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The Theater Experience w/CD-ROM & Theater Goers Guide

  • ISBN13:


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  • Edition: 9th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-07-25
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?


The ideal theater appreciation text for courses focusing on theater elements, The Theater Experience encourages students to be active theatergoers as they learn about the fundamentals of a production. By addressing the importance of the audience, Wilson brings the art of performance to life for students who may have little experience with the medium.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 - The Audience: Its Role and Imagination

The Relationship Between Performer and Audience

The Special Nature of Theater: A Contrast with Film
The Chemistry of Performer-Audience Contact

Theater as a Group Experience

Psychology of Groups
How Audience Makeup Affects the Theater Experience

The Separate Roles of Performers and Spectators

How Should the Audience Be Involved?
Audience Participation through Direct Action

The Imagination of the Audience

Tools of the Imagination: Symbol and Metaphor
The "Reality" of the Imagination

The Imaginary Worlds of Theater

Realism and Nonrealism
Distinguishing Stage Reality from Fact


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 2 - Background and Expectations of the Audience

Background of Individual Spectators

Background of the Period

Theater and Society
Greek Theater and Culture
Elizabethan Theater and Culture
Modern Theater and Culture

Background Information on the Play or Playwright

Expectations: The Variety of Experiences in Modern Theater

Broadway and Touring Theater
Resident Professional Theaters
Alternative Theaters: Off-Broadway and Elsewhere
Children's Theater
College and University Theaters
Multiethnic, Multicultural, and Gender Theaters


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 3 - The Critic and the Audience

Theatrical Criticism

What Is Criticism?
Preparation for Criticism
Critical Criteria
Descriptive and Prescriptive Criticism
Fact and Opinion in Criticism
The Reviewer and the Critic

Getting Started in Theater—Mel Gussow, Critic

The Audience's Relationship to Criticism: Two Issues

The Audience's Independent Judgment
Analysis and Overanalysis


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 4 - Stage Spaces

Creating the Environment

Theater Spaces

Proscenium Stage
Arena Stage
Thrust Stage
Created and Found Spaces
All-Purpose Theater Spaces

Special Requirements of Theater Environments


Exploring Theater on the Web

Play Synopsis: A Raisin in the Sun

Play Synopsis: Fefu and Her Friends

Play Synopsis: King Oedipus


Chapter 5 - Acting: Offstage and in the Past

"Acting" in Everyday Life

Role Playing

Acting in Life versus Acting Onstage

Photo Essay: Audra McDonald

Stage Acting: A Historical Perspective

Physical Demands of Classical Acting
Vocal Demands of Classical Acting
Performing in Classics Today


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 6 - Stage Acting Today

The Acting Experience

Challenges of Acting Today

The Development of Realistic Acting
Performers' Training Today
Synthesis and Integration

Judging Performances


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 7 - The Director and the Producer

The Theater Director

Evolution of the Director: A Historical Perspective
The Director and the Script

Getting Started in Theater—Zelda Fichandler, Director

The Director and the Production
The Director's Power and Responsibility

The Producer or Manager

The Commercial Producer
Noncommercial Theaters

Completing the Picture: Playwright, Director, and Producer


Exploring Theater on the Web

Play Synopsis: Death of a Salesman

Play Synopsis: The Three Sisters


Chapter 8 - The Text: Subject, Purpose, and Perspective


Focus and Emphasis



What Is Point of View?
The Dramatist's Point of View
Society's Point of View
Viewpoint and Genre


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 9 - Tragedy and Other Serious Drama


Traditional Tragedy
Modern Tragedy

Heroic Drama

Bourgeois or Domestic Drama


Getting Started in Theater—Emily Mann, Playwright-Director


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 10 - Comedy and Tragicomedy


Characteristics of Comedy
Techniques of Comedy
Forms of Comedy


What Is Tragicomedy?
Modern Tragicomedy

Theater of the Absurd

Absurdist Plots: Illogicality
Absurdist Language: Nonsense and Non Sequitur
Absurdist Characters: Existential Beings


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 11 - Musical Theater


Drama and Music
The Appeal of Music and Dance
Types of Musical Theater

A Brief History of the American Musical

The 1920s and 1930s: Musical Comedies
The 1920s and 1930s: Advances in Musicals
Musical Theater of the 1940s and 1950s
Musicals from the 1960s through the 1990s


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 12 - Theater of Diversity

African American Theater

Background of African American Theater
African American Theater in the Middle and Late Twentieth Century

Getting Started in Theater—August Wilson, Playwright

Asian American Theater

Background of Asian Theater
Contemporary Asian American Theater

Hispanic Theater

Native American Theater

Feminist Theater

Gay and Lesbian Theater

Performance Art

Fringe Theater Festivals

Postmodernism and Culturally Diverse Theater


Exploring Theater on the Web

Play Synopsis: M. Butterfly

Play Synopsis: The Way of the World

Play Synopsis: Fences


Chapter 13 - Dramatic Characters

Types of Characters

Extraordinary Characters
Representative or Quintessential Characters
Stock Characters
Characters with a Dominant Trait
Minor Characters
A Narrator or Chorus
Nonhuman Characters

Using Dramatic Characters Effectively: Juxtaposition and Interaction

Juxtaposition of Characters
Major and Minor Characters
Orchestration of Characters


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 14 - Conventions of Dramatic Structure

Essentials of Dramatic Structure

The Form of Drama: Plot versus Story
The Subject and Verb of Drama: People and Action
The Crucible of Drama: Conflict

Structural Conventions: The Rules of the Game

Limited Space
Limited Time
Strongly Opposed Forces
A Balance of Forces
Incentive and Motivation

Creating a Dramatic Structure

The Opening Scene
Obstacles and Complications
Crisis and Climax


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 15 - Dramatic Structure: Climactic, Episodic, and Other Forms

Climactic Structure

Characteristics of Climactic Structure
Significant Periods of Climactic Structure

Episodic Structure

Characteristics of Episodic Structure
Significant Periods of Episodic Structure

Combinations of Climactic and Episodic Form

Ritual and Pattern as Dramatic Structure


Serial Structure

Experimental and Avant-Garde Theater

Special Structures

Getting Started in Theater—Richard Foreman, Director, Playwright, and Designer

Segments and Tableaux as Structure

Structure in Musical Theater


Exploring Theater on the Web

Play Synopsis: Waiting for Godot

Play Synopsis: Ghosts

Play Synopsis: A Streetcar Named Desire

Part 5 - The Designers: Environment, Visual Elements, and Sound

Chapter 16 - Scenery

A Brief History of Stage Design

"Stage Sets" in Everyday Life

Scenery for the Stage

Objectives of Scene Design

Aesthetic Aspects of Scene Design

The Scenic Environment
Mood and Style
Realistic and Nonrealistic Scenery
Locale and Period
The Design Concept
The Central Image or Metaphor
Coordination of the Whole

Scene Design and Popular Entertainment

Practical Aspects of Scene Design

The Physical Layout
Materials of Scene Design
Special Effects

Getting Started in Theater—Robin Wagner, Scene Designer

The Process of Scene Design

Elements of Design
Steps in the Design Process

Photo Essay: The Designer Prepares a Production

The Scene Designer's Collaborators
Designing a Total Environment


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 17 - Stage Costumes

Costumes in Everyday Life

Costumes for the Stage

Objectives of Costume Design
The Process of Costume Design

Getting Started in Theater—Jess Goldstein, Costume Designer

The Costume Designer at Work

Other Elements

Hairstyles and Wigs

Coordination of the Whole


Exploring Theater on the Web

Chapter 18 - Lighting and Sound

Stage Lighting

A Brief History of Stage Lighting
Objectives and Functions of Lighting Design
Achieving the Objectives: The Lighting Designer

Getting Started in Theater—Peggy Eisenhauer, Lighting Designer

Sound in the Theater

Sound Reproduction: Advantages and Disadvantages
The Sound Designer
Sound Reproduction and Sound Reinforcement
Sound Technology


Exploring Theater on the Web

Play Synopsis: Mother Courage and Her Children

Epilogue: Integrating the Elements and Predicting the Future

The Audience: Integrating the Elements

Observation and Assimilation
Observing the Elements as Parts of a Whole

The Overall Effect: What Does Theater "Mean"?

The Modern Theater: Different Purposes, Different Experiences

The Future: What Lies Ahead?


Appendix A - Technical Terms

Appendix B - Major Theatrical Forms and Movements

Appendix C - Historical Outline


Select Bibliography


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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