In the past two days, I was thrown into the unfamiliar world of theatre and drama, a world with Shakespeare and Stanislavsky. I later realized it was broader than those names; it involved writers, actors, critiques, directors and stories – which talk of romance, politics and economy. But most importantly this was a world – like most others – of change.
As Peter Brooks emphasizes, in this world of theatre, the difference between deadly and immediate theatre are stark – but the path between the two is close. And as Elanor Fuchs summarizes, the theatre is a world full of its own values, judgements, opinions and life. While it is important to create and see that world, it is also important to recreate and review.
Peter Brooks’ mention of the involvement of the designers stuck to me in a very powerful way. Through a bit of prior experience, I have learnt how a play can morph and mature through rehearsals. As each actor involves more of themselves into the world that we set out to create – the world changes, a step moves and a cloak gets added.
Similarly, every element needs to be updated to keep the theatre and the performance pertinent and relevant to the audience of today. The theatre world even needs to relate to the world outside its walls. For, as time changes, so do people’s perceptions and understanding- a brilliant example being the Peking opera updating their stories to make it relatable to todays audience.
However, this leads me down a path of confusion. Does this mean that old and traditional theatre cannot be performed in the way they were “meant to be”? That the perfect audience for such plays has ceased to exist? And if this is true (as it probably is), we will never see King Lear performed as Shakespeare willed it to be or a Peking opera performance that is true to its cause and story.
(So many edits and so much more understanding)
Post reading other responses and sitting in more class, I would feel it wrong to not correct myself. We looked a bit more into how Shakespeare wrote his plays. The structure and style made it almost scientific. This made me thing again about what I had said –
Does this mean that old and traditional theatre cannot be performed in the way they were “meant to be”? That the perfect audience for such plays has ceased to exist? And if this is true (as it probably is), we will never see King Lear performed as Shakespeare willed it to be or a Peking opera performance that is true to its cause and story.
– and that is incorrect. What deadly theatre avoids is repetition of ideas – of proclaiming and portraying Shakespeare as one assumes it to be as opposed to what it truly is.
And I definitely understood a lot more of Elinor Fuchs’ words after more inputs this class. What I though was just a checklist of items before staging a play is so much more. To create a strong world helps in organic flow of acting and story. It also ensures a continuity in your world.
One point that was stressed multiple times in her essay is language. Since I recently started reading Game Of Thrones ( which I realize is not a play ), I’ve always felt that the language in the book didn’t make sense to me. However people who watch the series rarely feel the same way. I wonder if this is because they are exposed to more in that world than I am and thus are able to get a better hold of the world than I am.
Aside from that somewhat random thought on the piece, I feel like following this essay and ensuring these rules exist, one can be ready with a good amount of play dynamics.