Chapter 5 - pages 135-139 & 146-159.docx

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Department
Theatre and dance
Course Code
T D 301
Professor
Amy Guenther

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Chapter 5, pg. 135-139 & pg. 146-159 THE HISTORY OF THE DIRECTOR • Recent addition to the process of theatre production • Earlier, playwright/leading actor were responsible for coordinating the production and placing the actors on stage • Traditions and conventions = firmly established -> stylistic interpretation not an issue • Historical authenticity wasn’t important • The Director and the Development of Realism o Shifts in theater in Western culture during 19 century o Director fills needs created by:  Interest in more detailed representation of place and character history (movement called realism – putting sense of daily life on stage)  Profusion of theater styles that arose in response to realism o Someone needs to coordinate the production elements of the realistic stage  The Duke of Saxe-Meiningen (1826-1914) • Director of the Meiningen court theatre • Wanted to save theatre from: o Haphazard production practices o Excess of leading actors indulged by the star system, where the whole production was tailored to show off their skills • Actors hired to be part of an ensemble ( a lead in one play could be part of a crowd in the next) • Costumes/settings carefully researched, constructed with attention to period detail • All elements coordinated in unified presentation • 1874-1890: company tours England to Russia (41 plays) • Foundation of realism in theatre  Konstantin Stanislavsky • Most famous and influential director • Psychological approach made actors behave onstage as if they were living the circumstances of their characters’ lives • Director in 1898 with partner Nemirovich-Danchenko, -> Chekov’s The Seagull in Moscow Art Theatre o Recognized a need for an ensemble to create needed rhythm of action and speech, and through this draw the audience in o Also, ensemble with no big star = equal weight of characters • Worked to have the smallest details, from sound of crickets/birds chirping, to actors smoking/walking with a cane • There’s a need to locate the SPINE of the play as well ( central action/idea that draws together all the smaller plot incidents and all the separate character actions ) • Put in a lot of preparation o Many notes of actions and business o Diagrams of actors’ placement o Sketches of settings o Lists of sound effects and properties o Etc. • At first, he was the only one who would “discover the play”; later, he understood that actors also needed to do this, he could tell them what to do only to an extent. The play needs to be discovered by all DIRECTOR AT WORK • Choosing the play o Usually have some choice – tend to choose those they care about deeply/connect with v. well o Most theatre practitioners recognize the importance between the director and script b/c the director needs to interpret the world of the play & can do that best if he can sympathize with it • Director’s Initial Response to the Play o Directors go through a process of understanding the world of the play  Explore the textures, rhythms, images, characters, possible meanings  Characterize motivation, look at paintings, listen to music  Read history AND study thematic developments  BOTTOM LINE: Analytical and intuitive/imaginative at the same time • Creating Metaphors o As Director approaches the play, they begin the process of discovering a metaphor (image that will translate the ideas of the play into a stage language)  A way of expressing the most compelling ideas in a concentrated form = guide for all others involved with production  An analogy/comparison, a symbolic way of expressing the action of the play  Collaborative process with the designers • New production = starts way before involving actors o If production takes a while, designers may work with actors • Directorial images have visual components crucial to designers WORKING WITH THE ACTORS • Casting o Open auditions, or certain actors are invited to read for a play, or if in stuff like Oregon Shakespeare Festival, actors
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