print

Film  In Class

 

 

The Middle Ages; An Influence You Never Expected

Did you know that the Middle Ages in Western Europe had a pretty huge impact on the way modern societies, theatre arts and farming are ran today!?

The Middle Ages had two “periods”, the early Middle Ages which was from 500 to 1000 C.E and the High Middle Ages which was from 1000 to 1400. The time period of the early Middle Ages are usually referred to as the dark ages because it was thought that not very many historical or cultural innovative contributions were made, BUT NOW, historians believe that the early Middle Ages contributed a lot more than it was given credit for and was the primary influence to the High Middle Ages and all of its glory.

In the early Middle Ages:

-Barbarians overran the Roman Empire and as a result the Roman Catholic church became a sanctuary for many civilians. It also developed a very powerful influence on Western Europe (which included parts of what is now France, Germany and Austria).

– Vernacular languages, those of local populations became more dominant.

– Charlemange became ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 768 to 814 C.E. Under his influence the revival of arts with a greater focus on classical learning emerged.

– Traveling performance groups presented comic, acrobatic  and circus like entertainments. Storytellers, mimes, dancers and singers found their way into the scene as well, but were unfortunately  they were often attacked by church officials. Before the arrival of strict Christian influence, festivals were popular and were staged very well.

So to wrap it up, the early Middle Ages gave Western Europe a good idea and heading for what was to come 300 years later during the high Middle Ages and about 500 years later during the Renaissance. The need for a stable entity (the Roman Catholic Church) emerged giving a much “needed” structure to Western Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.

The high Middle Ages introduced Western Europe to a very similar system that society today finds itself conforming too wither we realize it or not.

In the high Middle Ages

– Society developed feudalism as a means of political organization. At the top of the hierarchy were lords or counts. Second level were vallals or lesser lords and third level  were peasants or serfs.

– Medieval society became the first western culture that did not practice slavery on a large scale.

– The rebirth of towns due to  expansion of commerce and trade began to take place. Towns began to govern themselves that led to a liberalizing of feudalism and possibly to the eradication of serfdom in the fifteenth century.

– Guilds were formed to protect the interest and privileges of common works such as craftsmen, merchants, butchers and weavers.

– The expansion of knowledge became an important characteristic of this time period. Over 100 universities were built in Europe.

So to wrap it up, the high Middle Ages could be considered the very rough, but ultimately the base for what was to further develop during the Renaissance and traveled all the way to the Americas.

Take the time to take a look back at history, it could validate many questions we have about our governing systems today.

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. “Midieval Theatres in Europe.” Living Theatre: History of the Theatre. Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill, 2008. 105-06. Print.

Opera

Opera in the Italian Renaissance

            Most may find it surprising that opera is still around to this day, considering that it is not the most popular form of entertainment for our current generation. Besides the lack of popularity amongst teens, opera is still the highest form of performing art. During the Italian Renaissance numerous public opera houses had been built in Venice around the seventeenth century. This continued to drive the popularity of this art form that was once only enjoyed by aristocratic audiences. With the desire to revive classical forms of art during this period, the originators of opera believed that they were reviving/re-creating the Greek tragic style. The reason they felt like they were re-creating that style was because of the use of music combined with drama. It also seemed to be the same tragic style because the first known operas were based on Greek mythology and ancient history, much like the Greek tragedies.

The dramatic quality of opera could help make this art form a form of drama but the fact that operas are completely sung defines the art form as a study of music. This is determined by the fact that the dramatic action, mood, and characters are all created through song and music. The stories of these operas would very from myth to history to contemporary fictional and worldly current events. Though opera is considered a different form of art and separate from the dramatic art such as stage acting and there is still some theatre that incorporates operatic elements. This form of theatre is musical theatre and includes shows such as Porgy and Bess, Sweeney Todd, Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, and (a personal favorite and an obvious reason why it can be considered an opera) Phantom of the Opera. These shows use sung dialogue (recitative) instead of just straight speaking dialogue that drives the dramatic action. The operatic styles of the songs are those equivalent to the arias in the traditional opera. It is because of these musicals that opera still has an audience in this modern time.

 

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw Hill, 2012. 134-135. Print.

Missing Out

 

Looking for something new to do? Bored with the standard movie/dinner date? Want to do laugh your ass off? GO TO THE THEATRE! If you haven’t your missing out. I know what you’re thinking. “The theatre is a washed-out, boring, waste of money for old people.” Well, you’re wrong. Take, for example, Commedia Dell’arte.

 

Commedia Dell’arte is a form of comedy based off of stock characters and improvisation. Stock characters have stereotypical personalities that have been used throughout time. The miserable, old and rich villain, the know-it-all doctor who can never be wrong, the lovers who can’t live without one another, the foolish and silly servant: these are all examples of stock characters that are around even today. What makes stock characters so appealing is the fact that they are based off of real life. Commedia Dell’arte is strongly humanist. It puts an emphasis on reality and realism. Stock characters are exaggerated forms of people that you actually know. Think of all of the people in your high school. Most likely there are teachers whom you assume are out to get you, brainiacs who seem to know everything, couples that are inseparable, and the odd geeks who seem to serve the popular kids. Now imagine all of these people from different cliques and social classes interacting with one another on stage. Funny, right? That is exactly what Commedia Dell’arte is. These characters are put in a certain comical situation (love triangles, miscommunications, etc.) and simply react to it with their standard personality using improvisation. That means the dialogue they use is not scripted or written out for them. Based on their character, the actors literally create the story through their own words. By using improvisation the humanistic element is emphasized even more.

 

Still not convinced about the situation humor of Commedia Dell’arte? Then chances are the physical humor will sell it to you. The term slapstick comedy actually came from Commedia Dell’arte. Originally there were actually sticks that made a loud sound as they came together highlighting the violence of the show. These sticks transformed over time and now refer to “ comedies emphasizing physical horesplay” Whenever you see comic violence such as the epic chicken fights in Family Guy, it comes from Commedia Dell’arte.

 

If all else fails, taking a girl to the theatre for a date is sure to impress!

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. Sixth Edition. New York: McGraw Hill , 2012. 138-139. Print.

 

 

Let’s Go To The Opera

Never been to the theatre? Well, let’s go to the opera! The magnificent thing about the opera, is that there is so much beautiful singing. Not only are there dramatic operas, but there are also historical and mythological operas as well. An interesting fact, in the late 1600’s, a man named Alessandro Scarlatti created a thing called the aria. What is an aria you may ask? Let me tell you. An aria is a solo song accompanied by an orchestra, and sometimes included duets, trios, or quartets. An aria is something called a recitative, which means the dialogue is sung. The interesting thing about the opera is that it is the only popular art form from the Italian renaissance that is still kept alive today. So, you know it’s going to be good. Operas were one of the only types of theater in that time period that included singing. There is a live orchestra, and many characters throughout. Operas became very popular in the renaissance and began to spread quickly to France, Germany, and through most of Europe. In France, they began to add ballet to enhance the performance and included textual clarity. Though opera may sound boring, it is not! There are so many wonderful aspects that are unique about operas. Not every form of theater is the same, and opera stands out substantially. Opera is the only art form that focuses the majority of the show on music and singing. There is little to no text, or spoken words, incorporated throughout the show. Many shows today are operas, believe it or not. Today though, there is a modern twist. For example, we now have rock operas. Rock operas still have little to no text included, have live orchestras, and include arias. The difference is that there really aren’t any operas today that focus on historical facts. Like “The Who’s Tommy” is about a boy who goes blind and deaf, but is a star pinball machine player. That would have never been a storyline back in the renaissance period. It is a magical experience to sit through an opera, and is highly recommended. Let’s go to the opera!  (Wilson 134-135)

 

 

 

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012.