11/9/17 - Journal #5 On Tuesday, our group began working on our Commedia Dell'Arte sketch. With seven in our group, we had to decide which stock characters we wanted to leave out. After some time, we ultimately agreed to have a pair of Young Lovers, a Magnifico, a Pantalone, and doctor, and a Brighella, and Harlequino. Having learned about Commedia's language, Grummelot, we also decided to add a twist into our sketch by skipping creating a script and instead communicating our larger ideas through our movements and since we are without masks, facial expressions. Our basic layout of a scene was to have two middle school aged young lovers brought into a conference with their parents and the head principal. The two parents would be Pantalone and the Doctor, while two janitors, or Brighella and Harlequino would constantly interrupt the conference for minor excuses such as seeing a bug on the desk and so on. It was difficult for us to start the scene, as we were not sure how we wanted it to unfold, so we had to begin with some distinct blocking and move on from their. After the first time doing the scene, each time we went through it, improvising, but still ending up roughly with the same ideas became easier and easier. I noticed, that each time, it concluded differently, and am interested in finding one ending that we could go for each time. It was also a big challenge to speak in Grummelot the whole time, as it forced us to truly communicate with our bodies. I found this especially difficult trying to understand and communicate at the same time. Hopefully this will become easier, and we will be able to not only communicate to each other but also the absurdity and comedy of our scene to the audience.
11/6/17 - Journal #4 Imagination is a large fundamental requirement in theatre not only for the performers but also for the audience, and others associated with the performance. As a performer, one must use their imagination to round out their character, and make that character come to life by making it their own. They choose how to say their lines, and while they are following their blocking and the script, they must also paint a picture for the audience by showing the lives of their characters. They must make the audience feel how the characters are feeling, and show the audience another world. The audience must use their imagination to step into the world created by the sets, costumes, and actors. Whether that comes with filling in implied pasts of characters, or holding reality when it comes to magic and similar instances, it is needed to have the audience fully experience the performance. The stage crew, costumers, set designers, and countless others that contribute to a performance also must use their imagination when coming up with costume ideas, possible set designs, and other artistic elements of a show. In order to have a well-rounded and complete show, all the different parts must come together to relay a coherent story, and in order to do so, imagination must come into play and all aspects of the production must work together. Since I believe that theatre is an experience for both the audience and the performers, and to create the performance, both sides must participate to an extent, imagination is a requirement in order to create a theatrical space.
10/15/17- Journal #3 I think that theatre has multiple social functions, however the most recognizable is teaching lessons. Theatre, being a form or story telling, can be used to teach children life lessons, remind adults of morals, and bring thought provoking ideas to light in story form. In many works of theatre, at least one character goes on a physical or some kind of mental journey. That is to say, they begin somewhere, but by the end of the play, they are different from who they were at the start. Some plays model evil or bad characters to not be similar to for people, and sometimes it is the opposite. Either way, the audience is soaking in, and processing the story’s moral or lesson. By changing the setting, and time period, in my practice director’s notebook, I shift the way and context that the audience of my production will experience Lysistrata. Even though having chosen the American Civil War, and changes such as the Athenian women being southern belles exist, the audience will still get the message of the plot and be challenged to think about gender relations and other main ideas of the play. Because of this, the audience, being a part of society, sees the play’s message and by watching the characters experience it, is taught a lesson.
9/25/17- Journal #2 This week as a class, we were introduced to Lysistrata and have been tasked to come up with a different time period and geographical area to set the play. This will become a part of a practice director's notebook for us. When thinking of different wars and times to set the play, I initially thought about World War II, and was excited thinking of the costumes and such. However, I could not come up with a solid project from the conflict. I then thought about other wars and conflicts that involved the US, and decided to look into the American Civil War. This would fit nicely into the project, due to the fact that the enemies were close together, and some of the fighting was done in close proximity to southern towns. Since few Union civilians lived or were near the south during the war, the absence of their presence will be similar to the set up of the play as it is in Greece, and the backdrop of a Confederate town will be parallel to that of Athens.
9/18/17- Journal #1 This past week the class looked at Elizabethan theatre and more specifically, technical elements of the stage and sets during that time period in the Globe Theatre. I was particularly intrigued by the use of the stage that had permanent elements such as the inner above and inner below, the heavens, the balcony, and especially the trap door in the center of the main stage and in the middle of the heavens. I am fascinated by the idea that no matter where or when the play took place, the playwright could decide to either use these technical elements or just ignore their existence. When looking into the use of trap doors more and more, I found that with the actual stage being five feet high, the place underneath the stage, referred to as Hell could hold props, and actors easily. Both spaces would be used for actors to enter and exit. One would enter or exit above in the heavens and would exit or enter below in the main stage. I also found that for Shakespeare specifically, he tended to use the trap doors in tragedies either to portray ghosts such as in Hamlet, or witches such as in Macbeth. I think its interesting how historically, theaters were able to portray special effects and mystical elements, without having the technology that theaters have today.