Australian Theatre Ruby Moon and Stolen Essay

Australian Theatre Ruby Moon and Stolen Essay.

Contemporary Australian theatre mainly focuses on the reflection of the ‘real’ Australia and communicating to the audience real and modern issues/ideas that respond to the social climate and community. Australian theatre practitioners use various performance styles, techniques and dramatic conventions to help portray their ideas to their audiences and make them feel a particular way to the ideas presented in a play. Without the use of these styles, techniques and conventions it wouldn’t be possible for the practitioners to emphasise their ideas.

Ruby Moon, a mysterious and eerie play written by Matt Cameron explores presentational theatre aspects and elements of absurdism. Cameron has used dramatic forms, performance styles, techniques and conventions such as symbolism, a setting that is everlasting, transformational acting and more. The use of these techniques explores the social and personal issues of suburban paranoia, identity and grief/loss. Cameron uses many elements to portray the ‘fairytale image’. “Ruby Moon is about a little girl who sets off to visit her grandma, just like a fairytale, but never arrives”.

Through this, it shows that Cameron has used elements of other fairytales, but in a distorted manner which challenges the audience’s perception of ‘the perfect story’. Cameron also involves the question of ‘How well do we know our neighbors, especially living in suburbia. ’ “Who would you trust with your child? ” Techniques such as symbolism, metaphors, lighting and sound can support his message of suburbia being the dangerous, eerie place that Cameron portrays it to be The play uses a non- naturalistic style that brings an eerie, strange and disturbed sense to the set.

The set becomes the end of a cul-de-sac know as ‘flaming tree grove’ a symbolic name that creates a visual image of a fiery hell. The set is complete with gutters and storm water drains and a hills hoist sitting centre stage which is an iconic symbol of Australian suburbia. This design emphasis the dead end of ray and Sylvie’s lives as they struggle to deal with the disappearance of their daughter ruby, but aren’t able to move on from their despair, this relates to the Australian social issues that reflects the loss of a child.

Cameron includes props such as a gramophone, telephone, armchair, standing lamp and rocking horse to set a timeless, placeless world that reflects how child abduction is a universal issue that can happen at any time. Ruby Moon’s narrative structure can be described as episodic. This episodic narrative is significant to the character development and to the advancement of the plot through several ways.

The episodic narrative slowly gives away the many paradoxes of Ray and Sylvie, and reveals these two main characters through the archetypal characters such as the spinster, the soldier, the clown, the seductress, the professor, and the teenager. The condensed format of the play allows the audience to grow organically alongside the characters, slowly developing in front of their eyes. It also advances the plot by showing the audience the warped reality of Ray and Sylvie in their own world, and lets them decide different interpretations.

Cameron has used a reference to fairy tales as it suggests the innocence of a childhood in a play where the child is central. How ever fairytales also have a bleak, forbidding and discomforting quality which fits the social issue of child abduction. Fairy tales also have a sense of fantasy and unreality about them which effectively evokes the tenuous grasp that ray and Sylvie have on reality, and also reflects the impact losing a child has on the parents. In a class performance I played the role of Sid craven.

In developing my performance for this character I created the highly physical and theatrical nature of Sids roles as her re-enactments the day of ruby’s disappearance. Through the fast paced delivery, Sids vocalizing of his adoption of several roles such ads the police, ray and Sylvie and the dog and himself, I recognized the heightened theatricality with Cameron employs in order to create the surreal and bizarre tone to the play. Cameron is able to underscore ray and Sylvie’s dislocation with reality and their struggle to come to terms with their despair and grief.

This character also suggests the fear and paranoia which permutes society. This is reflected in his dialogue. Also used the costuming of the blood stained T-shirt , which also adds a sense of paranoia because it may make sid look like he was involved with ruby’s death. Stolen by Jane Harrison, depicts the broken lives of five children; Ruby, Sandy, Anne, Shirley and Jimmy; and in doing so, portrays a myriad of personal experiences of those living in Australian Society.

Harrison does this through the skilful use of dramatic techniques, which are used to convey various personal experiences, such as Sexual Abuse and Personal Identity, and it is through these experiences in which Harrison demonstrates the personal experiences of the Stolen Generation. Ruby is one of the most central characters of the performance, and she is used to portray to the audience the acts of sexual abuse that occurred within Australian Society during 1869 and 1969. Harrsion portrays this abuse and its crippling effects on Ruby’s mental state in the scene Ruby’s Descent into Madness.

This is achieved through a variety of dramatic techniques, particularly, Space, Tension and Sound. As Ruby takes centre stage we see Ruby’s Tormentors looming above her, representing their power over the broken Ruby. . . a series of commands are barked at Ruby, and her movements become frantic and uncontrolled as the commands become sexual and derogative . . . then all that’s left is Ruby clawing at her arm in silence . . . as she re-enters centre stage Ruby stares at the audience as the sound of nails ripping at flesh becomes almost deafening . . . hen the tension is broken as Ruby howls out a barely distinguishable where are you??? . . . Answered with a lonely silence, leaving the audience to experience the loneliness of Ruby as they are forced to confront the horrors that many of the Stolen Generation faced.

Thus Harrison delves into the personal experiences of Sexual Abuse, and conveys these through the use of dramatic techniques. The personal experience of conflicting identity is one that many experience within their life, Harrison takes this concept and manipulates it through Anne and the conflict between her heritage and her family. This conflict is seen in various scenes, but Anns told shes Aboriginal and The Chosen fully explores this idea. In both, space is used to create distinct meaning, as there is a void of empty air between Anne and her adopted parents creating a sense of dislocation or alienation, emphasizing the conflict that Anne faces between who she is and what race she is. The dysfunctional relationship between Anne and her adoptive parents is highlighted further as Mother and Father are looming over Anne, symbolizing white dominance over the stolen generation.

Dialogue is also used to express the experiences of Anne, as her parent’s repeated state we chose you or do you think we made a good choice?. The repetition of such dialogue creates a rift between them and their daughter as it creates a sense of dislocation for the family. Therefore Harrison has utilized the dramatic techniques of space, and dialogue to convey the experiences of Anne’s conflicting identity to the audience. In class we work shopped the scene “unspoken abuse”, which deals with Ruby’s return after her weekend visit with a white family.

In developing a performance of this scene we aimed to emphasize the innocence of the children’s clapping game through the body language, facial expression and voice. At the same time the words of this game allude to the abuse which ruby has experienced while in the care of a white family. “Can you keep a secret and promise not to tell”. We aimed to emphasize ruby’s loss of innocence through her despondent body language and shocked facial expression which contrasts with the joyful exuberance of the other children.

Ruby’s dialogue delivered with out expression suggested her shock, while jimmy’s innocence was emphasized by his line “oh ruby”, reflecting his lack of awareness of what happened to ruby. In conclusion, Stolen has demonstrated how through dramatic techniques, Australian Theatre can stage the personal experiences of the characters. Harrison has aptly demonstrated this by exploring the personal experiences of children from the Stolen Generation and in doing so helps expand the audiences understanding on their lives.

Australian Theatre Ruby Moon and Stolen Essay

Australian Contemporary Theatre Essay

Australian Contemporary Theatre Essay.

Australian Contemporary Theatre is a form of Theatre which addresses the concerns and aspirations of Australian audiences; with the use of diverse and complex characters Australian Contemporary Theatre is able to connect with the audience making them reflect and challenge identities. This is shown clearly in the texts Ruby Moon written by Matt Cameron and A Beautiful Life written by Michael Futcher and Helen Howard which we have studied throughout topics.

Australian Contemporary Theatre Essay

Practical Play Analysis Essay

Practical Play Analysis Essay.

Theme/Vision

Guan Hanqing’s Snow in Midsummer centers on the idea of social injustice and human suffering particularly the unfair treatment of poor people during the Chinese Golden Era.  The play must transcend a great sense of oppression as intended by its playwrights to reflect the dark side of the society they were in, as the main character (Dou E) leaves a horrifying curse as her unjust death served as a living proof of how under-class people like her are taken for granted and are short-lived despite living a virtuous life while the evil ones prevailed.

This issue still continues in the modern world so it is important that the story lives up to its purpose of making the audience reflect on the existence of tyranny in the society and what should be done in order to put an end to it.  Every main character’s role should be well emphasized in order to make the message of the story more understandable.

  The characters must be very much convincing to the extent that they are almost taking the audience back to Yuan Dynasty.

An article made by Huo Jianyi, Yuan Dynasty Zaju, tells about how Guan Hanqing himself gave up his profession of being a doctor and chose to serve the public by writing plays that exposed the dark side of the society, particularly the indulgence in wine and women as a way of life especially for the Yuan rulers.  He and his fellow playwrights used their talents and knowledge in exposing tyranny and through their theatrical creations, spoke on behalf of the suffering masses despite the Yuan rulers forbidding it.  The success of this play will be achieved if the same fiery passion is justified by the characters.

Stage Type and Settings

The play is artistic therefore it would be ideal to use a proscenium or picture frame stage.  It is not necessary to use a traditional proscenium stage with its common features like a large archway near the stage front or a curtain in order to close it during act or scene breaks.  It is enough that the stage is raised several feet enough for the audience to see the view of the play while directly facing it (“Stage:” Wikipedia).

As the Snow in Midsummer is a classic play based on a Han Dynasty folk tale (although popularized in the Yuan Dynasty), the prevailing theme should be based on the said period.  The backdrop must contain both unique and artistic images depicting a usual old Chinese scenario like that of a painting.  Images of courtyard houses should be used.  These residences would represent the different social status that coexisted in that period.

Based on Spiro Kostof’s A History of Architecture, traditional Chinese courtyard houses (such as the siheyuan) is composed of several individual houses around a square, where each house is owned by a different member of the family.  Aside from this, more houses can also be constructed for additional family members that need to be accommodated.

There must be a strong sense of tranquility and privacy which should prevail and be maintained despite strong and loud scenes in the play. Garden and water is also a usual feature with these residences.  The outermost part of these residences is where strangers are entertained while the innermost one is set apart for intimate friends and family members of the owner.

Since the title of the play contains the word snow, then winter is another requirement for the play, in fact for almost the entirety of the play.  This should allow an atmosphere of gloominess to dominate the stage, making the literal coldness of winter almost felt and intensified by the cold hearts of the villains in the play.  The snow plays a critical part in this and it should fall dramatically on stage with the proper sad music background going with it.

            Last but not the least, there must be flowers included.  They should either be illustrated in the backdrop as part of the stage props.  Flowers have been a great part of Chinese art just like the dragon and bird illustrations they use in their antique porcelains.  As a whole, the entire stage must become a big canvass of living Chinese art.

Stage Directions

            The director is responsible for bringing out the good quality of the characters’ acting and the stage production.  Therefore he must be focused and fully aware of the background of the play so as to properly angle it.

Directions are made up of details being heard and seen by the audience.  These should be explained well in the script so as not to confuse the director, the actors or even the designers.  The three kinds of stage directions must be considered, namely:  (1) scene directions, (2) staging directions, and (3) character stage directions.

In the script, scene directions are indented at a measurement of 3.5 inches from the left side of the margin and 1 inch from the right.  This indicates the fundamental place and time of the scene with details of the events on stage as the lights come up or become dim (“How to Format a Stage Play”).  Let us take scene one, act one of the play Snow in Midsummer as indicated in the script:

                                                                                    SCENE ONE

(The period was between 1279-1368 A.D.  In a typical Chinese village lives MISTRESS CAI, a widow, who appears on stage with a sign of great anticipation on her face.  She paces at the center of the stage in her long, loose gown with wide sleeves and narrow cuffs.  Then she faces the audience with the same facial expression.)

Second is the staging directions.  This contains the description of a certain scene such as the entrance, exit, and struggles of characters on stage, as well as the changes in lighting effects or musical background.

MRS. CAI:

Where?

(The Doctor strangles the widow with the rope.

Enter Old Zhang and his son Donkey. As they rush

forward the Doctor takes to his heels. Old Zhang

revives Mistress Cai.)

DONKEY:

It’s an old woman, dad, nearly strangled to death.

Last would be the character stage directions.  These are short descriptive lines in parenthetical form sometimes placed under the name of the character.  This shows the appropriate body language while delivering a certain line (“How to Format a Stage Play”).  This particular direction puts more identity on acting.  Here is another example.

MRS. CAI (crying):

Ah, poor child! How am I going to break this to you?

Make up

The characters’ makeup for the Snow in Midsummer need not look like that from a Chinese opera although it may be elaborated to reflect its rich culture.  It must enhance their acting and facial expression.  A kabuki effect is suggested if the production team would like to add a little animation to it and lessening its tragic base.

Dou E and Mistress Cai’s makeup may use thick foundation with a rosy base to show femininity.  However the application must be heavier on Mistress Cai to distinguish her age along with some fake wrinkles.  The eyebrows must be enhanced with a thick black color while the lips are pouty and deep red.

As for the elder male actors (Doctor Lu, Dou Tianzhang, and Old Chang), a yellow base makeup can be used contrasted with a thick pink blush on.  The eyebrows may also be enhanced however for the male antagonist (Donkey Chang), eye brows should be enhanced with an upward effect at both ends.  Once again the appearance of wrinkles should distinguish ages.

Basic Pointers for applying stage makeup

According to Kate Hillard on her article Application of Stage Makeup, makeup is often applied on thick layers. Unlike the movies where the camera can focus on the actor’s face, audiences cannot afford to this kind of facility on stage plays.  The makeup used for the Snow in Midsummer should be elaborate and bright especially with characters representing the high-class society.  There may also be gradual moderation of the makeup for the middle and lower class members but the artist must make sure that it is enough in maximizing the actor’s emotions on stage.  Sometimes even the dark layers of makeup disappear on the glaring lights.

A thick, heavy cream foundation should be applied first which be a little bit darker than the skin tone.  The placing of foundation should be started on the forehead and blended well up to the hairline after which the remaining of the face is covered together with the ears, eyelids, and neck as if this is the actors’ true complexion.  The neck application should also be blended well so as not to create a mask-like appearance.  When it comes to male actors, foundation is applied on the entire neck and back sometimes but this can appear messy.  Following the general foundation, a lighter color is placed over the shadows under the nose and on the chin.

When the foundation is done, the blush would follow.  A rosy color is used for the female actresses but this should be applied on a lesser degree with male actors.  It is spread over the cheekbone and about halfway down the cheek mixing it with a down and up motion.  A naturally rosy tone is needed for male actors while it should be darker for the females enough to maintain its visibility on stage especially under the hot lights.  Blush must also be placed over the nose and forehead where it is very slightly blended.

The most difficult part would be the eye makeup.  A very white “highlighter” is first placed along the brow bone (right underneath the eyebrow) and under the eye.  The makeup artist should make sure to give the surrounding eye areas a lightened appearance without leaving white smears.  Following this, an eye makeup should be placed just above the eyelid, below the brow bone, and also beneath the eye which should be a little darker than skin tone.  This should be topped with an even darker color along the eyelid top through a downward blending which can also be used as an eyeliner especially with male actors.

For women, an even darker and rosier tone that gives the appearance of a natural eye shadow should be placed over.  It should however be more recognizable on stage and should be placed a little above the eyebrow.  A less rosy color is recommended for male actors though not required.  Furthermore, a dark brown or similar-colored eye lining is placed.  Black color is to be used for dramatic roles that need wild makeup. Lastly, mascara is placed on top of the lashes.  In order to avoid or lessen the errors of putting mascaras, it is suggested to make the actor blink after putting the wand on his/her lashes.

Following the eye makeup is the simpler part of putting on the lipstick.  A color that is a little darker than the usual lip color is used for male actors and should be matched with a lip liner.  Either can go first depending on the actor’s or makeup artist’s preference.  The liner should be placed on the outside of the lips and not on the natural line otherwise this will obviously look fake.  It can also be applied all over the lips to make it last better and longer.  A dark lipstick should be applied enough to be seen from the stage even if it looks like a Halloween makeup up close.  It goes otherwise with male actors who should slightly be more natural even on stage.

Last but not the least would be the loose powder.  Before it is applied over the face, dip a large brush unto a powder container then shake it to get most of the powder off in order to avoid leaving white smears over the makeup and therefore ruining it.  Loose powder is for holding the actor’s make up even when they are sweating.

Costumes

Costumes are very important.  They help audiences identify and understand the actor’s character and social rank as well as his traits and gender.  The style and color would greatly suggest the occasion happening on stage.  Colorful clothes and elaborate makeup may bring more life to Snow in Midsummer as this pertains to rich Chinese culture.

The main character, Dou E, may use the traditional Ruqun which is used by ordinary women during the Yuan Dynasty.  This is made up of an upper jacket and lower skirt.  The jacket is made of a red marten or sheepskin garment with loose sleeves and gray collars and cuffs.  This is tucked below a maroon skirt with a gray sash accent to maintain its simplicity.

The same type of robe costume may be used by the widow, Mistress Cai as they do not necessarily belong with the Mongolian Aristocrats who wore cur coats and fur caps.  Their costumes must reflect their lifestyle and their role enough to bring out the emotion from the audience, however they should not look like paupers but more like average Chinese people however obviously struggling to maintain their dignity.  However, after her execution, Dou E’s costume must change to loose, ghostly white robe with its light fabric.  The red smear of blood from the execution must appear on the cloth as well.

The male actors may use the Yiseyi or Zhisunfu garments where upper and lower short garments were put together while adding folds to the waistline.  Furthermore, big beads were hung on shoulders and the back.  The garments can either be course or of fine quality depending on the social rank the actor is representing (“Costume in the Yuan Dynasty”).  Donkey Chang and Old Chang may use costumes may use colors that shows a status that is more advantages compared to Dou E and Mistress Cai, however not as luxurious as an upper aristocrat.  Donkey Chang’s costume must be provoking and reflective of his selfish being.

Of course the apparent hairdo must not be forgotten.  For male actors, it should be the traditional snail-head, seated Buddha feature.  As for females actors (Dou E and Mistress Cai), the hair must be long with the upper portion tied and placed with some simple white floral accents.  Mrs. Cai’s hair must be all brushed up however with a bulky onion bulb appearance.

Lighting

This is perhaps the counterpart of camera trick.  One of the things that make stage plays breath-taking is the lighting effect.  In fact thanks to modern-day stage lighting, audiences now are able to afford richer visibility of the entire play, thus connecting more with the intense emotions of the actors.

A careful outline of Bill William’s Stage Lighting Design shows four important objectives of stage lighting: (1) Visibility, which helps the audience understand the play.  It is influenced by contrast, size, color and movement. (2) Naturalism (and Motivation), where a sense of time and place is indicated. (3) Composition, the overall image of the stage.  Lighting must reveal actors, objects and scenery depending on their importance. (4) Mood (and Atmosphere), which is the psychological reaction of the audience is influenced by lighting effects that gives the stage a sense of happiness, sadness or even boredom.

Dou E’s execution would be a perfect example where lighting is “highlighted” as this scene indicates a transition from a normal way of life to a cursed one.  In this case, the lighting effects must create a great sense of grief , heaviness, and fear among the audience.

Casting

            A play cannot be a play without the cast.  As the front liners of the production, they are mainly responsible for leaving an impression for the play since they are the ones who have direct contact with the audiences.  Casts are like the main course of a meal.  Prof. Audrey Stanley from the University of California at Santa Cruz presents at least eight points to consider when casting a play: (1) Interpretation of character type and function; (2) Type-casting; (3) Casting against type; (4) Cross-gender casting; (5) Gender- or race-neutral casting. (6) Generational relationships and differences between characters (for instance, how old are Lear’s daughters?); (7) Physical and vocal requirements of different roles; (8) Audience associations and expectations of individual actors.

            Dou E’s character must be portrayed by someone who can show her virtuosity but at the same time must have the ability to transform into a vengeful character.  Her father, Dou Tianzhang, must be played as someone who is old of course but has enough strength to do some laborious works.  Mistress Cai must reflect the same humility as Dou E’s character but of course with a motherly touch.  A trace of burden must be shown on her face from life’s realities as well as how youth has been taken from her.  Donkey Chang need not be good-looking however appropriately dressed.  But his dignified appearance must not conceal his disgusting character.

Rehearsals

Based on Simon Dunmore’s Advice on How to Approach Rehearsals for a Play, rehearsing is composed of thought, discussion, and doing.  It is an important part of the play where the whole team gets to figure out what will work or not.  That is why it is important to discipline oneself especially when it comes to the script.  Even before the rehearsals, the actor must read it several times so he/she will get to be familiar with the character that he is playing.  He should carry it one hand somewhere at his side and put emotion to the delivery of the line while looking at the script at a side glance.  He must be patient and must take his time in memorizing his line.  In case of long speeches, they should be delivered with much care and thought as single or short lines for it is usually a case where a certain idea starts and is connected throughout the story of the play.

Stage directions on the other hand, must be read as possible pointers only.  If they came from how the play was originally done, take into consideration that the present production might be different with the casts and circumstances being new.  Pause and silence is a kind of stage direction that must also be given proper timing and must have appropriate place in the play just like long and short lines.  Also in case of abbreviations, the intention of the playwright must be observed so the essence of the communication will not be lost.

Writing down notes either from the director or from oneself will be helpful in remembering how to delivery one’s line properly.  Notes need not be long.  Directors may not be right all the time with regards to the character role.  His long experience in theater acting may not give him enough knowledge or understanding of a certain character the way an actor does.  Therefore, a careful and rational discussion must always be made between the two.  Set and costume designs are also very important.  They affect the way an actor moves about the stage.  These objects must work harmoniously with the people of the play and not become a hinder.

            Rehearsals do not stop within the rehearsal room.  Proper focus can be achieved with proper practicing though it should not necessarily occupy one’s private time.

Rehearsal for Snow in Midsummer

Below is a sample table for the Snow in Midsummer’s rehearsal schedule.  It is usually done with six to eight weeks but the production team may change it depending on their needs (Sample Rehearsal Schedule).

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Auditions Auditions Call-Backs Post
Castlist
First Read-Thru Off Construction Crew Meets
Block scenes
with leads
Block scenes
with
Full Cast
Block scenes
with leads
Begin Set
Construction
Block scenes
with
Full Cast
Off Work on
Set
Construction
Work scenes
with
Full Cast
Work scenes
with leads
Work scenes
with leads
Work on
Set
Construction
Work scenes
with
Full Cast
Work on
Set
Construction
Hang Lights
and Set
Construction
Work through
Act I
off book
Work through
Act II
off book
Work on
trouble spots
leads only
Finish Hang
and
Rough Focus
Act I
Run-thru
Work on
Set
Construction
Full Cast
Paint and
Work Day
Act II
Run-thru
Act I
Run-thru
Act II
Run-thru
Work on
Set
Construction
First Full
Run-thru
Complete Set
Construction
Final Setup
Tech
and Lights
First Tech
Rehearsal
with Cast
Run-thru
Full Tech
Run-thru
Full Tech
Costume
check
Tech Crew
Trouble
Shooting
Run-thru
Full Tech
Finishing
Touches
On Set
Work on
problem areas
Full Dress
Rehearsal
Full Dress
Rehearsal
Full Dress
Rehearsal
Full Dress
Rehearsal
No Makeup
Performance Performance Performance

The Vision’s Effects on the Audience

            The Snow in Midsummer is a play about tragedy and drama.  However, the whole production team must keep in mind that as the story is based on real struggles of poor people in the past, it might leave a great sense of grievance to the audience.  This is good but only to the extent that it will stimulate their sense of awareness since basically, though the storyline dates back to old times, it is very symbolic of the abuse and tyranny that still exist even in our time.  Therefore, there must be a balance by creating a great sense of hope especially during the scenes where a retrial for Dou E’s case was conducted up to the play’s ending.  The play must establish to the audience that life goes on and there is hope and justice even in the hardest of situations.

Steve Campsall wrote in Write a Successful Play that plays must create a lasting appeal to the audience.  Every words delivered by a stage performer should send out both meaning and feeling.  That is why it is important to understand the writer’s intention behind the text he has created.

  Common methods such as vivid metaphor, powerful imagery, alliteration, use of rhyme or rhythm, etc, are said to be used often by writers (Write a Successful Play: Effects on the Audience).  Behind the scene interactions will help bring one’s natural acting and transcend the same energy and passion.  The audience must be convinced with everything, from the stage settings to the acting.  Not doing so will be crucial and may create passiveness.

Conclusion

            Behind a play’s success could be in anything that is a part of it.  From the director’s vision to the actor’s execution, everyone should make sure that everything works harmoniously so that the flow of the play will be well polished on the grand day itself.  It is both inspiring and fun to see actors on stage behaving like they are not actors but rather they own the stage and they are the characters that they are playing.

            Lastly, behind the inspiring acts, elaborate costumes, and colorful props, the message of the story must be retained.   This is one important part that can be shared with the audience.  The lesson that they can learn from watching a play can help them personally.  Once the audience is touched by a play’s story or vision, he/she can use the message or apply it once he goes back to real life.

Work Cited

“Stage.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia.  5 February 2008.  9 February 2008.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stage_(theatre)

Kostof, S. 1995.  A History of Architecture.  The Oxford Press.  8 February 2008.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Courtyard

Jianyi, H. 2003.  Yuan Dynasty Zaju.   8 February 2008.

            http://www.chinavoc.com/magicn/yzaj.asp

“How to Format a Stage Play.” Script Frenzy Young Writers Program.  2007.  9 February 2008.

http://ywp.scriptfrenzy.org/howtoformatastageplay

Hillard, K. 2002.  Application of Stage Make Up.  9 February 2008.

http://www.essortment.com/applicationstag_rgyu.htm

“Costume in the Yuan Dynasty.” ChinaCulture.org.  10 February 2008.  10 February 2008.

http://www.chinaculture.org/gb/en_chinaway/2003-09/24/content_28414.htm

Williams, B. 1997-1999.  Stage Lighting Design.  Objectives of stage lighting.  11 February 2008

http://www.mts.net/~william5/sld/sld-100.htm

Stanley, A. 1995-1996.  “Shakespeare Examined through Performance.” 11 February 2008

http://www.tamut.edu/english/folgerhp/Recipes/7cstply.html

Dunmore, S. 25 August 1999.  Simon Dunmore’s Advice on How to Approach Rehearsals for a Play.  11 February 2008

http://www.btinternet.com/~simon.dunmore/rehearse.htm

Campsall, S.  2008.  Write a Successful Play: Effects on the Audience.  12 February 2008

http://www.englishbiz.co.uk/mainguides/play.htm

Sample Rehearsal Schedule.  Tupelo Community Theatre.  13 February 2008.

http://www.tctwebstage.com/schedule.htm

Practical Play Analysis Essay

Theatre in the age of Shakespeare Essay

Theatre in the age of Shakespeare Essay.

Theatre was a very different business in the 16th and 17th century. London, the home of The Globe theatre was possibly the central hub of theatre in England at the time. The Lord Mayors hated plays because they took apprentices and workmen away from their jobs. Plays had to be performed in the daytime in the open-air theatres since there was no electrical lighting, or technical effects of any nature. Because of this they were labelled as “ungodly” and profane.

Infact, the mayors of London tried to have plays banned! luckily for us, they were protected by the privy council on the grounds that the Queen enjoyed the entertainment at Christmas.

The Lord chamberlain set up 2 new companies in 1594, one of which Shakespeare joined as an actor. In time this company became the richest of companies and ran continuously for forty eight years. A theatre would be host to three or more companies each afternoon as long as epidemics of the bubonic plague did not cause a ban on public assemblies in London,.

The outbreak of civil war in 1642 caused all theatres to be closed.

Alternatives to going to the theatre were few and far between, but animal baiting was of popular interest. Bulls and bears were baited in “gladiator” style arenas (not dissimilar to theatres), and crowds would pay to see this. Not surprisingly when the theatre did become a viable alternative, thousands of people paid their way in to see plays every day.

Despite this, the landlord of shakespeare’s theatre company refused to renew the lease on the open air theatre in which he had enjoyed much success. Instead of choosing to build a new one, James Burbage (the company director) fitted out a small theatre in a hall in Blackfriars just below St Pauls. This had the significant effect of moving actors indoors, which still remains the same today. Unfortunately, the residents of that area refused to welcome a new theatre complaining of the noise and crowds, therefore after 2 years of fruitless searching for a suitable location, it was decided that a plot of land would be leased across the river in Southwark, which was not even fifty yards from their arch rivals “The Rose”. A master carpenter was hired and ordered to transport and rescue what he could of the old theatre in order to build the first ever “Globe”. Sketches and prints of the interior and exterior of the Globe survive today.

For fourteen years, Shakespeare’s company prospered in “the house with the thatched roof” until disaster struck in 1613. While performing Henry VII, a piece of wadding from a stage cannon lodged in the rood, smouldering until the thatch burst into flamed and eventually burning The Globe to the ground. As many as three thousand audience members vacated the building safely from two exits.

The second globe was much more lavish than the first and had a tiled roof which was more difficult to burn! Due to money problems, a deal was forged with other players, Shakespeare being one of four syndicates. They were sold shares in the building which ensured its economic safety in the future. It was here that Shakespeare wrote his greatest plays. The popularity and educational aspect of Shakespeare’s plays leads to their frequent performance in schools and colleges all over the world.

The physical shape of the playhouse dictates what could be performed there. The Elizabethan play tended to be simple, plain and direct. An Elizabethan actor is not acting to himself or to another actor as in modern drama, but he acts to the audience to secure their maximum participation in the shaping of the play.

An Elizabethan playhouse had the following typical elements:-

1. The shape was round or polygonal. This shape allowed the mediaeval spirit of Theatre in the round” to be sustained. It also implied a shared democratic feeling within the audience

2. The outside diameter was generally quite small, suggesting an intimacy between actors and audience.

3. There was usually three galleries on different levels built around the arena for those prepared to pay more than those standing in “The pit”. Areas were selected near the stage and sometimes gentlemen even paid to sit on the stage. This kind of allowance meant that a playhouse had a capacity of between 3000 and 5000

4. The acting platform or stage was about five feet high and approx 43 feet wide. Usually a “Thrust” stage in shape – i.e. open to the audience on three sides.

The theatres audience were diverse in cultural backgrounds. The theatre was for the rich who would enjoy the rich colourful experience daily and would make up the bulk of the typical 5000 strong audience. They had the money to buy fruit which was either eaten if the play was good or thrown if it were bad. The cheapest standing place at the Globe cost one-fifth a labourers’ daily wage so for the poorer classes the theatre was a rare treat. However, less privileged audience members. Apprentices, shopkeepers, labourers and students were free between 2 and 5 o’clock.

One must remember that at entertainment came from few sources, and with no modern technology, people had to create their own entertainment. Acting and the theatre did this well but also made the audiences think. The existence of these plays, to carry the audience through space and time suggests that Shakespeare needed and expected neither intervals, nor any music beyond a few bars when a character entered. It is unlikely that he received any more than he needed or wanted. When a change of scene or time mattered had to be conveyed to the audience, the actors simply told them in their first few lines. Not every Elizabethan play achieved the seamless unity of Shakespeare’s work, nor did Shakespeare, but essentially one must keep perspective that this is the birth of modern theatre in England, as we know it. Despite Shakespeare’s death, the age of Shakespeare lives on today.

Theatre in the age of Shakespeare Essay

Community Theatre Essay

Community Theatre Essay.

Theatre is often regarded as a very effective medium in which to portray the challenges and triumphs of a community. Through stories, such as Marmalade Gumdrops, the importance of certain areas of life can be addressed, and by using both physical and visual representations, a community can both create and visualise how challenges can be triumphed. Throughout history, communities have banded together to create what is now known as community theatre. By using people from the community to create a play for the community, messages and contexts are clear to see.

In the case of Marmalade Gumdrops, the play was not created by our community, but it was created for it. Having the importance of keeping your imagination laid out in a simplistic form such as in a child’s bedroom, people of all ages are able to bond and connect with it. Marmalade Gumdrops, is a play that carries a simple message, in a simple way. Using an open space with minimal props of bright primary colours, and having characters such as desks or a lamps, creates a known atmosphere; a comfortable place that the viewers all relate to.

Using simple and sparse props, audiences can see the message that has been created for them.

Showing the relationships that children create between themselves and the sanctuaries they live in, a bedroom, creates a vulnerable, malleable feel to the atmosphere as an audience watches this play. In the community that Mount Isa has, keeping imagination alive is a key issue, because of the way things work. With parents working long hours at the mines, and with not much to do, both kids and adults have to learn to use what we have. Marmalade Gumdrops uses realistic settings mixed with very unrealistic, extraordinary circumstances and events to broaden and awaken the minds of those who watch it.

The relationship between a child and his books, is a rather important one to include within this play. The days of children getting lost in a good book are gone, but by having this connection to his bookcase (envisioning knowledge), this child has now created a world of his own. By having a chair that takes this child’s anger away, and a lamp that isn’t as bright as you would think, the audience can see that the child in the play is learning to teach with stories, and learning to control feelings, all by learning to imagine and let go.

In community theatre, language is a key point when considering a story. Every word and every context given to the audience in Marmalade Gumdrops is easily understood by a child, and yet the subtext of some actions, such as the lamp blowing bubbles every time a new idea was formed, would be something that the adults would notice more than the children. The idea that “Imagination is like a marmalade gumdrop; once you’ve tasted it, you’ll never settle for just plain. “is such a simple and imaginative thing, and yet it is something that communities, particularly adults, forget.

Whether it be because it’s just how things work, or because of influences, people forget what it is to be a kid, or just what it is to have an imagination. As the play progresses, audiences are subconsciously prompted to use their own imagination. As each new prop emerges or as a new scenario starts, the viewers start seeing things that could happen, or things that they themselves would do with what is shown on the stage. They start to want to bring everything to life the way that the characters do in the play.

When the child, Walter, picks up an object out of the box, the entire cast on stage (the desk, the bed, the lamp etc) all lean in, and are excited to see what happens next. This in turn gets the viewers excited, and creates a longing to be imaginative. This in itself proves the fact that community theatre is an effective way to not only view, but create, triumphs. Every time Clair (the lamp) blows “thought” bubbles, and Winthrop (the chair) takes of his hat, audiences are awaiting a new adventure, and a new taste of something long forgotten.

For the children in the audience, a sense of fun and excitement bubbles up. This play is a way of showing the children that having an imagination is ok. Having fun is not only ok, but that to have fun, you don’t even need much. With today’s society full of “I need” and “I want” when it comes to new fashions and toys, the natural response to imagination has become “that’s stupid”. Marmalade Gumdrops not only shows, but proves, that simple things in life count, and that things are never the same once you know how to imagine.

By creating this play, Marmalade Gumdrops, Carol Lauck has shown the true meaning of imagination. The telling of so many stories all within one big story is such an effective way of grasping an audience’s attention. This is exactly what community theatre is all about. Using characterisation and relatable scenes, Carol has created an ideal way to show this community a message. It has shown us a challenge, and it has taught us how to beat it.

Community Theatre Essay