Actioning

From: http://www.outofjoint.co.uk/education/actioning.html

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Actioning is the process of allocating an action or intention to each line or idea in a script.

The action is described with a transitive verb – this is a verb that is “done to” someone else, such as “teases” or “threatens” or “distracts”. It helps actors to decide and convey clearly what their character is trying to “do” with each line to the person or people it is spoken to. Perhaps they are trying to shock; to reassure; to intrigue; to seduce; to amuse.

The technique can be used in regular dialogue or even when the audience is being addressed directly. As well as giving actors a clarity of purpose for every line, it is also a useful tool for keeping a performance consistent over the course of a long run.

Out of Joint’s director Max Stafford-Clark is associated with the technique, having used it and popularised it for 30 years.

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Click link for full list: http://texasartsproject.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/TacticList21.pdf

 

 

FYI: #Metoo https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/oct/20/theatre-director-max-stafford-clark-was-ousted-over-inappropriate-behaviour

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Watch Périclès – Steamed live April 19th

Périclès, Prince de Tyr to be screened on 19 April

17th Jan 2018 3:08pm

Following the successful screenings of The Winter’s Tale, Measure for Measure and Ubu Roi, Cheek by Jowl will screen Périclès, Prince de Tyr live from the Barbican Centre on 19 April 2018 at 7.30pm. The production will open at the Barbican on 9 April, with previews from 6 April, and runs until 21 April ahead of performances at the Oxford Playhouse from 24 – 28 April.

This will be the third Shakespeare live stream from the company and the second in French-language (subtitled in English), and will be available from the Cheek by Jowl website. The production will also be streamed via Facebook Live on the Cheek by Jowl Facebook page.

http://www.cheekbyjowl.com/news.php

Theatre and ToK?

It struck me that this cheeky chap was using theatrical aspects to convince his audience to believe in his imagined world.

A clever use of set, sfx, props, trained animals & actors to manipulate sense perception to ‘make real’ something that didn’t actually exist.

Is this immersive theatre?

 

I also wondered about where his performative awareness came from…turns out he’s a bit of an actor/musician:

The mind-blowing world of designer Bunny Christie – in pictures

From mapping the journey of The Curious Incident’s teen hero to putting Shakespeare in prison and erecting a towering newsroom for Ink, Bunny Christie talks through five of her creations Link to full article

Bunny Christie doesn’t design stage sets. She creates worlds.

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Audaciously theatrical and frequently startling, her creations pull spectators headlong into the universe of a play – whether through the disorienting aperture of The Red Barn or the vintage newsroom pile-up in Ink. Christie often places us inside a protagonist’s head – she designs psychology as well as space, most notably for the singular hero of The Curious Incident, which won her one of her three Olivier awards. She relishes how design unites the entire production.

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“Most of the set was white, with rounded walls. I was thinking about big pills and capsules, and it also looked clinical, like you could hose it down.”

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“Designers are often a conduit from the rehearsal room to the rest of the team,” she says. “We’re with the director from the moment of starting the show, but also go into the wardrobe, prop shop and stage management. You share the thinking. It’s really important.”

Playing dead – Farce

My kind of role…

In Orton’s dark farce, staged uncut for the first time, Anah Ruddin plays the recently deceased Mrs McLeavy whose body is extravagantly manhandled. She describes the stiff challenges of the role.

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From the necrophilia to the suggestion Christ was framed, the playwright’s most dangerous work – performed without the censor’s cuts for the first time – shows Orton wasn’t just out to shock.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Joe Orton’s death, this revival of his most famous play restores the cuts originally insisted upon by the stage censor, the Lord Chamberlain. The result not only sharpens an already subversive text but yields a first-rate production by Michael Fentiman that reminds us of the serious intent behind Orton’s drollery. This, you might say, is dangerous farce. https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2017/aug/24/loot-review-joe-orton-park-theatre-london

On 9 August 1967, the playwright Joe Orton was murdered by his lover, Kenneth Halliwell, in their Islington flat. The following day, Guardian theatre critic Philip Hope-Wallace wrote, “Joe Orton had an irreverent eye and a splendid ear for comic dialogue. It was ruthless, mordant, epigrammatic, and formal in a way which caused people to make comparisons to Oscar Wilde.”

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Journal Article

Joe Orton and the Redefinition of Farce

Joan F. Dean
Theatre Journal
Vol. 34, No. 4 (Dec., 1982), pp. 481-492

 

Ray Cooney’s six rules of farce

Britain’s greatest living farceur, Ray Cooney, offers his tips for writing the perfect farce

Being asked to write the rules of farce is akin to being asked to describe the rules of life – where do you start and what do you leave out? However, before laying bare my formula, I would say that “farce” covers a wide area. There would seem to be a point at which comedy becomes farce and having become farce it then flows into several farcical tributaries. Mine is just one of them.

 

1: PLOT

In the beginning there is the plot. I’m not searching for a “comedy” plot or a “funny” storyline. I’m searching for something potentially tragic. Farce is more akin to tragedy than it is to comedy.

In my play Run for Your Wife, the hero is a bigamist. This situation in real life is an absolute tragedy for those finding themselves involved in it. My play doesn’t dwell on the tragedy, but the audience instinctively understands what is at stake.

In Out of Order, a Cabinet minister’s illicit evening in a London hotel is brought to an abrupt halt when he and the young lady discover a dead body in the bedroom. The Government could fall and so he embarks on a cover-up which risks both his marriage and his political future. In real life – as politicians know – this situation brings tragedy. In Out of Order, it also brings laughter – because the audience know what is at stake for the characters in the play.

 

2: CHARACTERS

The characters must be truthful and recognisable. Again this is why the audience laughs. The characters are believable – it is the situations that are slightly out of the ordinary. Ordinary people who are out of their depth in a predicament which is beyond their control and they are unable to contain. Tragedy again.

3: REWRITING

The willingness to rewrite is essential. My farces are pure concoctions. I never get it exactly right the first time. The original script is comparable to a middle-of-the-range Ford motor car. By the time it appears on the West End stage it must have acquired the precision, the elegance and the comfort of a Rolls-Royce.

I achieve this by having a play reading early on. Then I take the play back to the drawing-board and huge areas are then restructured, rewritten and generally reshaped. Characters may be added or removed in order to serve the requirements of the play. The play will get more and more tryouts, until I know it’s as perfect as it can be.

4: CASTING

The right casting is vital. Because of the laughter my kind of play evokes, it is sometimes thought that comedians serve farce well. Invariably disaster! Farce needs actors who can play tragedy – and that is only the first requirement. They must also have the technique, the stamina, the precision and the dexterity that farce demands.

And, almost above all, they must have a generosity of spirit. Farce is teamwork. There is no standing behind beautiful monologues. It’s mundane language. The characters aren’t standing centre-stage, spotlit, intellectualising about their predicament. They’re rushing about dealing with it.

5: TIME

A rule personal to me is “real time”. The two hours spent in the theatre are two hours in the existence of the characters in the play. No passage of time between Acts 1 and 2. When the curtain rises on the second act, the characters are exactly how we left them at the end of act one, and the action continues. This imposes huge demands on the playwright. Only one setting and two hours of continuous drama/laughter.

6: INTELLIGENCE

Finally, never underestimate the intelligence of your audience. I believe that the audience like to work for their laughter.

 

‘Most of life is farce. Whoever said history repeats itself first as tragedy, then as farce was right.’

Playwright and novelist, John Mortimer – quoted by Michael Arditti here

A great resource for the STP

I forgot all about this, and I might have posted about it before, but it’s worth doing again I think. It’s a great way to introduce the STP.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2OD7phopWWk&list=PL5DE67813461897E6

 

Katie Mitchell’s video installation at the V&A in 2011 that refracted Ophelia’s death scene into five 20th-century dramatic styles: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/theatreblog/2011/jul/21/five-truths-katie-mitchell-v-a?CMP=share_btn_link

 

Peter Brook – only found this film yesterday!

“You know there’s always this terrible moment at the beginning of everything, when people come together and all of them are saying what the hell’s it about? What are we doing here? What are we here? And here, it’s to explore something that very few people really see as being a true and almost impossible challenge, which is making theatre that is real, that is alive, that is alive at every moment, that touches one, and in which once hold doesn’t let one go.”

I wonder what would happen if this was also what every classroom aspired to?  What if education also tried to be real, meaningful and in the moment..?