The Creative Spirit: An Introduction to Theatre

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-02-06
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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This introductory text places the students at the center of theatrical creation and provides coverage of the broad range of contemporary theatre. The Creative Spirit includes complete scripts of five plays: August Wilson's Joe Turner's Come and Gone, Wakako Yamauchi's And the Soul Shall Dance, Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Milcha Sanchez Scott's Dog Lady, and Sam Shepard's Buried Child. The text emphasizes the collaborative and creative processes that go into productions, and includes interviews with theatre artists.

Author Biography

Stephanie Arnold received her B.A. degree in English from Stanford University and then continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin where she received an M.F.A. degree in directing and a Ph.D. in dramatic literature and theory. Before joining the Lewis & Clark College faculty in 1986, she taught at Mills College and the University of California, Riverside.

Stephanie Arnold teaches acting, directing, and dramatic literature including a special topics course in Latino Theatre. The productions she has directed include works by classical and contemporary playwrights as well as musicals and opera. She is currently at work on the fifth edition of her textbook, The Creative Spirit: An Introduction to Theatre, which is published by McGraw-Hill and in use at colleges and universities around the country. She has recently returned from leading the Lewis & Clark College off campus study program to New York City.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. xxi
The Nature of Theatrep. 1
The Impulse to Performp. 3
Personal Performancep. 5
Community Performancep. 5
Ritual Performance among the Hopip. 8
Kachina Performancesp. 8
The Hopi Performerp. 8
Performance as Community Obligationp. 10
Professional Performance: Four Storiesp. 10
Bill Irwin: Physical Humorp. 10
Anna Deavere Smith: The Power of Wordsp. 12
Neil Marcus: Storyteller and Dancerp. 13
Frances McDormand: Creation of Characterp. 15
Why They Performp. 17
Summaryp. 20
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 20
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 20
Theatre and Societyp. 23
The Power of the Theatrep. 24
Society and Aesthetic Expressionp. 25
The Collective and Public Nature of Theatrep. 26
Theatre as a Social Forcep. 26
Theatre and Religious Festivalsp. 27
The Greek Theatre: Athens, Fifth Century B.C.E.p. 28
The Origin of Greek Theatre in the Worship of Dionysusp. 28
Medeap. 30
Staging Conventionsp. 31
The Medieval Mystery Cyclep. 35
Staging and Production: A Community Endeavorp. 36
Aesthetic Expression: A Shared, Sacred Languagep. 36
The Role of the Mystery Cycles in Medieval Societyp. 37
The Professional Theatrep. 38
The Elizabethan Theatrep. 39
The Theatre in Societyp. 39
The Nature of Elizabethan Dramap. 40
William Shakespearep. 41
Elizabethan Stagingp. 43
Acting in Elizabethan Dramasp. 45
The Beijing Opera of Chinap. 45
A Formal Societyp. 46
Playwrights and Playsp. 46
A Language of Gesturep. 47
Acting and Stagingp. 48
The Beijing Opera and the Communist Revolutionp. 50
Theatre as a Mirror of Societyp. 51
Theatre and Social Changep. 52
The Sustaining Power of the Theatre: Waiting for Godot in Sarajevop. 55
Summaryp. 57
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 58
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 58
The Nature of Performance: The Theatre Practitionersp. 61
The Playwright's Visionp. 63
Looking at Joe Turner's Come and Gone
Exploring the Text of Joe Turner's Come and Gonep. 66
Plot and Characters: A Meeting of Two Worldsp. 67
Historical and Cultural Contexts of the Playp. 68
Theatre as Historyp. 69
The Aftermath of Slavery: Peonage and Sharecroppingp. 69
Migration to the Northp. 69
The Metaphor of the Roadp. 70
The Oral Traditionp. 71
The Playwright's Sourcesp. 71
Bessie Smith and Romare Beardenp. 71
Mill Hand's Lunch Bucketp. 73
Folk Sources and W. C. Handyp. 73
The Complete Text of Joe Turner's Come and Gonep. 76
Producing Joe Turner's Come and Gonep. 115
The Construction of Meaning Through Collaborationp. 115
The Oregon Shakespeare Festivalp. 115
The Actors at Workp. 116
Understanding the Playp. 116
The Rehearsal Processp. 117
Physical Characterizationp. 119
Staging the Jubap. 120
Drumming and Dancingp. 120
Text and Verbal Improvisationp. 121
The Meaning of the Jubap. 122
Expanding the Stage Image: The Work of the Designersp. 123
The Set Designp. 124
The Costume Designp. 125
The Lighting Designp. 126
Conclusion: History and Meaning in Joe Turner's Come and Gonep. 127
The Quest for Selfp. 127
Family and Inheritance: The Way from the Past to the Futurep. 128
Summaryp. 129
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 129
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 130
The Art of the Actorp. 133
The Presence of the Actorp. 134
The Actor's Craftp. 136
The Work of the Actorp. 138
Competing for Roles: The Auditionp. 138
Preparing for the Rolep. 140
The Rehearsal Processp. 141
Approaches to Actingp. 146
The Internal Approachp. 146
The External Approachp. 147
Acting Cordelia in King Learp. 148
Gestural Actingp. 150
The Performancep. 153
Theatre and Filmp. 154
Becoming an Actorp. 155
Summaryp. 156
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 157
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 157
The Directorp. 159
The History of the Directorp. 160
The Director and the Development of Realismp. 160
The Director and the Determination of Stylep. 163
The Visionary Director: Jerzy Grotowskip. 164
Ping Chongp. 166
Approaches to Directingp. 170
The Director at Workp. 171
Choosing the Playp. 171
The Director's Initial Response to the Playp. 173
Creating Metaphorsp. 173
Working With the Actorsp. 175
Castingp. 175
Nontraditional Castingp. 176
The Work Environmentp. 176
Improvisationp. 177
Staging the Playp. 178
Focusp. 178
Spatial Composition and Character Developmentp. 180
Rhythm and Pacingp. 180
Preparing the Play for Performancep. 181
The Director's Trainingp. 182
Summaryp. 183
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 184
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 184
The Designersp. 187
StageCraft and the Theatrep. 189
The Theatrical Spacep. 190
The Proscenium Theatrep. 191
Thrust, Arena, and Black Box Stagesp. 191
The Implications of Theatre Architecture for Designersp. 191
Three-Dimensional Spacep. 194
Meetings and Interactionsp. 195
The History of Scene Designp. 198
Scene Design Todayp. 200
Designing The Grapes of Wrathp. 200
Costume Designp. 203
Stylistic Unityp. 204
The Psychology of Characterp. 205
The Costume Designer and the Actorp. 207
Lighting Designp. 208
The History of Light in the Theatrep. 209
The Lighting Designer's Materialsp. 209
Conceptualizing with Lightp. 210
The Light Plot and Light Cuesp. 211
Visibilityp. 211
Focusp. 212
Mood and Atmospherep. 212
The Rhythm of Lightp. 212
The Growing Prominence of Sound Designp. 213
The Integration of Sound into the Production Processp. 213
The Sound Designer's Materialsp. 213
Environmental Sound and Sound Reinforcementp. 215
Summaryp. 215
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 216
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 217
The Musical Theatrep. 219
Origins of Musical Theatre in Americap. 220
The Broadway Theatrep. 221
Oklahoma!p. 221
West Side Storyp. 223
My Fair Ladyp. 224
Cabaretp. 226
Stephen Sondheimp. 228
A Chorus Linep. 230
New Directions for the Musical Theatrep. 232
Savion Glover and Bring in da Noise, Bring in da Funkp. 232
Jonathan Larson and Rentp. 234
Julie Taymor and The Lion Kingp. 235
Susan Stroman and Contactp. 238
Summaryp. 240
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 241
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 241
The Nature of Style: Realism and Theatricalismp. 243
Understanding Style: Realismp. 245
Introduction to Realismp. 246
"Realistic Elements in Joe Turner's Come and Gonep. 246
Realism in Filmp. 247
Origins of Realismp. 248
The Social Background of Realismp. 249
European Realismp. 250
Henrik Ibsenp. 250
August Strindbergp. 251
Anton Chekhovp. 251
American Realismp. 253
Lillian Hellmanp. 253
Poetic Realism: Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williamsp. 254
Konstantin Stanislavsky and Realistic Actingp. 256
Summaryp. 257
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 260
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 261
Expressing a Worldview Through Realismp. 263
Looking at And the Soul Shall Dance
Exploring the Text of and the Soul Shall Dancep. 264
Plot and Charactersp. 265
Personal, Cultural, and Historical Contexts of the Playp. 265
The Play as Memoryp. 265
Personal Historyp. 268
Prejudice, Discrimination, and Internmentp. 268
The Play as Social Documentp. 269
Evoking a World Through Detailp. 270
The Complete Text of and the Soul Shall Dancep. 272
Producing and the Soul Shall Dancep. 303
Introduction to East West Playersp. 303
History of East West Playersp. 303
Location and Physical Spacep. 303
Staging the Playp. 305
The Director's Prologuep. 305
The Influence of Asian Theatrep. 306
Staging a Period Play: The Work of the Director and the Actorsp. 306
Building Character Relationshipsp. 310
Contrasting Productions: East West Players and Northwest Asian American Theatrep. 313
Scene Design and the Physical Spacep. 313
Interpreting Family Relationshipsp. 313
Sexuality and Genderp. 315
Summaryp. 316
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 317
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 317
Understanding Style: Theatricalismp. 319
Exposing the Mechanics of the Theatrep. 321
Expressionismp. 321
German Expressionismp. 322
American Expressionism: Eugene O'Neillp. 323
Epic Theatre: Bertolt Brechtp. 325
Brecht's Concept of Alienationp. 326
Brecht's Approach to Actingp. 327
Theatre of the Absurdp. 328
A Revolution in Movement: Martha Grahamp. 329
A New Dance Vocabularyp. 329
Costume and Set as Partners in Dancep. 331
Total Theatre: Robert Wilsonp. 331
Wilson's Experiencep. 332
The Interior Landscapep. 332
A New Meeting of East and West; Shen Weip. 333
From Opera to Modern Dancep. 333
Choreographer and Designerp. 335
Summaryp. 336
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 336
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 337
Expressing a Worldview through Theatricalismp. 339
Looking at Angels in America: Millennium Approaches
Exploring the Text of Angels in America: Millennium Approachesp. 341
Plot and Characters: A World in Spiritual Collapsep. 341
The Role of Roy Cohnp. 342
The Shifting Point of Viewp. 342
Influences on Kushner as Playwright: Bertolt Brecht and Caryl Churchillp. 342
The Historical Framework of Angels in Americap. 344
The Character Roy Cohn as a Historical Figurep. 345
Roy Cohn and the Plot of Angels in Americap. 347
Roy Cohn and Ethel Rosenbergp. 348
The Complete Text of Angels in America: Millennium Approachesp. 350
Producing Angels in Americap. 398
The Eureka Theatre and the Playwrightp. 398
The Role of the Dramaturgp. 398
The Developmental Processp. 400
Expanding Opportunities for the Development of New Playsp. 404
Summaryp. 405
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 405
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 406
The Nature of Drama: Structure and Genrep. 407
The Elements of Drama and Dramatic Structurep. 409
Fundamental Elements of Structurep. 410
Characterp. 410
Plotp. 411
Languagep. 412
Musicp. 417
Spectaclep. 417
The Organization of the Drama in Space and Timep. 419
The Duration of the Performancep. 419
Building the Drama: The Internal Rhythmp. 420
Conflict, Rising Tension, and Resolutionp. 420
Summaryp. 422
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 423
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 423
Genrep. 425
Introduction to Genrep. 426
Tragedy and Comedyp. 427
Origins in Greek Dramap. 428
Aristotle on Tragedy and Comedyp. 428
Tragedy: Catharsis and Awarenessp. 429
Plot Summaries of Selected Tragediesp. 429
Common Themes of Tragedyp. 431
Can Tragedy Exist Today?p. 432
Melodramap. 434
Tragicomedyp. 436
Farcep. 439
Writing About the Theatrep. 440
The Dramaturgp. 441
The Criticp. 443
Two Reviews of Medeap. 445
Summaryp. 450
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 450
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 451
Choosing a Genre: Comedyp. 453
Looking at Dog Lady
Exploring the Text of Dog Ladyp. 454
Plot and Charactersp. 454
The Playwright's Sources: An Intersection of Culturesp. 455
Characteristics of the Playp. 456
Blended Languagep. 456
Magical Realismp. 457
Reinterpreting Catholic Imagery: The Virgin of Guadalupep. 458
A Latina Identityp. 460
The Complete Text of Dog Ladyp. 461
Producing Dog Ladyp. 473
Intarp. 473
Set Design and Ming Cho Leep. 473
Pop Art and Forced Perspectivep. 473
Breaking the Illusionp. 474
Staging and Actingp. 474
Sight Gagsp. 476
Vocal Stylep. 477
Using Comedy to Shift the Worldviewp. 478
Summaryp. 479
Topics for Discussion and Writingp. 480
Suggestions for Further Readingp. 480
The Projectp. 483
Looking at Buried Child
Preparing a Productionp. 484
Buried Child and Alternative Play Choicesp. 484
Introduction to Sam Shepardp. 485
Alternative Playsp. 487
Working on the Projectp. 487
Sequence of Workp. 487
Topics for Group Discussion (Group Meeting 1)p. 488
Group Decisions (Group Meeting 2)p. 488
Project Assignmentsp. 488
The Directorp. 488
Character Analysisp. 489
Scene Designp. 489
Costume Designp. 490
Musicp. 491
Program Notep. 492
Posterp. 492
Conclusionp. 492
The Complete Text of Buried Childp. 493
Suggestion for Further Readingp. 532
Guided Writing Assignmentsp. 533
Notesp. 539
Glossaryp. 545
Creditsp. 551
Indexp. 555
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