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-Performance Theory

The Two Modes of Performance

1. Presentational Acting or external or technical= Mimesis

-Mimesis is the ability to imitate behavior, truthfully

-Vocal skill the ability to imitate emotion through the choice phrasing, projection, the ability to imitate a
manner of speech, dialects, etc. (to handle verse and understand rhythm and rhetoric, passing through
oral tradition)

-Physical skill, the use of physical and facial gestures to express emotion, imitation of individual or social
style, singing, dancing, juggling, fencing, etc.

2. Representational or Internal or empathetic= Verisimilitude (Psychological work with the character,


delving into the psyche of the character, the human underneath the lines and the text.)

-Verisimilitude: The ability to achieve the illusion of real life.

-The character emanates from inside the actor. The actor can use their psychological instrument to
personally connect to the life of the character.

-Living truthfully under imaginary circumstances of the character.

-Emotional empathy with the character.

Thespis of Icaria , dithyrambs—a ritual celebration devoted to Dionysus

-Credited with creating gene tragedy and with being the first actor

-Originated mimesis, pursuing the character from the first person, impersonate, intimate them

-Invented theatrical touring

-Solon, Greek lawmaker, criticized Thespis’ work. Accused him of telling lies to the public. Thespis found
it harmless as it was done in play. Solon, “Yes but if we allow yourselves to praise and honor make
believe like this the net thing will be to dins it creeping into our serious business.”

-The origin of the word hypocrisy means ‘acting a theatrical part’

“The lie that reveals a deeper truth” -Picasso

-Transformation contains the magical. The power of the actor to become someone else holds is
mesmerizing to those who do and watch it

Quintilian, Marcus Fabius

-Trainer of orators, express emotion in an imitative behavior


The Presentational Style of Acting

-Greeks believed that emotion was agitation accompanied with heavy reaction called a Humour. And an
uprising of emotion was an imbalance of black bile, yellow bile, red blood, and phlegm and that was
unhealthy.

-Acting was believed to upset this.

-Black bile= gloom, sadness, and feelings of morbidity. Melancholic humour. A black mood is an
imbalance toward black bile. Choleric Humor.

-Yellow bile= anger, irritability, impatience, or peevishness. Quick rage is too much yellow bile.

-Red Blood= amorous feelings, cheerfulness, hopefulness, courageousness, and confidence. Red Cheeks
are a characteristic of Sanguine Humor.

-Phlegm= apathy, sluggishness, heaviness, and sleepiness. Feeling lethargic then you are in phlegmatic
humour.

-Four basic elements of universe: earth, fire , water, air

So should actors feel or no?

-To use your own deep feelings to create the character could trigger an imbalance in your body which
can cause life threatening illness.

-Feel real feelings? According to Romans, “The prime essential for stirring the emotions of others is ‘first
feel those emotions oneself’

-Emotions to the ancients had specific physical manifestation. Gestures facial expressions, vocal
patterns, body poses, and movements together or separately that can communicate that feeling.

-So they physicalize the emotion, through a system of body and sign language that could be clearly read
and understood by the audience, the actor didn’t need to actually feel that emotion.

Rhetoric

-The art of using language precisely. Meant to arouse the emotions and challenge the intellect of the
audience.

-effective or persuasive speaking or writing especially the use of figures of speech and other
compositional techniques. (alliteration, assonance, antithesis, onomatopoeia, pun, ladders.

-Technical aspects of speaking language, rhythm, tempo, intensity, loudness, pitch, pause, articulation,
resonance, phrasing.

-Imaginary circumstances can become true for an actor (Meisner)


The Body

-Quintilian created a prescribed physical way for the performer to express emotion safely:

-Rhetorical Gesture: 5 types, EMPATHIC, INDICTIVE, AFFECTIVE, IMITATIVE,


PREPARATORY/TERMINATING

EMPATHIC: based in movements we do in real life. Used when we speak to emphasize word/s in a
speech.

INDICTIVE: Naturally used to indicate, ourselves, others, places, and things. (pointing0

AFFECTIVE: Meant to affect emotion “casting down the head shows humility” rudeness is expressed by
keeping the head ‘rigid and unmoved’

IMATATIVE: imitates a behavior, action, of another being

PREPARATORY: we use to prepare the listener that we are about to start an idea and the terminating
gesture is used to the let listener know we are done with the idea. Cycle.

John Keets “Beauty is truth”

-Actors creed for nearly 2400 years

-if acting was beautiful then it was truthful

Denis Diderot

The paradox of the actor

-This caused a quarrel between emotionalist and anti-emotionalist

-The style of actin began to vary from ‘formal’ to ‘realistic’

-believed that when an actor relied on ‘flashes on genius” the results would be erratic; the actor would
be brilliant, but at times mediocre.

Delsarte---good with gesture and silent films

-attended the royal dramatic school, left because didn’t believe in the standard routine of acting

-Science of Applied Aesthetics consisted of a thorough examination of voice, breath, movement


dynamics, encompassing all the expressive elements of the human body.

-Delsarte acting style coined the inner emotional experience of t he actor with a systemized set of
gestures and movements based upon his own observations of human interaction
-Gesture you must move, interest, and persuade. Language is the weakest.

Voice

1. Loud vocally: vulgar and meaningless


2. Dynamic: Powerful

-Rhythm: is that which asserts

-Melody: is that which distinguishes

-Harmony: Is that which conjoins

Zeami Motokiyo 1363-1443

-Established the aesthetic and philosophical basis for Noh theatre in Japan. Offers instruction to actors,
and valuable teachings on the culture and aesthetic of Japan, as well as a philosophical outlook on life.

-Kwanami was Zeamis father, a talented Noh actor and manager, they created the form of Noh theatre,
which is still practiced in Japan today.

-Dengaku: the original form of drama in Japan.

-Song and Dance and mime.

-Associative with life force, fertility, and sexuality

-Field entertainment, mass hysteria of wild dancing and singing in the streets that often lead to
things like arson.

-Sarugaku: Early form of popular entertainment

-Mime, song, dance, and acrobatics.

-Focused on artistic beauty and spiritual significance.

-Great subtlety and artistry, refined and poetic.

-Imbued with Zen Buddhist simplicity and elegance.

“The mind is the flower and the seed is the technique.”

-“The Transmission of Style and the Flower” by Zeami expands the style of Noh. Refers to the study of
Noh as a Way. Rather than simply an art or job. He thought of Noh as a religious discipline, the
realization of which is the performance.

-Noh theatre seeks to reduce performance to its simplest elements. All unnecessary complications are
taken away.

-There is nothing before the spectator at all, only time and space, any words or movements are
extraordinarily significant. (Hence the way we can apply this is actors cleaning up their movements)
-The power of body, speech, and mind to transcend the boundary between this world and the other is
the subtle by persistent undercurrent of Zeami writings.

Three Elements of Noh

-Monomane (role play): “Imitating things” Being is what is visible, nonbeing is the vessel. No Matter
what kind of character you become, you must first learn to become the thing itself. Zeami encourages
the actor to take on the ‘true intent’ of the character being imitated.

-Language: meant to evoke layers of meaning an emotion. One over the other until meaning becomes
atmosphere. Words had the power to change people, influence rain, effect the gods. Evoke Change.

-Music: Used with great austerity and economy, emphasis is placed on rhythm rather than melody
pauses should have the same emotional importance as the notes they fall between.

Art as Religion

-Much of Japanese art are heavy influenced by Zen Buddhism

-Shinto is at the head of Japan with its emphasis of the wholeness of nature and character in ethics, sets
the tone for Japanese aesthetics.

-The reflective nature of Buddhism can be seen in Japanese literature, poetry, tea ceremony, flower
arrangement and noh plays all require diligent MENTAL AND PSYSICAL discipline.

-Wabi-sabi: The art of impermanence. The material re

(SEE PHOTO ON PHONE LONG SLIDE DID NOT FEEL LIKE WRITING)

Stanislavsky: 1863-1938

-He was not a systematic theorist, but a pragmatic questioner whose books, teaching, and productions
together reveal the full range of his life long search for truth in art.

-His system made an attempt to analyze what actually happens when an actor acts. Developed as a
response to the problem of ‘making characters’. Forcused on internally based psychological methods.

Steps of System:

-Relaxation: This is the key element of his approach. He observed well known actors and those in his
copany

-Concentration: The actor must listen and observe the stage action as if it had never occurred before.
“illusion of the first time”

-Circle of Attention: The actor should fully concentrate on an object, person, or event, while on the
stage. Helps us lose self consciousness as the circle of attention expands to include the audience.

-The Creative ‘if’: Often called the ‘magic if’


-Script analysis: the actor must be aware of the characters background environment and relationships as
well as any additional information the dramatist provides (give circumstances)

-Subtext: the meaning that underlies each line. This is a detailed study of the lines grouped together to
create units or beats. Answer the question “what do I want and why”

-Super objective, or spine or through line. The answer to what do I want and why. It is an active verb
that expresses a characters over all goal.

-Mind, will, emotion: the three parts of the actors inner landscape. Occupy the mind, motivate the will,
and release the emotional life of the actor. The mind is the most easily approached, the emotions more
fickle.

-Affective memory: emotional recall and sensory recall

-Emotional: The actor is called upon ot remember in his or her own life that parallels the
emotional situation in the play. He later turned away from this idea

-Sensory: Part of imagination and concentration we use to sense memory to impact the five
senses and to help arouse emotional recall.

-Communion: The other actors and their effect on you

-Adaptation: Being open and responsive to what is happening in the moment

-Tempo-Rhythm: tempo is speed, rhythm is accent. All actions and all objectives are not created equal.

-Method of Physical action: the actor performs acts that arouse the emotional life after a thorough
absorption of the circumstances of the play.

Michael Chekhov

-student of stanislovsky

-nephew of anton Chekhov

-Disagreed with Stanislavsky on the value of ‘emotional memory” work. Stanislavsky countered by
saying Chekhov had little use for it because of his “overactive imagination”

-Harold clurman of the Group Theatre said Chekhov was rejected time and time again, he was too
mysical and diffuse.

-symbolism weighed heavily on Chekhov theatfe

-everything around us is theatre and that nature is full of theatrical conventions for example desert
flowes mimicking stones, mice faking death . theatre is a universal symbol of existance

Psychological gesture

-the key to our ‘treasury of feelings’ can be found in movement (action gesture)

-Willpower grows with the repetition of conscious gesture, the key to unconscious feeling.
-KIND of momvemnt will give your willpowever certain direction or inclination it will awake and animate
you in a definite desire want or wish

-STRENGTH of movement stirs our willpower in general the kind of movement awakens cooressponding
desire and the quality of the same movemnets conjures up our feelings

-The actor hysicalizeds and characters need or internal dynamic through physical gesture

-Chekov says that powers investation of the character happens through discovering psychological
gesture through rehearsal not just your mind

-by using psychological gesture as a means of exploiting the character you actually do more than that
you prepare yourself for acting it.

-In this way the actor prepares the core of the character to prepare the part in its essence

-doing this inner gesture give the sentence and intensity and feeling it would otherwise not hav and the
courve of this power is repeatable because it is based on a repeatable bodily action

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