Saturday, August 22, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Valenti's purpose in writing this text was to expose young women to what they weren't being told about feminism. She wrote to debunk the major myths and arguments against feminism. She wrote to encourage the younger generations to speak up about social injustices.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Jerry: Is he the one who's always been here or is it his son?
Robert: You mean has his son always been here?
Jerry: No, is he his son? I mean, is he the son of the one who's always been here?
Robert: No, he's his father.
Jerry: Ah. Is he?
Overall, an easy read, not necessarily a standout in dramatic literature but one can see why Pinter is iconic. Certainly, the exchanges of dialogue are interesting exercises in subtext, which Pinter seems to feed on.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Some of the central ideas:
- Theatre began as an entity for the people, all amassed together to chant, etc. in dithyrambic odes. When Thespis stepped out of the chorus, he aristocratized the institution of theatre by separating himself from the people.
- The tragic hero is a manipulation of the spectator. He represents nobility and higher social status. Through the elements of Aristotelian tragedy including hamartia (the one flaw that leads both to the tragic hero's prosperity and sudden downfall), anagnorisis (the recognition of this flaw), and the audience's experience of catharsis, the spectator is subversively forced into empathy with the hero, who oppresses them.
- Boal argues that theatre for the people must involve the people. It must be a democratic process by which all members of the audience help to determine the outcome.
- Catharsis must be eliminated as it purges us of the "impure." This purging keeps us from acting on the emotion we feel within the story.
- Theatre must not be the revolution itself, but the rehearsal for it. An audience who experiences revolutionary triumph during the performance will also experience catharsis, preventing them from revolting in reality.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I find the theories and practices of Grotowski interesting. For example, his explanation of an actor's relationship to his own body (the "conversation" between the hand touching the leg, etc.) and also the notes on vocal resonance (speaking through certain parts of the body, in order to fill yourself with sound).
It is, however, difficult to apply Grotowski's methods after a mere reading of his text. This would be like trying to apply Meisner's repetition work after reading an essay on it. I have a hard time grasping Grotowski's metholody completely since the work has lost something in its translation from Polish to English. I feel this kind of work must be observed first hand.
Grotowski's work seems to me a good jumping off place for work in movement. However, I don't believe he is an "end all to end all" in terms of acting technique, just as Stanislavsky, Meisner, Adler, etc., etc., etc. cannot be said to be. He is a tool in an actor's belt, one way of achieving emotional honesty on the stage.
Friday, November 7, 2008
He compares the essential or living theatre to a plague that sweeps through, burning, stripping away the deadness. Artaud believes that theatre must cleanse or purge the audience of that which is unneccessary to get to the ultimate, cosmic truth.
Artaud spends a great deal of the book comparing Occidental and Oriental theatre. He uses many examples from the Balinese theatre to explain what he sees as key differences. Western theatre: tied up in the text, focused on the psychological, striving for realism, purely verbal, and using conflicts that relate only to what can be spoken or verbally expressed. Eastern theatre: uses gestures and spiritual "signs" to communicate every state of being, the voice's connection to the body, the way that sound and movement create meaning together, and a sense of "heightened" realism.
There is a demand for throwing out the "elite" of theatre. "No more masterpieces," he says. We must have works that are relevant to our contemporary audience. If the audience does not understand or appreciate the work it sees, it is the theatre's fault, Artaud argues. We have put art on a pedestal. We have distanced the audience from it.
This concept of distance troubled Artaud. He called for something new, something he named, "The Theatre of Cruelty." He believed that the theatre must overrun, overwhelm, and shock its audience into feeling. He spoke of reverberrations (something not unlike Luis Valdez' use of the word "vibrations"). While Brecht tries to achieve recognition of truth in his spectator through the Verfremdungseffekt (or alienation effect), Artaud strives to accomplish the same goal in the opposite way, by surrounding the audience, overwhelming it with sharp sounds, lights, costumes, etc.
The use of myth by Artaud is especially interesting as it would go on to influence theatre practioners like Jerzy Grotowski. Artaud believed that that which is human in all of us can only be truly reached through the use of the myth (myth being something ingrained in all humans, a story that has become part of tradition). This kind of story strikes a subconscious chord in which we understand a fundamental, deeper truth.
Favorite quote: "The actor is an athlete of the heart."
One of the major problems with Artaud is that he left no practical way to accomplish his mandates. While many scholars, writers, and directors agree with his assessment of the need for this kind of new theatre, it seems impossible to apply his theories without bastardizing them somehow. We do not know what Artaud meant by everything he said. We can only speculate and interpret.
The other issue I have encountered in examing this text is simply: Who determines this deeper truth the spectator supposedly will connect with when experiencing the "Theatre of Cruelty?" Does the director enter a project with a truth to communicate or does Artaud expect some deeper cosmic meaning to occur to each individual audience member as he or she feels it?
Overall, I feel that the sentiments of Artaud are note-worthy and can perhaps be applied, IF there is a goal. For instance, if I overwhelm an audience with heavy drumbeats or piercing screams in order to cause them to feel something specific so that their attention is drawn to something very particular, I feel that this is worthwhile. But the fear I have in applying Artaud is that taken out of context, screams, flashing lights, and strange noises only confuse.
The theatre must be a place of light, not darkness and confusion. If using these techniques brings about enlightenment, then they can be said to be worthwhile exercises.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Ditto, Holden. Ditto. I have not been so sad to say goodbye to a book in a very long time. I felt so worried and afraid for Caulfield and so enamored with his little sister and her selflessness. Salinger nailed it on the head. I realized in the end that Holden wasn't merely self-absorbed, but hopelessly idealistic and noble. He had this idea of a perfect world of decency and human kindness, without hypocrisy (phonies), without demoralization. He is disenchanted, disillusioned with a culture fixated on the immediate, on the shallow, on the surface.
Also, have not read a book silently that made me laugh out loud quite so hard, possibly ever. Example: "Sensitive. That killed me. That guy Morrow was about as sensitive as a toilet seat."
The book is interesting, as well, since it only details Holden's life as it occurs in the span of 72 hours or less, although it narrates much of his past in between. Salinger seems to make a concerted effort to put you in the sleepless state that Holden is in, so that you may, at last, understand his fury...and his disappointment.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
You Are a Colon
You are very orderly and fact driven.
You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.
You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.
You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.
Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.
(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)
You excel in: Leadership positions
You get along best with: The Semi-Colon