Greek Theaters

To get a sense of where the text we're working on would have originally been performed, check out these photos:

Theatre of Dionysus in Athens:  seats slope up the bank of the Acropolis.  Note the seats for priests around the edge, and remnants of an altar in the front.

http://academic.reed.edu/humanities/110tech/graphics/thdionysus2.JPG

Ancient Theater in Delphi, high in the mountains:

http://lib.lbcc.edu/handouts/images/greece/delphitheatre.jpg

Dream on the size and scope of the vocal work these theaters demand, and make possible...

 

 

 

 

Randy Reyes article

http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/onstage/83609707.html?elr=KArksD:aDyaEP:kD:aUg:oaEQDUiacyKUUr

enjoy!

Thanks for your great work in class with the Hecuba/Menelaus scene.  We'll come back to that on Tuesday, and also begin working through your Greek speeches.  Please see the points of good speech for Greek plays posted below.

Thanks also to Thallis, Anna and Torsten for sharing their foreign language skills!

Trojan Women Scene

Menelaus

 

O, splendor of sunburst breaking forth this day

Whereon I lay my hands once more on Helen, my wife.

And yet it is not so much as men think

For the woman's sake I came to Troy,

But against that guest, proved treacherous,

Who, like a robber, carried the woman from my house.

Go to the house my followers and take her out,                               

No, drag her out                                                                               

Lay hands upon that hair so stained with men's destruction.                                                                      

When the winds blow fair astern, we will take ship again                  

And bring her back to Hellas.

Hecuba                                                                                                          

O power who mount the world!                                               

Wheel where the world rides!                                                         

O mystery of man's knowledge, whosever you be:                         

Zeus named, nature's necessity or mortal mind,                                    

I call upon you!                                                                            

For you walk the path that none hears,                                        

Yet bring all human action back to right at last.    

Menelaus

 

What can this mean?                                                                      

How strange a way to call on gods!

Hecuba                                                                                                                                       Kill Kill your wife, Menelaus!  And I will bless your name.                          

But keep your eyes away from her.  Desire will win.                       

She looks enchantment, and where she looks                               

Homes are set fire.  She captures cities                                         

As she captures the eyes of men.                                                      

We have had experience, you and I,                                                  

We know the truth!

Suzuki text

O, splendor of sunburst breaking forth this day
Whereon I lay my hands once more on Helen, my wife.
And yet it is not so much as men think
For the woman's sake I came to Troy,
But against that guest proved treacherous
Who, like a robber, carried the woman from my house.


TO SIT IN SOLMEMN SILENCE IN A DULL DARK DOCK
IN A PESTILENTIAL PRISON WITH A LIFE LONG LOCK
AWAITING THE SENSATION OF A SHORT SHARP SHOCK
FROM A CHEAP AND CHIPPY CHOPPER ON A BIG BLACK BLOCK!

Points of Good Speech for Classic Greek Plays

POINTS OF GOOD SPEECH FOR GREEK PLAYS

 

1.     'wh' sound as in "where, when, why"

 

2.     Prefixes of 'i' as in "between, deny, remain"

 

3.     Liquid 'u' sound as in "tune, duke, resume" where appropriate for the class of the character.

 

4.     Distinguish between back vowel sounds by notating the short 'o' as in "pop, shop, copper" and notating the 'aw' sound as in "law, awful, daughter"

 

5.     Although you may use rougher 'r' coloring in these plays than in other classic plays, don't let yourself be pulled into a sound that calls attention to itself.

 

6.     Use voiced final consonants and use strong medial consonants.

 

7.     Identify and notate long vowel and diphthong sounds.  Are there other sounds/words that seem to want to lengthen?  How can these sounds help you evoke the emotional experience/stakes of the character?

 

8.     Identify alliteration.   How can the consonants help you evoke passion, action, violence, pity, grief?

 

9.      Plan your breath phrasing and use your most full-bodied, resonant voice.

 

10.     Explore use of pitch for emphasis, story telling and creating the world of the play.

 

11.     How does the verse form work?  Use line endings and explore punctuation.

 

Syllabus

UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA

DEPARTMENT OF THEATER ARTS AND DANCE

UMN/GUTHRIE THEATER B.F.A. ACTOR TRAINING PROGRAM

SOPHOMORE VOICE AND SPEECH

THEATRE 2396, SPRING 2009

 

Elisa Carlson, Instructor

(612) 625-6867 (office)

(678) 358-8772 (cell)

Email:  elisac@guthrietheater.org

Class Blog:  http://blog.lib.umn.edu/hurtl002/myblog/

 

January 19 through April 29

Rarig Center Room 10

Tuesdays: 4 -6:30 pm, Thursday: 3:30-6:00 pm

 

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course furthers training in voice and speech work for the actor.  Students will practice exercises for centering the breath and body, locating and releasing tension, exploring pitch, tone and range, working towards a free and well-placed voice.  Students will review the International Phonetic Alphabet and practice the sounds of good American speech for classic plays with a particular emphasis on the full embodiment of Greek texts and exploration of classic plays in translation.  In the second half of the semester students will study Stage Dialects and Accents, finishing with a modern or contemporary dialect scene of the student's choice.  Good Speech for modern and contemporary plays will be explored with dialect work.

 

Recommended texts for this class are Patsy Rodenburg's The Need for Words, Edith Skinner's Speak With Distinction and Jerry Blunt's Stage Dialects but only the Skinner book is required.

 

ATTENDANCE

This course is governed by Attendance and Promptness policy described in the document:  BFA Standards for Evaluation.  In it you can find the effect attendance and lateness have on the grade for this course.  If you do not have a copy of this document, please ask the BFA Office.

 

Instructor will see students outside of class by appointment only.

 

EVALUATION / GRADING CRITERIA

Evaluation and grading is based on the following:

-- Progress and promise shown in exercises and informal class presentations.

-- Participation and attitude.

-- Presentation of scenes and performance projects, written quizzes,

    transcriptions of  text.

In addition, all policies and guidelines for the BFA Core govern this course.

 

COURSE SCHEDULE

 

Week 1

1/19:    Greetings, Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work, review of points of good speech for classic plays; Intro to Suzuki work, assign Sit In Solemn Silence and O Splendor for memorization or review.  Modern or Contemporary Dialect/Accent scene discussed and assigned with choice deadline

 

1/21:    Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work; work with Spanish and German classic texts, Suzuki, assign Trojan Women scene for memorization.

           

Week 2

1/26:    Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work; work with classic texts in translation; Suzuki.

           

1/28:    Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work; work with points of good speech for Greek plays, Suzuki work with Trojan Women scene.

 

Week 3

2/2:      Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work; work with Greek text/points, Suzuki work with Trojan Women scene.   Assign Greek monologues for memorization and transcription:  Men, text from Prometheus Bound.  Women, text from Electra.

 

2/4:      Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work; work with Greek text/points, Suzuki work with TrojanWomen scene.

 

Week 4

2/9:      Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work; Greek text/points work with monologues. Suzuki.

 

2/11:    Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work; Greek text/points work with monologues. Suzuki. 

 

Week 5

2/16:    Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work; Greek text/points work with monologues.  Suzuki. 

 

2/18:    Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work; Greek text/points work with monologues.  Suzuki. 

 

Week 6:

2/23:    Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work, Greek text/points work with monologues.  Suzuki. 

 

2/25:    Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work, Greek text/points work with monologues.  Suzuki. 

 

Week 7:

3/2:      Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work, Greek text/points work with monologues.  Suzuki. 

 

3/4:      Breath/Voice exercises, IPA/speech work, Suzuki.  Greek monologues presented for grading, transcriptions due.

.

Week 8:

3/9:      Breath/Voice exercises, RP dialect and transcription review.  Modern or Contemporary Dialect/Accent scene of student's choice declared for presentation on final class.  Please review and practice RP dialect over break.

 

3/11     Elisa will be out of town.  Steve or other faculty to teach during this time.

 

SPRING BREAK

 

Week 9

3/23:    Good speech for modern and contemporary plays introduced.  Work with Shaw scenes in RP.  Intro:  Modern British dialects. 

 

3/25:    Good speech for modern and contemporary plays explored:  Beckett and Pinter.  Intro to Irish dialect.  Irish dialect practice at home assigned.

 

Week 10:

3/30:    Good speech for modern and contemporary plays explored:  Irish playwrights.  Intro to South African dialect.  SA dialect practice at home assigned.

 

4/1:      Good speech for modern and contemporary plays explored:  Athol Fugard.

            Intro to American Southern dialect.  AS dialect practice at home assigned.

 

Week 11:

4/6:      Good speech for modern and contemporary plays explored:  Tennessee Williams and August Wilson.  Intro to Chicago dialects.  Practice assigned.

 

4/8:      Good speech for modern and contemporary plays explored:  David Mamet.

            Intro to Accents:  German transcription assigned.    

 

Week 12:

4/13:    Good speech for modern and contemporary plays:  Arthur Miller

            Intro to accents:  Spanish transcription assigned.

           

4/15:    Good speech for contemporary/dialects plays:  Edward Albee.

            Intro to accents:  Trini transcription assigned.

 

Week 13:

4/20:    Work student-chosen dialect/accent scenes and transcriptions.        

 

4/22:    Work student-chosen dialect/accent scenes and transcriptions.

 

Week 14:

4/27:    Work student-chosen dialect/accent scenes and transcriptions.

 

4/29:    Present contemporary dialect/accent scenes (invited audience) and turn in transcriptions and commentary.  Course and year in review.

 

This schedule is subject to change at any time, with students receiving advance notice

of any changes whenever possible and important. 

 

ADDITIONAL ASSIGNMENTS:

 

Students will complete Points of Good Speech for Classic Plays transcription for their

roles/s in the Shakespeare Project, and work from this transcription in rehearsal.  Legible

transcription of role/s to be turned into Elisa after the projects close, by 4/29.

 

Students will receive a grade for the use of the Points of Good Speech in their

Shakespeare Project performances seen by Elisa.

 

Grading:

Greek Monologue Performance/Transcription:  1/4

Dialect Scene Performance/Transcription:  1/4

Shakespeare Project Performance/Transcription:  1/4

Singing Grade from Andrew: 1/4

Suzuki

Welcome back, everyone!!

Here are the Suzuki videos I emailed you about.  Do watch them before Thursday's class:

Article about Tadashi Suzuki:
 
a video about the exercises: 
note:  we will not do the "stomping" exercie you see here, but will do the standing and sitting "statue" exercises with speaking, and the slow walking, that are also in the video.
 
another video about the training, with a snippet of Mr. Suzuki in rehearsal -- this is, however, in RUSSIAN, so...you won't get the words, but the visuals are terrific and the company is much more skilled that the students in the other video -- also there are snippets of Suzuki's company in performance which are fantastic:
 
mind-blowing scenes from a Suzuki company production...:
 

 

Moses supposes...

Hey everyone, sorry I was sick and missed class today.  I hope Ah Wilderness had a great opening and I look forward to seeing both of the shows later this weekend!

I spoke a bit about the film Singin' In the Rain a few classes ago.  It's a great film on many levels, but I particularly love how it examines what happened to the movies and movie actors when technology to include sound (speech) was introduced.  There are several sessions with voice coaches shown as silent film stars struggle to learn how to be part of talkies...here is one where the two leading men take a bit of revenge on their coach (who is drilling them on the sound "oh" as you'll see).  Enjoy! 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3YWWfnWBJM

and here's a scene that shows how badly the leading lady needed help...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6CuBK0cgX4&feature=PlayList&p=694F235C26ECF1EC&index=6

and one more just for fun...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oWk4ZiuSHE&NR=1

 

 

Tim Monich

Please read this excellent article on the art of dialects and dialect coaching, featuring Tim Monich (the co-author of your Edith Skinner book).  You will need my email address mehlloyd@yahoo.com and password "madrid" to access the full article.

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/11/09/091109fa_fact_wilkinson

We'll discuss this in class.

 

one. of. the. greatest. voices. of. all. time.....!