Theatre technique

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(Redirected from Theatre Techniques)

Theatre techniques are procedures that facilitate a successful presentation of a play. They also include any practices that advance and enhance the understanding the audience brings to the action and the acting by the cast on stage.




One of the oldest techniques that has been used often, is that of teichoscopy or the "viewing from the wall", in which actors observe events beyond the confines of the stage, such as a distant battle, and discuss it on stage while the battle is taking place, as opposed to the event being reported by messengers at a later time after the event has happened.

The Playwright's Craft

Theatre technique is part of the playwright's creative writing of drama, as a kind of mimesis rather than mere illusion or imitation of life, in that he is able to present a reality to the audience that is different, yet recognizable to that which they usually identify with in their everyday lives.
Another aspect of this is that of creating the kind of dialogue that makes his characters come alive and allows for their development in the course of his dramatization.

His art also consists in his ability to convey to the audience the ideas that give essence to the drama within the frame of its structure. Finally, his feeling for the natural divisions of a play such as acts, scenes, and changes of place, its entries and exits, and the positioning of the cast are integral to his technique.

One of the playwright’s functions is that concerned with adaptations of existing traditional drama, such as Charles Marowitz’s collages of Hamlet and Macbeth and other re-interpretations of Shakespeare's works, as well as Tom Stoppard’s approaches in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead; his Dogg’s Hamlet (where the characters ‘’Abel’’, ‘’Baker’’, ‘’Charlie’’, ‘’Dogg’’. ‘’Easy’’, and ‘’Fox Major’’ appear); and his Cahoot’s Macbeth; etc.

The director’s craft

However, the playwright’s work is reflected in the director’s prompt copy, a separate form of stage instructions worked out in detail by the director, in which each actor is given details as to what is happening onstage, where exactly he has to be in relation to the back, front, left, or right of the stage, and what he is to do at any one time during the play.

This work is still in progress until notified.

Trends and Movements

The Three Unities

The Three Unities of time, action and place were the main principles of French neo-classical drama during part of the 17th century.
They were introduced by Jean Mairet after a misreading of Aristotle's Poetics, and the critic Castelvetro insisted that playwrights and directors adhere to the unities. In the Poetics Aristotle had merely recommended that action should consist only of the main plot without any subplots, and that the time represented by action should not stretch beyond the length of one day. Time merely entered into his recommendations as a hint as to the limits of the attention span the audience could be expected to have. The unity of place, that of the confinement of the action in a play to one locality only, was not mentioned at all.
The effect of the three unities on French drama during this period was that their presentation became very restrictive, and it was only when later dramatists began to avoid mentioning specific times and places that the presentation of plays became more creative again.

Theatre Presentation

Some dramatists and dramaturgists try to achieve particular effects that are not normally sought in a theatre presentation.

Defamiliarization Effect (Verfremdungseffekt)

Bertolt Brecht coined the term "defamiliarization effect" (sometimes called "estrangement effect" or "alienation effect"; German Verfremdungseffekt) for an approach to theater that focused on the central ideas and decisions in the play, and discouraged involving the audience in an illusory world and in the emotions of the characters. Brecht thought the audience required an emotional distance to reflect on what is being presented. See epic theater.

See also


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