UNIT 3CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO THEATRE Why Theatre? Perhaps, that’s thequestion you may ask. What has theatre to do with Animation? We all know thatTheatre is telling a story on stage with actors performing live! Isn’t it? InAnimation too, we tell a story through actors, though not through ‘real’actors, but through actors created out of our imagination! The actors inAnimation are what we call Characters! And we need these Characters to actwell. Isn’t it? And hence, Theatre! Through Theatre, we may learn a few lessonsabout acting and staging that may help us in creating a better Animation.What is Theatre?Theatre is a form of fine art that uses live performers or actors to present theexperience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specificplace, often a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to theaudience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance.
Otherelements of art such as painted sceneries and stagecraft such as lighting are used to enhance the theatreexperience.Elementsof Theatre:1) Performers2) Audience3) Director4) TheaterSpace5) DesignAspects (scenery,costume, lighting, and sound)6) Text orScript (which includes focus, purpose, point of view, dramatic structure,and dramatic characters) 1) Performers – The peopleor actors presenting a story onstage through various characters are theperformers. When the actor/actress is on stage, they must be true to thecharacter they are portraying. The roles they are playing have to beconvincing and easy to relate to, in order to interest the audience. 2) Audience – The essence of theatre is theinteraction between the performer and audience. Theater needs to beexperienced live. The audience determines whether a production is successful,therefore, it is very important to keep them interested in the play orperformance being staged by giving strong performances and presenting engagingstories. 3) Director – The directormakes certain that the performers understand the text and deliver thescript efficiently.
The director helps to bring all the elements together – theactors, the stage effects and the script. 4) Theater Space- Anothernecessary element of theater is the space in which performers or audiencescome together. It is essential to have a stage, or a specific area, where theactors can perform. It is also essential to have a place for the audienceto sit or stand comfortably. 5) Design Aspects – VisualAspects – costumes, lighting, and some form of scenic background Nonvisual Aspect – sound.
6)Text – A text or ascript is needed for theatre to be performed. One key element for writing is‘conflict’ – the characters should have a goal to reach, for doing that theyhave to go through a series of conflicts. Without conflict, the story would betoo straightforward and boring. So think on those lines as well – how can thescript be made more interesting?STAGINGStaging is the process of selecting, designing, adapting to, ormodifying the performance space for a play or film. It impliesthe presentation of a film or a play in a manner that will help in narrating/performingthe story in a clear and attractive way to the intended audience.
This caninclude such things as positions of actors on stage (often referred toas blocking), their gestures and movements, the scenic background, theprops and costumes, lighting, and sound effects. The first thing that theaudience of a play sees is the stage set, the physical objects thatsuggest the world of the play. The stage set is usually determined orrecommended by the Playwright(the personwho writes Plays), but the degree of detail and specificity vary from oneplaywright to another and from one literary period to another. In film, stagingis generally called set dressing.ACTINGActing is an activity in which a story is told by means ofits enactment byan actor who adopts a character, be it in theatre, television, film, radio, or mimicry.Acting involves a broad range of skills, including awell-developed imagination, capacity to understand emotions, physical expressiveness, vocalprojection, clarity of speech, and theability to interpret drama. Acting also demands an ability to employ dialects, accents, improvisation, observationand emulation, mime, and stage combat. Many actors train for a longperiod of time in specialist programs or Acting Schools to develop theseskills.
The vast majority of professional actors have undergone extensivetraining. REHEARSINGRehearsal is a process in which actors prepare and practice aperformance, exploring the conflict between characters, testingspecific actions in the scene, and finding means to convey a particular sense.Some actors continue to rehearse a scene throughout the run of a show in orderto keep the scene fresh in their minds and engaging for the audience.5 Basic Acting RulesLet us now learn the a fewbasic rules to be followed to be a better Actor:1.
Who are you playing? What is the character that youare playing? Know your character in detail; how he/she thinks and feels, whatis the body language that is characteristic to the role you are playing? Howthe character talks; does he/she use hand movements while talking? How he/shewalks? What is the temperament of the character? Is he/she a jolly person or anangry one?Watch performances of actors closely, in films, television and theatre. Watchpeople in real life, how each person thinks and talks, watch their body languagein different situations, and yes don’t forget to watch yourself in differentsituations; that’s the best ground to learn acting!2. Where are you? Rememberto take a moment before you begin acting to establish in your imaginationexactly where you are. The environment is a crucial stimulus. It takes a briefmoment to orient yourself into the place.
Without that connection it cansometimes be very hard to see anything other than the audition room.3. What is your relationship? Youshould have a good sense of who you are speaking to and what they mean to you.Accordingly, the various actors relate to one another.4.
What is happening? Whatis the main event? What is the main essence of what is going on? Knowing thiskeeps you from going off in a different direction from the scene as given inthe script. 5. Where are you coming from? Thisis to be understood in both emotional and physical aspects. The actors have tobe clear how they link themselves to the previous and subsequent scenes,otherwise they will not have a sense of direction. 6. What are you doing? Yourcharacter is there to do something.
This something must be active, it must support your objective, and it must leadto another thing. It must push the scene forward. Otherwise you are merelygiving words and not depicting actions.Let us now look at another Performing Art Form thatmay help us in becoming better actors and Animators- Mimicry!MIMICRYIn biology, we know that a mimic is anyliving species that has evolved to resemble another successful species. But inAnimation, to mimic or Mimicry is the process of observing and replicatinganother’s behavior, also called imitation in entertainment.
AMimic is defined as a performer who imitates a person for amusing or satiricaleffect.ElementsOf Mimicry 1)THEHEADThe movements of the head areof vital importance in mimicry. For example, · A drooping head indicates shame and grief.· Nodding the head vertically denotes approval.· Shaking the head sideways signifies dissent. The foreheadgives the best indication of one’s intelligence and intellectual development. Inthe forehead the most active and independent muscles are located, controllingattention, doubt, reflection, pain, etc.
2)THEEYESThe eyes are capable of expressing nearly all the states of mindand of human passion. They seem to be the most expressive of all the parts ofthe body. This body part can express both noble sentiments and high spirits aswell as hate, jealousy, and other negative feelings. They are called themirrors of the soul since they can communicate a wide range of emotions andmental states. 3)THE NOSEThe nose has a great importance in mimicry, as it is a majorelement of aesthetics. In spite of the fact that it is one of the least movableparts of the face, it helps a lot in expressing various feelings, especiallythose in which, the respiratory system is involved, like when depicting angeror agitation, or fear. The act of breathing and the expansion of the nostrilsare linked. In fear or anger, when the breathing is affected, the nostrilsbecome dilated or constricted.
It also helps in depicting the expressions of pride,haughtiness and arrogance. In these expressions the nose is active. 4)THE MOUTH ,LIPS, CHEEKS, CHIN AND JAWThe mouth is one of the most expressive parts of the face. Themouth has various muscles used for chewing, for speech and song and is verypowerful in expression (especially the corners of the mouth that are raisedupwards in expressions of high spirits and fall in expressions of low spirits).For example,· In joy, satisfaction, contentment, and other such positiveemotions, the corners of the mouth curl upwards, thus producing a smile.
· In sorrow, disappointment, moral pain, fear, etc., they turn down.THE EARSThe ear is of great importance in the analysis of a character, intheatrical mimicry it is of little service to the actor. It is one of the leastexpressive parts of the body, rarely movable.
Therefore, all the actor shouldknow about the ears is in the part of make-up.THE ARMS AND HANDSTheshoulder, the forearm, and the hand, with its fingers, are the contributors tohand gestures. Hand gestures should never be stiff or artificial, nor try toexpress that which belongs purely to facial mimicry.
For example, · A disappointment at a bit of news, causes the arms to dropheavily.· In anger, the closed fists are projected toward the sky or theobject of anger or hatred.THE TRUNK AND BREATHING ACTIONThe trunk is of importance in the expression of many emotions. Infear, it instinctively contracts, as it also does in admiration. In love, itexpands, as though inclining towards the object of love; in hate, it shrinksback. The entire trunk movements have an influence upon the breathing organs,resulting in accelerated breathing in moments of happiness and joy; irregularbreathing in hate and anger; and in near paralysis in moments of fear andterror, etc.
THE FEETIt is notadvised to rest the body on both feet equally, for, besides creatinguncomfortable positions, the actor will find difficulty when it is necessary totake a step forward, some-times to the extent of looking extremely ridiculous. Ifthe body is supported on one foot, he can readily place the other in positionwhen the action so requires. The feet are the principal factors in movements,such as walking, dancing, etc. WALKINGThewalk should be according to the character represented and, therefore, shouldhave as much purpose as any other action. Although the walk should always benatural, easy, never stiff, there are well-defined differences between thewalks to be used in comedy and in tragedy. In comedy, the walk is lively, thesteps are short, quick, swinging. In tragedy, the walk consists ofwell-measured, sustained steps, heavy, long and mysterious.
KNEELINGKneeling rapidly and at the same time on both feet is good onlyfor comic effect. To kneel with grace, it is necessary to take one step forwardand rest the body on the forward foot until the second knee touches the ground.When picking up an object from the ground, act in the same way.MANNER OF BEING SEATEDThe manner of taking one’s seat has always been considered anindication of good or bad breeding, even from ancient times. A well-educatedperson will take his seat carefully, without crossing the feet. THE SALUTATIONPeople salute each other in different ways.
A haughty man willnever bow first, and when answering he hardly touches his hat. A poor or modestman bows low. A beggar takes off his hat, full of timidity, extending his handto receive the gift.