THE-2000 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Bunraku, Cultural Diversity, Melting Pot

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25 Aug 2016
School
Department
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THE2000-MODULE ONE
VIDEO LECTURES
#1. Welcome & Introductions
Why is theater important/matter?
oHelping audiences and readers to experience a position other than their
own
Develop experience and empathy
oEmbrace identities and express themselves
oOffers a mirror of culture
oPotential for education and social change
Larame project- gay killed
oThink critically and collaboratively
#2. What is theater?
Book focuses more on the performance. Dr. Osborne: focus on theater itself
Questions:
o1. How would you define theater at this moment?
o2. How do theater professionals and scholars define theater? What makes
theater unique?
o3. How do audience members negotiate the theatrical event?
o4. How does theater function in society today?
Question #1
oVery intimate and personal
oThink about what are the elements, how is theater unique from different
froms of art, what isn’t theater
Question #2
oAristotle: original theater scholar
Took theater apart
Book: Poetics (355 BCE)
Poetics is so important it is still being used today
Scientific approach to dissecting theater
How theater began
Believed that all human beings have mimetic impulse/ mimesis
Mimesis: imitation
Humans have an innate desire to imitate called “mimetic
impulse” because of this, theater is universal
When human beings tell stories they don’t just want to tell
stories they want to imitate them and be a part of it
Bob the cavemen- instead of just telling it he
reenacts/shows/performs the event
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Fundamental in all human kind
Little kid/childhood: playing games and play pretend example
of mimetic impulse
oWhat must be present for theater to exist?
1. Actor/performer
2. Audience
3. Space
4. “liveness”/action
liveness makes theater sparkle. Makes it interesting or
exciting
Different movie/television
Forever changing
Live event, can change up a little bit every night
Strong relationship between the actors and the audience
members. Live communal experience
5. Text/arrangement
Idea that a theatrical event must have some kind of overall
plan, such as a script or outline that has a designated ending
Can be less rigid: so outline and have a designated ending
Theater- know how things are going to end
Sporting event- don’t know how its going end. Know it will
end but don’t know how
oDrama vs Theater
Drama: the text. Reading experience. Personal/individual. Fixed
Theater: the text plus the acting plus the design elements plus the
lighting. The whole production. Sensory experience. Communal.
Interpretive. Ever-changing. Drama + everything else
Drama is the skeleton. Theater is the skeleton plus the muscle plus
the skin
oWhat makes theater unique?
Ephemeral
Ever changing
Little bit different every night no matter if it’s the same play
Like a puff of smoke, see it then it blows away
Collaborative art form
Involves all of the people backstage and management and
performers
Hybrid art form
Richard wagner- complete/total work of art
(Gesamtkunstwerk)
oCombines all the different other art forms: music, lit,
visual, set design, dance and movement
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oBecause theater is all the art forms so therefore it’s the
highest art form
Question #3
oAudience members connect with theater
1. Theatrical conventions
2. Willing suspension of disbelief
3. Aesthetic distance
These are very important!!
o1. Theatrical conventions (rules of the game)
Audience walks into the theater accepting
Mutual agreement about what words, gestures, images, and actions
mean, which reinforce the internal logic of the play
ex: color plays a role
oThey mean something
oLove, lust, passion, or violence and stopping
oSouth Africa- red signals morning. US- black. China- red
means happiness and prosperity, brides wear red
Ex: bunraku theater in japan
oAll in black-invisible
oTheatrical convention is that they don’t exist or invisible
Ex: women
oWomen usually played by boys
oWalked into theater accepting the fact that the women
were actually played by boys
o2. Willing suspension of disbelief
Audience agrees to not disbelieve what they see onstage while in the
theater
They agree to accept whatever goes on stage
Bunraku is a good example too
Willing to believe that they’re not there
See it in movies all the time
James bond where he jumps off the mountain
Any super hero where they get powers
Happy to go along with them while they are there
o3. Aesthetic distance
Allows audience to separate themselves from the events onstage and
to recognize that these events are not part of their objective reality
Ex: romeo and Juliet
oDon’t get up and scream and say that they’re dead
because its not really happening
Kids don’t usually have aesthetic distance
Ex: son with firetruck and seeing things on fire on tv
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