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David Porter » Entries tagged with "performing arts"

Multiple Roles: Stanislavskian vs Brechtian Techniques in Acting

  Sometimes performers play many parts in a show or film; or a part is shared by several. Some even just swap roles. It’s all part of art’s rich diversity. Professional musical performers are used to being ‘swingers’: they swing from role to role in the company according to need or illness of others. Often they don’t know till they arrive. These are not just understudies, because they play something every performance. In ballet and opera, there’s frequently doubling-up of lead roles, or in a long run of any kind of show, the lead will occasionally be taken by somebody else. That is entirely different from multi-roling. An actor plays more than one role in a given production, as a deliberate device. John Cleese played six in Monty Python and the Holy Grail … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Rebellion as Adolescent Stage and Performance Stage Inspiration

While not as loud as earlier generations, youth rebels today are part of growing up and helping to create some great art works, just like their fathers. Musicians, film makers, poets and writers have expressed rebellion against parents, governments and norms of the time, provoking outrage through their music, clothes, hair, tattoos, piercings and public behaviour. The Decadent Thirties, and Swinging Sixties with its “protest movement,” stand out. However, history is littered with parents and children falling out, each unable to understand the other. Accumulated wisdom and proffered advice is usually rejected. Each generation makes its own mistakes. Historical Rebellions, Uprisings and Wars There are shades of rebellion: from passive resistance via civil disobedience, through subversion to revolt, insurrection, mutiny, terrorism, revolution … Read entire article »

Filed under: Articles at Suite 101

Political Performance Art Can Be a Right Song and Dance

Performing Arts (dance, drama, music) and politics make natural travellers on the same road. Whether they change minds, win hearts, may be another matter. Political arts are about raising awareness of issues, ideas and responses to society. Picasso’s 1937 painting Guernica showing the tragedy of bombing civilians during the Spanish Civil War has become an iconic anti-war artpiece. Visual and performance art is often in the form of protest against a government, a system, an act of war, on stage, in song or on film. People hear Edwin Starr’s Motown song, ‘War, what is it good for? Absolutely nothing…. only friend is the undertaker’, and know it’s a political, antiwar pop song. Other classics include Universal Soldier, by Buffy Sainte-Marie (1964), Eve of Destruction … Read entire article »

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Political Theatre is a Major Performance Artform

If politics is the art of the possible and the theatre is about communication, political theatre is one of the strongest weapons a stage activist can have. Political performance traces back to the ancient Greeks. Stage lampooning those in authority was banned in the Greek republic after The Birds and Lysistrata; since when playwrights have used stages to convey messages, demand political action or change government policy and public opinion. Antigone is political: quoted by Aristotle on the loyalties of a citizen, adapted in 1944 by Anouilh setting it in the French resistance against the Nazis, while Brecht in 1948 made it more radically anti-Hitler. Bertolt Brecht, at the Forefront of Political Theatre Political performance is the expression of strongly-held beliefs, protesting at society or promoting a particular belief system. As politics … Read entire article »

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Physical Theatre: Ritual is Key Ingredient in Performance-Making

Life’s rhythms revolve round rituals: daily tasks, birthdays, weddings and funerals. In creating meaning on stage, performers harness the power of rites. Almost everything people do regularly has a ritualistic feel. Getting dressed every morning, preparing/sharing food, anniversaries, courtships, conducting business and great occasions of state – are rituals, patterns of regular human behaviour. Often, social convention rites/rituals dictate further ritual: for example, shaking hands on greeting, waving goodbye. Devisers of performance must reflect that in their creating. Then they have to experiment with it. In psychiatry an action performed obsessively can be interpreted as evidence of compulsive disorder. It is often revealed in manic dance. A ritualistic dance or going through the regular motions of a life with all its … Read entire article »

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Unusual Performance Spaces

Site-Specific Events Turn Up in the Most Unlikely Places English theatre director Peter Brook said in 1968 he could take any empty space and call it a bare stage. Nowadays, many performances turn any old spaces into stages. Whether seeing a play in a traditional theatre, a band in a huge auditorium or a sporting event in a magnificent arena, the setting is a major part of the total experience in terms of ambience and atmosphere. Increasingly in the arts, smaller, more intimate, non-specialist designed venues are the settings for performances of all sorts. Using a proscenium-arched stage, a thrust stage, a circus arena or, like at the Globe Theatre in London, a replica of Shakespearean style thrust-almost circular staging, makes a huge difference to the perception of the plays by the audiences. … Read entire article »

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Performing Arts

You may not think that the performing arts have a lot to do with business, writing or training. However, the applicable skills are legion. The enjoyment and satisfaction that comes from performing, from writing for performance, for directing others, for producing a complex show, are all skills that can help you. As my articles at Suite 101, my career in teaching the arts in schools, working in children’s theatre, arts reviews in papers, writing and producing drama, directing musicals and plays all show – I love the performing arts! My first article for the Norfolk edition of Places & Faces Magazine (May 2011) was an interview with co-founder and artistic director of Eastern Angles Theatre, Ivan Cutting. I made some suggestions to Thalia Theatre group in Norwich to see if there are ways … Read entire article »

Filed under: The Performing Arts