Restoration Theatre - The Rivals by Richard Sheridan
December 8, 2017
We chose scene 2 from Act II of The Rivals, a conversation between Lucy and Sir Lucius O'Trigger, and then a small exchange between Fag and Lucy. This is rather a short scene; however, it portrays the first look of Sir Lucius O'Trigger and Lucy's business of delivering secret letters. In this first week, we read through the script and practice our voices to get a sense of how much time it takes to run the scene. Then, the group started to plan on the blocking and added more ideas to our movements to make the scene as detailed as possible, as well as to portray the characteristics of each role to the audience, not just the conversations. We read an article on comedy during the Restoration period and learned that the humor comes more from the words than from physical movements. It also comes from how we interact with one another, the relationship and our own purpose of talking.
HowlRound Journal Reflection - Kill Climate Deniers
November 20, 2017
Article link: http://howlround.com/kill-climate-deniers
The article talks about the interesting issue of using a provoking play title and how the critics and society perceive it. In my personal opinion, artistic freedom and the ability to create potential art are significantly important, even though I do not agree with the idea of publishing inappropriate and provocative works that promote conflict and terrorism in public spots. And I absolutely do not think that talking about climate change is one of those works. As an audience in front of today's world's enormous information and entertainment, one should not quickly jump to conclusions right after reading the title of the source, but rather take the time to dig deeper and learn more about the subject. We must be smart and critical viewers and readers, even though I have to admit that the title of the play in this case is a little bit aggressive and almost sounds like a poster that promotes eco-terrorism. I agree to the author's message at the end of the journal: "Stay live to that possibility. Keep asking the question. Keep looking for evidence that you're wrong. Keep being ready to change your mind, change direction if you need to. Keep trying. Keep focused." Focus on the positivity.
Commedia Dell'arte sketch
Reflection #1 - November 7, 2017
We began to plan the plot of the sketch based on the typical plot of a commedia dell'arte - two young lovers whose love is not permitted. The group then chose high school theme in modern time, in which the young lovers are the students, Pantalone and Dottore are each a parent of a lover, Magnifico is the principle, and Brighella and Harlequino are the janitors of the school. We first started with learning how to walk and move as each character, and then tried to communicate with each other in gibberish, which I think is one of the complicated parts. We have to understand what the talker wants us to do while not really understanding what they mean. That tells us to use more of our body language and gestures, and at the same time emphasize that we get the message by showing our reactions and repeating the words. The sketch also requires a lot of improvisation, especially with the servants, Brighella and Harlequino, who must be prepared to react and act whenever Dottore or Pantalone or Magnifico call them, or deal with the lovers whenever they have any suspicious behaviors, and also go around and clean things to make sure we are not left out. The first times of practice were slightly messy and mostly improvised, but we made it to the end. In the later rehearsals, after having a good grasp of the basic plot, the sketch greatly improves, even though we still have to be ready to improvise at any time.
Reflection #2 - November 9, 2017
In the second phase of practice, the group mainly worked on getting more used to the plot of the sketch and extended it by adding lazzi moments. We also considered the audience's perspective and adjusted our positions so that the audience's view is not blocked, which is important because we want them to be able to observe our physical movements. We decided to add three moments of lazzi into the plot, all of which included Harlequin being bribed into doing things for other people. The first lazzi is when he and the first actor switch positions; the second one is when Pantalone asks Harlequin to place a sharp object on the lover's chair to irritate him, and Harlequin enthusiastically kicking the first actor is the third moment. These additions make my character - Harlequin who doesn't know logic - become an active body figure, much more than just a servant who waits on commands in the first place. The addition also requires me to have a keen and prepared energy ready all the time to respond quickly and to show that I'm eager and curious with anything around me and all the deals that the masters offer.
Reflection #3 - November 17, 2017
We performed the sketch today, and it went pretty well. One of the reservations received is to make our physical motions and body gestures even more visible to the audience and make sure that they understand what we mean, for we only use gibberish and body language is significantly crucial in commedia dell'arte. About the overall process, the project helps me learn a lot more about this theatre form, its characters, and the influence of body language in general theatre, apart from facial expressions and tones of voice. One thing that I think we can try next time is to act even more naturally and move around more. Nevertheless, I had fun improvising!
To What Extent is Imagination a Fundamental Requirement for Participation in Theatre?
November 5, 2017
I believe that imagination is the a crucial requirement for any types of art. Playwrights must have imagination to write a successful play. Actors must understand their co-actors and their audience to lead them through the story. In theatre, in order for the audience to feel fully immersed in the world of the story, the performers also have to be inside of that world, create a character and stay in the mind of him/her. Imagination helps us feel like how the character feels, hurt like how they hurt, taste their sweetness, taste their bitterness, hear the screams, terrified of the creaks, touch a hot stove, feel the tears running down a cheek, smell that fresh air, hate that perfume scent. The audience will allow the world of the stage to live in them only when the performer succeeds in making something unreal real.
What Is The Social Function of Theatre?
October 14, 2017
Theatre became a crucial part of human's life hundreds of years ago. Kings and the crowns since the medieval age have used theatre as a means of communication between the people and authority. The government uses theatre to state political enactments, and vice versa, the commoners use theatre to show petitions and beliefs to the authority that they want to improve. Churches use theatre to teach and spread biblical stories, beliefs to illiterate people. Theatre can also be used as a way to teach moralities, an insightful (or sarcastic) reflection of the current world, a mirror of social issues, an exploration of human ambitions and limitations. The stage of theatre is where people laugh, cry, empathize, hate, despise and hope. Theatre can change one's perception, strength one's belief and broaden one's mind. Theatre can challenge all kinds of stereotypes, such as women are all weak, or men are all messy, or nerds are all weird, or teenagers are all rebels. I want the project of staging Lysistrata in The Vietnam War would open the audience's view of women in War and prove that women are and will always be really an important part of our world, our history.
Lysistrata Ideas - Women in World War II and the Vietnam War
September 24, 2017
After being introduced to Lysistrata - a comedy by Aristophanes about women's cleverness and their determined effort for peace, I did some research on historical conflicts that involved the influence of women and found out that women play play a great role in WWII within North America, Europe and Japan. Sex was used as a way to get people excited about war and as a moral and bravery boost: "Give the men something to fight for." This included many brothels in German military camps and concentration camps, where thousands of European women were forced and kidnapped to serve as prostitutes during the German occupation of their own countries along with female prisoners. I also discovered that many combatants involved used pornography as part of their psychological operations (PSYOP) strategy. I think Lysistrata would be interesting, although might be violent, if it were dated in World War II.
October 01, 2017 (Update)
I have chosen The Vietnamese War as the setting for my production of Lysistrata. I have seen very little mention of women during the war while researching the topic. Therefore, I want to use my prior knowledge of women’s roles and influences and organizations from my home country of Vietnam to adapt this perspective to the plot of Lysistrata. I know there were many great women figures and women-related events happened during the Vietnam War that bear resemblance to the concept and message of Lysistrata, such as the the protest of 10.000 Vietnamese women to reject and prevent their sons, husbands from going to war, or the conferment of women across the nation for eliminating public brothels, raising women’s value, and protecting women’s right. Therefore, the spirit of Lysistrata can be eminently applied to the historical context of the Vietnam War.
Renaissance - Harlequin
September 18, 2017
Harlequin was one of the most important stock characters in the Italian Renaissance's commedia dell'arte ("comedy of the professtion" - flourished throughout Europe from the 16th century through 18th century, was "fashionable" for the middle and lower class, all the work was improvised and performed by traveling groups). Harlequin is portrayed as a hasty and witty valet of a gentleman and an unpredictable swain of serving maid. In the beginning of his appearance (around mid-16th century), harlequin was cowardly, superstitious, and plagued by a continual lack of money and food. Later on (early 17th century), Harlequin had become a faithful valet, patient, credulous, and amorous. These new qualities helped him to extricate himself from problems and difficulties by cleverness and buoyant high spirits. Unlike his fellow commedia servants, he did not hold a grudge or seek revenge against those who tricked or cheated him.
Harlequin’s costume was originally a peasant’s shirt and long trousers, both covered with many coloured patches. It later developed into a tight-fitting costume decorated with triangles and diamond shapes, and it included a batte, or slapstick. His black half mask had tiny eyeholes and quizzically arched eyebrows that were accentuated by a wrinkled forehead. The effect was of satyric sensuality, catlike slyness, and astonished credulity. The black mask and originally ragged costume are sometimes attributed to earlier depictions of African slaves.
Harlequin survived the commedia dell’arte to take a place in later theatrical productions.
"Harlequin". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2017. Web. 18 Sep. 2017
Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2017. Web. 18 Sep. 2017