What is Performance?And what is some other stuff too! Use your arrow keys to move throughout the powerpoint
Intro to TheatreIn this class we will explore questions like… - What is art? - What is performance? - What is theatre and where does it come from? - Should we care? - What can we take from theatre into everyday life? - Can we really call what Keanu Reeves does acting?
Theatre is for Everyone• You’ll find that people have written plays about pretty much everything: code breaking, lawyers, love stories, physics, calculus, medical ethics, stamp collecting, racism, sexism, baseball, corporate ethics, dancers, movie stars, journalists, politics… this list goes on and on. On the next slide you can click around for descriptions of just a few plays.
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Words from everyday life that came from the theatre• Drama• Melodrama• Prima donna• Character• Acting out• Role• Deus ex machina• The stage is set• In the spotlight• Etc.
What is art?• “art is a mirror or reflection of life; an extension or a projection of how we live, think, and feel. Art reveals to us what people treasure and admire, and what they fear most deeply. Art is not only something we find desirable and enjoyable; it seems to be an absolute necessity for human survival.” – Theatre the Lively Art– Do you agree?
What is Performance?• Basically, performance is every type of activity in which people are watching other people doing stuff.
TYPES OF PERFOMANCE• Sports• Auctions• Concerts• Religious Rituals• Code Switching – The roles you play in daily life: you act differently when you’re talking to your significant other than you do when you’re talking to your teacher or your grandmother• Politicians performing as human beings• Etc…
What do all performances have in common? Wow!...Excellent question!• Actor (the doer)• Action (what they’re doin’)• Audience (who’s watchin’ ‘em do what they’re doin’)• Arena (where it’s bein’ done)• Arrangement (how it’s bein’ done)
Take a moment to think about the last summer Olympics, which I’m assuming most of us could only watch from home. When MichaelPhelps was swimming for that 7th gold, it was pretty intense back here in the states… What would it have been like to be there? Think about the sights, the sounds, the smells, the feelings, the camaraderie of the other spectators, the energy of the room…
Purpose of Performance• We’ve already talked about what all forms of performance have in common. But what sets them apart? Different kinds of performances will have different: – Objectives (what they want to achieve/make the audience feel or think) – Organization (how they are arranged, what are the rules) – Consciousness (how aware are the actors and the audience of each other? how important is this awareness to the performance?)
Types of PerformancesLook at these various performance types andthink about the objective, organization andconsciousness of each:• Football game• Rock concert• Political speech• Movie• Theatre• Poetry Reading
Okay… so what makes a specific Performance Theatre?• In theatre we see human beings “enact stories about human beings before other human beings” (4)• In theatre, we don’t have the luxury of film or novels to fill in all the details, so “the imagination of the live audience is more important in the absence of a camera” (4)• Unlike many other art forms, theatre is ephemeral – it’s there and it’s gone. It’s not recorded and it can’t be reproduced exactly.• There is a distinct and important connection between the audience and the actors
Performance as RitualLike any good ritual, in performance :• We have a text of some kind that tells us how to behave• We arrange time symbolically• There is some sort of special occurrence or event (usually)• There is often an intention of doing something good for the community through the execution of the ritual (think about it – people go to religious services because prayer is supposed to DO something to make their lives better. How about theatre?)
Performance as Ritual• On the next slide you’ll see two pictures of two very different weddings. One is my brother and his wife. The other is the wedding scene from the famous play Our Town by Thornton Wilder. What do these two events have in common? What sets them apart?
Performance as ArtLike any good art, in performance:• The thing being presented is self-conscious – it is aware that there is a creator and a viewer• The creators are attempting to evoke an aesthetic response from the viewers• The thing being presented has aesthetic and/or social value to both the creators and the viewers (or it attempts to!)
How Film and Theatre are Alike• Actors impersonate people other than themselves• Require audiences• Usually depend on scripts of some kind – There is improvised theatre and even improvised film, but improvised pieces are still organized by some kind of structure.• The worlds are more “condensed and powerful” than the real world – People write about days when something special happens… because who wants to watch a play about a totally normal day?
How Film and Theatre are Alike• Real spaces and things artificially arranged – Events and characters are carefully constructed to ensure that they lead somewhere and have meaning – the details should help tell the story, whereas in our daily life, not everything leads somewhere.• Symbolic and real time – The time that passes may not always be the literal time it takes for these events• Collaborative – There are far more people involved in creating these performances than the audience sees in the course of watching them
What is it about Theatre?• It’s immediate and unique – happening live in front of the audience• The audience itself actually affects the performance• Because the audience and the actors are so intimately connected, no performance can ever be exactly the same as the one before. The night you go could have a totally different energy from the night I go. So the lines are the same, the actors are the same, but the performance is totally one-time-only!