May 4, 2005
Well, we have come to the end. I think that our group has worked well together. We were a collaborative group, feeding off each other's ideas. I think that Jon did a good job directing us. He gave us tips on what to do better but always told us what we were doing well. He also was very encouraging, telling us that everything was going to be fine. Also, Jon had faith in us and kept telling us that we would know what to do on stage. I think that Jennifer really added to our group because she had a unique perspective on the play, sitting behind everyone. She was willing to point things out, especially blocking movements, that we didn't see and I think that helped us tremendously. I think that Cortney added to our group by making sure that things got taken care of. She made sure that we had a place to practice and that we knew what the fashion of the times was so that we knew how to do our hair accordingly. Finally, last but not least is Ladia. The thing that I really learned from Ladia is to look at things in a different perspective and that you don't have to do exactly what the script says. I am still in awe of her idea to put Minnie in the play. Also, I am so proud of Ladia and that she memorized all of those lines. Overall, I think that the biggest thing that I learned from my group was that there is more than one way to do things and really anything can work. Thanks group.
April 28, 2005
Jon - I like the way that you give the actors suggestions of how to portray things to the audience, that you don't just tell us how, you show us.
Cortney - I appreciate that you are watching as we perform and thinking about what else we can improve on. I also think that you are doing a good job portraying your character.
Jennifer - I only wish that I could see what you are doing behind me while we are performing but what I have seen I like. I especially like the light and how you turn it on and off.
Ladia - I appreciated your attention to detail and bringing up the question of how women back then would cross their feet. I think that is important to our portrayal of the women.
April 21, 2005
Thoughts about week 2
Jon - I think that Jon did a good job of getting us thinking and asking some really important questions. He also got us to translate our ideas into tangible things.
Cortney - I really enjoyed your point of view on the issue of power in our play. I hadn't thought about the objects holding the power before so thank you for that different point of view.
Jennifer - I really liked your views on how to transfer the power dynamics into the physical world of blocking and costumes. I think that you came up with a lot of ideas and different things that we can use.
Ladia - I liked the way that you made me think about things differently before. I hope to see more of that in the future.
April 13, 2005
I think that Jon provides our group with good insight and a vision of where this play is going. He gives us direction and keeps us focused on the task at hand. I also feel like he picks up on the little things like how he saw something in the interaction of Ladia and I on the first reading of the play.
I feel like Cortney does a very good job of offering up suggestions. I also feel like she is willing to do whatever it is that we need her to do to fufill her role as dramaturg. She takes extra care in making sure that the group's needs are met.
I think that Jennifer has a lot of really good ideas about costuming. She came to the group with some ideas already in mind and she is willing to go and find these types of costumes. Thank you for your effort.
Ladia comes up with a lot of cool and different ideas...things that I would have never thought of. She really makes me look at the play in a new light and makes me realize that we can make this production our own by not doing everything exactly as it is written on the page.
Overall, I think that our group has worked well together. I think that we have been productive and come up with lots of ideas. I am also very pleased with all of the twists that we have added and are really making this production our own. I love all of the creativity that has gone into this thus far. Thanks guys and keep it up.
April 4, 2005
After reading the Clurman article I feel that the theme of our play has to do with the little things. The "trifles" that the women are dealing with really do matter and they aren't just trifles.
I feel the space of our performance could have a huge impact on our production because our play is very much about the details. If the space is too big the audience could be distracted by the extra space then they won't pay attention to the details and may miss part of the point of the play. Also, I think that the audience needs to be close enough to see the details.
I think that the way to enter the production is to have an open mind about all of the possibilities but then to be decisive to make these possibilities manageable. Also, the decisions need to be focused on the details in the end.
I feel that the theme of our play can easily be seen in the physical realm and the way to do this is to pay attention to the details. The details can be subtle but do need attention. If we are careful about the details then I think the fact that we gave so much attention to them will help show the importance of the little things in the play.
March 30, 2005
What is the Actor?
For this article the main idea that relates to my experience was when he talked about the different kinds of sign activity: the expression that he gives and the expression that he gives off. This has always been something that is on my mind. However, when it comes to acting I think that it is even more important. The actor would hate to give the wrong impression or mispresent a character. An example of this is from class when we were talking about Brecht, someone read the stage directions to a scene while someone else acted it out. Obviously, the person acting was trying to portray what was being read, so this was the expression that they were giving. But, the expression that they were giving off was less clear. As a spectator, I didn't always know what the person's actions were saying (except for the fact that in this particular example the stage directions were being read so I did know what the expression that was given off was supposed to be). However, had the stage directions not been read, I may have gotten a different impression from this scene. This is troubling for me because I wonder how you ever really know if there is a gap between what a person is giving and what they are giving off.
I liked many aspects of Stanislavski's article, one of which being the ease of reading. But in particular Stanislavski made me really think about acting. Any of the ways that I probably would have approached acting would have been all of the methodical, well thought out, and repetitive ways that Stanislavski said didn't lead to true acting. However, Stanislavski kind of made me rethink this approach and realize that there could be an error in my ways.
Another part of Stanislavski's article that I liked was when he talked about the subconscious and the conscious. The relationship between these two seems to be very complicated but at the same time seems to make so much sense. In particular, I really noticed this relationship when we were doing the activity in class where we were walking about normally and then as if we had weights on our feet. As I was walking normally, I wasn't really thinking too much about anything but then as I switched to walking with weights on my feet, I started unconsciously imagine what it really would be like to have weights, the struggle that would occur, and some possible thoughts and emotions that would coincide with that struggle. I kind of started to get absorbed in this train of thought and then suddenly I came to the realization that this had happened and broke my unconscious train of thought and then all was lost. So, like Stanislavski says, you can have these moments of inspiration in your subconscious but as soon as they come into your conscious they die.
I liked his idea of theater needing the actor - spectator relationship. He says that without this relationship theater cannot exist. I think that this is true but to go one step beyond this is the quality of the relationship. In my experiences, if the audience is enjoying the performance and interacting with the performance i.e., laughing, clapping, gasping, etc., then this high quality relationship between the two increases the quality of the performance. I draw this conclusion based on my experience with some middle school plays where the actors would come offstage and comment on the audience (usually saying something to the effect of if the audience was responsing or not). If the audience was not interacting then the actors would be less excited and enthusiastic about the performance. Since I have relatively little experience and this experience all comes from amateurs, I don't know how true my conclusion actually is but what is the value of this actor - spectator relationship if neither is interacting with the other on more than a basic level of one watching the other perform? Or is the value in the fact that they are interacting by one performing and the other watching and they don't need to interact beyond this?
February 28, 2005
The element that I found to be refreshing was in Brecht's play He who Says No. I found it very uplifting that traditions from the past could be broken if they were questioned and didn't seem to hold any merit. I think that this can be a good thing because somethings have no reason for being traditions; they seem to be so arbitary. Yet those traditions are followed and sometimes have adverse effects (like people unnecessarily dying as in the case of the play). I liked that fact that the boy had the courage to challenge this tradition of throwing people into the valley and that he was able to have an effect on others. Although, it did seen as if it it were too easy. Furthermore, if it is that easy to overturn traditions then that can be an incredibly frightening thing as well. I know that there are traditions that I stick to even though I have no rational reason to. But if these traditions were ever taken away from me, I would be upset. So, while I find this concept of overturning traditions refreshing, I aslo find it frightening.
The element that I found to be troubling was the similarities with Taniko and Brecht's play. Some of the lines were verbatim. Today, that would be considered plagarism. However, this isn't really what I found troubling. The big difference between the two plays was the emphasize on consent. In Taniko, the idea of consent was there but it wasn't explicitly pointed out like in Brecht's plays. I realize the importance of consent in Brecht's plays because it determines the outcome of the play. However, why does he single out this idea of consent? Why is it so important? What does consent mean outside of this play?
February 16, 2005
I think that this play works as a comedy because of the irony of the play being similar to Hamlet. The actors in Stage Blood are putting on a play of Hamlet and all the while their lives are reflecting what is going on in Hamlet. It is funny that these two stories are happening at the same time and the actors don't realize it.
February 10, 2005
The play that I have choosen to compare with Hamlet is Oedipus Rex. First, is characterization. In Oedipus Rex I felt that there was a sense of wondering about Oedipus because his past was revealed slowly. In Hamlet, it seems that there is less guessing in some sense. Hamlet's current family situation is given upfront. However, questions arise later about if Hamlet is mad or not. Inthe 15 minute verison less is revealed about characters. Next is setting. In Oedipus, there was one main setting. However, in Hamlet (both verisons) there was definitely more than one setting. The scenes took place in many different rooms of the castle as well as elsewhere such as the graveyard. Next is time and passage. I think that both have a forward momentum. However, in Oedipus Rex time seems to pass more flowingly because of fewer scene changes. Also, the events are very chronological. Oedipus is discovering parts about his past so time moves forward as I would expect. In Hamlet, time also moves forward but it seems more choppy, especially in the 15 minute verison because there are many scene changes. Also, the events don't seem as if they would have to fall in that exact order in order to understand. While in Oedipus the events need to be in that order to understand. Also, the 15 minute verison makes it seem as if the events take place in a much shorter time span because all of the extra dialogue was taken out.
Comparison between the plays helps give a deeper understanding by getting me to think beyond the plot and find the significance of all the areas of a play. I think that it is especially helpful to compare these two plays because they are both tradegies. It is interesting to see what is the same in both and what is different. If enough comparisons were done with other tradegies, it would be interesting to see if most tradegies contained similiarities to see if there is some sort of underlying standard that tradegies contain other than the fact that they are tradegies.
January 31, 2005
I think that the central idea that Sophocles was trying to communicate to the audience has to do with fate. Fate's destiny for a person is predetermined. The person may or may not believe in fate or know the direction that fate has them headed. However, no matter how hard one tries to change or stop fate they are unsuccessful. One can't escape fate. Thie view is supported in the play by Oedipus' life. He learns that he will kill his father and marry his mother and he doesn't want this to happen. He leaves his hometown so that he can't fulfill fate's destiny for him. Oedipus goes through his life thinking that he has avoided this destiny. However, he learns that actually he did kill his father and is married to his mother. Therefore, it can be seen that Oedious knew his fate and tried to avoid it but it was inevitable that his fate came true. One can't escape fate.