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Drama 205 Lecture Notes 2013

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Queen's University
DRAM 205

Drama 205: Theater in the Age of Film January 15, 2013 1. Realistic Storytelling: Realism or Naturalism Realism  Kind of a response to romanticism  The realist say—this does not actually happen in real life, people all people aren’t good looking, everyone isn’t related to royalty, and it does not deal with the real world and with each other  Every day life  “Believable” plot and characters  Psychologically motivated – actually human behaviour is different than Hollywood human behaviour (exaggeration of how teenagers behaviours), teens come along, and think that’s how teens behave and meet the Hollywood standard  Linear time progression  Predominantly representational Naturalism  Uses detailed realism to suggest tat social conditions, heredity, and environment had inescapable force in shaping human character.  “ Naturalism also attempt to determine “scientifically” the underlying force influencing the actions of its subject.”  Look at slides “Holding a mirror up to nature” How are we defining ‘Nature’? What kind of ‘Mirror’ are we using? There are ideas about doubt and certainty in Doubt. We interpret the ideas of the paly. But what was your Experience of the play? What was your experience of making sense of the play? January 22, 2013 Brecht and Theater of War Concepts  Aesthetic Distance  Appropriate belief Stance  Suspension of Disbelief Verfremdseffekt  Epic theatre approach  Tragic Virtue Aesthetic Distance  Consider what it means in the theater to have an entire world on a stage ex. When you look at Lord of the Rings the are creating an entire world  Cognitively: There isn’t a lot of differences between watching an actor make a sandwich and watching an actual person making a sandwich. Cognitively there is not difference between the two sandwiches, but rationally we know that there is a difference  Rationally: We know the different between a kiss on stage that happened, but is not real  Cognitively there is not much difference between theater and the real world  Knowing that it is art, and being able to observe it as such is about Distance  The Distance is between the actual world and the aesthetic object  That distance cab be great or small ex. Wresting has a very blurry line  DISTANCE and FICTION  Sometimes the distance is a result of fictionalization, and sometimes the fictionalization reduces distance  Sometimes fictionalization establishes distance, but also reduces it ex. CSI and Criminal mind ex. You never strop realizing it’s a movie, but you fall into the world of the story  Realizing that something your observing is a work of art, it was meant to be observed and that give enough distance to realize that it is mean to be watched  What is the experience?  What kind of distance exists in Realism and Naturalism? Appropriate Belief Stance  FICTIONAL and ACTUAL world  Story telling involved and interplay between both  World A id out world. Worlds B thru infinity are embedded fictional worlds. Ex. In a fictional world the character is in the theater world, in the actual world the actor is on the edge of the stage and we worry about him falling off Suspension of Disbelief  Falling into the fiction is about disbelief  The actual world part of our minds then, approaches theater (when we know it’s theatre) with an inherent Disbelief that is the result of aesthetic ex. A movie based on a true story, we know the actor did not actually do what they are playing, but we choose to believe that it’s true  Willing suspension of disbelief (disbelief is crucial) Verfremdungseffekt  Sometime called Brechtrian Alienation  Not to be confused with Marxist alimentation of the Individual from labor  Marx: You can make a sweater, and get paid to make the sweater, but that sweater does not serve you immediate needs of self-interest  The V-effekt serves to alienate you from the fiction  We acre reminded that this FICTION is actually a story occurring in, and commenting on, the ACTUAL world  We are reminded of the presence of storyteller, who may have a different attitude than the characters,  The fiction is re-aestheticized as the DISTANCE is increased between the fiction/illusion/fantasy and us  Brecht was deeply suspicion of Realist, Aristolean Theater  Fantasy is a problem because it removes use from the actual world ant is issues Strategies for V-Effekt  Scene “titles” that subvert suspense so that we watch the journey rather than await the outcome  Commentary and direct address  Reveal the elements of production  Fable/fable (setting Is past, subject is present) ex. We are told that mother courage is going to lose her son before it happens, so instead of waiting for the suspense of If she can save him, we watch what she could have done different  The story is not about the characters and what they learn; this is about US and what WE LEARNED  This is not strictly realism, although its adopts a realist approach to presenting character and action ex. Mother courage does not learn anything in the end, but WHO CARES, what is important is that WE LEARNED, because we are real and are the ones walking about out into the real world Epic Theater  A theatrical movement/style  Non-Aristotelian/ Non-culinary  “Dialectical” Theater  Audience should always be aware it is watching a play  Anti-illusion?  Thinking about the production as an actual world object Epic Scenography (we know its fake)  A different approach to : Realism and Illusion  “Simplified, non-realistic scenic design offset against a selective realism in costuming and props”  Use of captions and titles  Direct addresses Epic Plot Structure (dramatic structure and world view)  Considering plot structures:  Doubt is a linear, progressive plot structure  Questions: what worldview is reinforces by that plot structure?  Question: Considering Epic structure; how does it relate to Brecht’s world view? Approached to structure  Linear  Episodic Epic Actors  Bechtian Characters  Moral montages  Can seem psychologically inconsistent between episode  Likeable and unlikeable  Characters are person and as ideas  Character and “realizations”  Realization that solve the problem do not happen in Brecht ex. The guy who decides not to get on the plane because he loves his best friend  Berchtian Acting  Revealing the distance between the actor and the character. Demonstrating that the artist have an ATTITUDE towards the material  But also, encouraging the audience to think about that attitude ex. Mother courage has an option on the war, but the play itself does not agree with her view What is important about Brecht For 205? January 29 , 2013 Concepts  Representation and presentation  Abstraction  Theatre is a Poetic medium (suggestions and Reproduction)  Symbolic Scenography Representation and Presentation  When seeing something original that is not seen in the real world, we are being presented something, so a dance recital is a presentation. In a modern doctor dance pieces, the doctor’s character is representational, but the movement is presentational Ex. Kermit the Frog has representational aspects, of both a frog and of human behaviour; however the ways that he contorts his face are on a presentational level  Photograph is entirely representational, a painting can be almost completely representational, the more abstract the photo get s the less representational, and more presentational it becomes Is popular theatre more representational or presentational? Is popular film more representational of presentational?  Representation Theatre is a Poetic Medium  It’s all about the idea of suggestion ex. Kermit the frog does not represent the idea of a frog or a human, he suggest it  To reproduce or to suggest, you can suggest emotional sates, the real world, a relationship, what invited is our own experience of relationships to interpret the work Abstraction  What does it mean to be Concrete?  Fuzzing it up ‘Filling in the Blanks’  An abstraction is the opposite of concrete, it is ambiguous and invites you to fill in the blanks, but making something more ambiguous, my deconstructing something, you are removing detail and create  The Grotesque (a strategy for abstraction)  How is theater a poetic medium?  Analogic modes of communication, Semiotics Symbolic Scenography  Stage poems  Brecht- Social Reality  Beckett- Poetic reality. Existentialist?  Not entirely. He’s talking about existence, though. And he doesn’t seem to believe that there’s anything out there  “His plays deal with the subject of despair and the will to survive in spite of that despair, in the face of an uncomprehending and, indeed incompressible world.” Beckett “ideas;  Expereince of Time  Tranny and Theater  Work. To Endure  Terrible feeling world has gone wrong  Repetition  Does not seek to illustrate the subject but simply presents it Elements of Form  The urns.  The convention of the light/camera  The speech patterns  The disconnected acting style  The affair storyline is cliché and the melodramatic, as the characters’ lines. Right out of a soap opera  Two dimensional character  Rocking Chair  Voice-over: Separation of voice and actor  Repetition with variation  Rhythm The legacy  Exploration outside of plot, narrative, character  Theater as a poetic medium (and staging as poetry)  Undecorated theater  Symbolic scenography  Meanings don’t have to be obvious  Sometimes a negative experience is intentional February 5 2013 Theatricality  Concerns the theatre  Is easily adaptable to the demands of the stage  Aims for an east, artificial, affected, effect on the spectator, which is seen as not very natural  “Staginess: an artificial and mannered quality”  Basically the ideas of artificial, fake, affected, performed  When the theater embraces its theatricality is when it is most effective at its medium How do we feel about theatricality in politics?  Contemporary new media is extremely theatrical  Ex. Cobert Report; overt about its theatricality  When you actually look at the similarities, Cobert report is very similar to actual news reports Theatricality and Realism  There is an implied polarity between realism and theatricality  But also between theatricality and concepts of natural, true, or sincere  What is real, true, and natural is to be measurable  We may understand biologically what is love, but that does not mean we understand what it is like to be in love  What we feel about things is not empirically explainable Theatrical Effect (and reality effect)  “This expression, applies to literature, film or theater when the spectator has the feeling of actually witnessing the event represented, the feeling of being transported nto symbolic reality and faced, not with an artistic fiction or aesthetic representation, but a real even  A naturalistic production, relying as it does on illusion and identification, produces reality effects by covering up the traces of the production of meaning..  In addition to the spectator’s pleasure in identification, and the realty effect provides reassurance that the represented world corresponds to out ideological constructs of it, which are thus perceived as being natural and universal  The lio
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