Analyzing the range of problems that arise from the correlation between the content and the form of a performance, we conclude that most of them are generated by a lack of knowledge and the wrong attitude to the theatrical methodology inherited from the great reformer of the stage - K.Stanislavsky, especially to his latest discovery - the method of active analysis. It uses the method of physical actions as a practical application tool and includes, both theoretically and practically, the whole process of converting a play on the stage, thus helping us find its stage equivalent in an organic way.
It is totally wrong to confuse a method that is so useful in the stage creation process, which is a well-proven technique and a way of conversion, with a variety of new theatrical aesthetics. Until now, except for the empirical mode of creation, there has been only one way of distinguishing a unique and an appropriate form that best reflects the content of a dramatic work – this is the method of active analysis.
This method implies the rational and emotional knowledge of the author’s idea in his work, the knowledge of the thought that goes through every scene and every phrase in it, as well as the emotional attitude generated by this thought towards the events and the characters.
What could we possibly mean by the expression “composition role”? To this question we will try to find an answer as comprehensive as possible. Are we talking only about those “character roles” mentioned by Stanislavsky? This reference can be considered, since all those character roles require stage composition, the way Stanislavsky described his own acting experiences. But is this the only landmark? Should we label as composition roles only the characters that demand text-triggered stage composition? Indeed, there are characters that assume, within their construction, elements that do not belong to the actor as an individual. But are these the only cases when the term applies?
The composition role is therefore not limited to only a few obvious milestones identified in the text. On a closer look, some characters may require a stage composition based on external elements, even if this problem is not apparent. Yet we must not misunderstand things and come to the conclusion that all roles, following a deep psychological analysis, become composition roles. If we agree that the construction of a character involves many elements pertaining to externalization, we must consider the cases where such suggestions originate from the director. Some directors claim scenic effects from the actors, sometimes contradicting the natural line of the character created by the author, maybe even completely modifying its construction. How reprehensible, however, is the acting effect? Has it only arisen from a desire to simulate virtuosity?
The term “effect” in composition can be accepted in the sense of the element helping to achieve the contrasts indispensable to the stage creation, about which Michael Chekhov speaks in To the Actor. He confers to it a broader acceptance.
Solutions not related to elementary normality can give the actor an unbearable sense of awkwardness, inevitably leading to effort. This effort will not go unnoticed by the spectator. And the spectator, almost always without hesitation, gives a negative verdict to such a performance.
And yet, visible manifestations that seem to be chaotic can be lived from the inside, which averts effort in interpretation and artificiality. The actor can avoid some clumsiness in emotions, clumsiness that is spoken about by Dario Fo, among others.
One of the issues theatre must deal with when approaching the topic of genocide is representation. How can theatre, an art of mimesis, represent extreme violence, absolute evil? What can be shown, so as to honour the memory of the victims and at the same time convey the idea of radical evil? At the turn of the 21st century, two playwrights, Enzo Cormann (France) and Juan Mayorga (Spain) approached the issue of the Holocaust through memory. In Toujours l’orage [Always the Storm](1997) and respectively Himmelweg [Way to heaven] (2002) the protagonists revisit, after several decades, the traumatic events of 1944, when they witnessed or participated in the perversion of life and theatre by the Nazi. This paper will analyse the modalities of the memorial mechanism, among which the metatheatrical devices facilitating the representation of the traumatic event.
Ever since the prehistoric age, people have been endowing some objects with symbolic status and, by animating them, they have turned them into means of communicating profound truths about man and life. The need to communicate led to conceiving a system of representation through which exterior forms of expression were created and assumed, a particular way of making the invisible visible.
From generation to generation, the theatre teacher stands in front of a new experience and that is why, each time, they have to approach the group of students by a different manner, trying to find common points, the binder that unites the team, to determine it to function flawlessly, united. Taking into account that each student comes with different life experiences, a different personality from the other actors, different visions and expectations, the teacher has the difficult task, in the first stage, to build a team, to make the students aware that everyone should “bring their contribution” on the construction of the show (or exam), to help, to listen, to be present and involved. The stage is not a personal fight, but a battle of ideas, which helps us to evolve, grow professionally and this is why the theatre performance cannot be made in a hostile, conflicting environment. This is how, precisely because of this need to unite a divided group made up of extremely talented students, but with totally different and powerful personalities, the acting teacher suggests as a study theme for the first semester ancient theatre, forcing the team to be together throughout the rehearsals and the show-examination on the stage, giving the choir’s soul and voice, to listen, to take over and to put, each of them, a brick in the construction of the main character, which, through the directorial vision, belonged to all and not to a single performer. This is how a merged, united team and a festival performance were built: Medea.
This paper examines a series of practices circumscribed to verbatim theatre, which uses interviews or other documentary materials, in order to engage the audience in relation to urgent, controversial topics of general or local interest. Although it has just recently entered theatrical usage, verbatim has proved to be a flexible method, open to expressions from the most diverse. We will follow the approaches of some directors or playwrights, as Anna Deveare Smith, Moisés Kaufman, David Hare, Max Stafford-Clark, Richard Norton-Taylor or Alecky Blythe, who are concerned with reflecting the undistorted reality, but at the same time with providing an intense theatrical experience. In this respect, we analyze how the tensions between objective and subjective, between real and fictional, between content and form are negotiated, as well as the impact that these choices have on the artistic product, respectively to what extent the authenticity of the sources remains unaltered when it comes on stage.
Theatre as living art, the central purpose of which is life, existence, that is, that can perceive matter as a set of images, a meeting point of the spirit with matter, enters the realm of memory, when it requires precise indications necessary for the scenic representation. Memory is a living organism, it is the warm fire of preparing theatre. We perceive Hamlet acting on stage because we remember that perception. Hamlet – the one that we will see in a few years, in a completely different time, in another geography, will be perceived, criticized, understood, by evoking the memories that have survived or have been adapted, transformed, reinterpreted. The memory facilitates the meeting between the actor and the character, the memory facilitates the meeting between the director and the text, between the director and the concept, the memory brings the playwright face to face with his work. In the The Misunderstanding, Albert Camus imagines psychological dimensions where memory plays the role of central mechanism. We are face to face with the absurd man, who through the awareness of death and crime meets his truth, but at the same time we discover a dissociation of the characters that, despite their rigidity and coldness, maintain the appearance of a structural and functional fluidity. The dialogue has the resonance of a frequency that vibrates from the river of collective memory. The individual memory has split and is to be absorbed by another memory, one of the theatre, a universal memory, a memory of a theatre that was born from memory.
The dramaturgy and the essays of Maurice Maeterlinck are the starting point for essential changes in the art of theatre representation, marking the transition from realism, which had become naturalist, towards a theatre in which the essence and theatricality conduct to a revitalization of the theatre. The Russian directors V.E. Meyerhold and K.S. Stanislavsky are two of the most important theatre personalities who have searched for the new forms of theatre. Analyzing the first steps of Meyerhold’s directing, it is easy to see that the symbolist roots of theatre making can be found in the French theatre art, also inspired by Maeterlinck. Stanislavsky, the master from The Moscow Art Theatre, was also the first director to stage The Blue Bird, before the text was even published. We shall follow, in the next pages, fragments from the Russian theatre which refer to these episodes.
The actor, through his/her memories, images and own representations, will confer the perfect resonance to his/her gestures and scenic actions. Linked to the performance, the representation, the mental images and the internal view give life, uniqueness, beauty and truthfulness to the part, construct the scenic imagery in an expressive and original manner. The actor, in his/her creation, uses on one hand his/her memory (sensorial, visual, auditive, gustatory, olfactive, kinesthetic, imagistic, voluntarily cognitive, involuntary and affective) and his/her past experiences and, on the other hand, sensations, perceptions, representations and reproductive imagination. Memory and imagination, the representations and mental images, thus become primordial tools in scenic creation, having the extraordinary power of updating on an intuitive level, relevant and significative, the actor’s experiences. If through memory the actor has the possibility of reproducing, evoking and experiencing sound, image, situations, spaces, circumstances and relations from his/her prior experience, through representations, images and his/her reproductive memory, he/she detaches him/herself from this concrete reality and is able to create a new world, imaginary and fantastic. The actor has to be aware of the tools he/she works with, has to develop his/her flexibility and the mobility of his/her imagination through the reconstruction and recombination of certain representations, by elaborating images: evoking an image, studying it in detail, completing, developing and direct influence of the image through subtle intervention, suggestion and collaboration, as to incorporate it in his/her scenic performance.