Thursday, December 17, 2009


You should really cut out the group work final, group work in between is ok, but for a final? I don't think that's a great idea for the simple fact that someone always gets stuck doing everything, or they throw it together real fast and it's total crap. I'm not gonna let other people play with my grades and I'm definately not going to turn in crap, so I'll just do the whole powerpoint from ideas we discussed, and my own I threw in there to fill in the blanks.

So yeah, director's unifying vision: attempt to put the audience into these women's shoes. Put the audience though the darkness that is these women's new lives during this war. Make the play as dark as possible and really give it a sense of destruction and suffering. Let the audience feel for these women and make the play as real feeling as possible. Then at the end of the play give them a sense of newly found hope tearing through the darkness, with the uniting of Mama and Christian.

The theater space is something I completely disagree with, it sure takes a lot of research to pick a theater right down the street from you, but that's what they wanted. If that was my choice I would put the play on an outdoor stage. And apparently everyone jacked my idea, I knew everyone was being way too quiet when I was talking to my group! Well too bad none of them could come up with a better answer then it would be hot. After checking out different outdoor theaters I chose the forest theater located at the university of north carolina at chapel hill. It would be the perfect spot for this play. I wanted it outside to really give it a feeling of exposure. Being exposed to the elements will symbolize these women being exposed to the war and all the other elements that come with it. The stage setting will give a slight sense of protection, but you will still be left out in the open, which is exactly what these women have been going through. Mama's place gives them a bit of protection, but in actuallity they are still vulnerable to the wrath of these men. Also I wanted the place to really have a jungle feel, we're not really going to find a stage in a jungle, so a forest is close enough. With the surrounding scenery the audience will feel more like they are really here with these women, they are in the Congo. Plus the natural sounds of the forest would help with the play's sounds. Instead of putting jungle sounds on a tape, we will have birds and what not really there giving us the a sense of the forest and sounds that these women would hear out where they are living. To me that would be the ideal setting of this play. Seems to be alot better then shoving it in a little community theater, and if it had to be indoors, I think it would be neat to have like a dinner show. Make the audience feel like they are hanging out at Mama's place, give the whole place a bar feel and have the waitresses come around in skimpy outfits. The only problem with that would be that the audience might get too into it, talking or even yelling during important scenes because they feel so into the regular wine and dine aspect of it, which would distract other audience members from hearing what's going on. That would still be pretty cool even with that slim chance of that occuring. Oh yeah and of course possible sexual harrasment problems on the waitresses, I guess we could just get real strippers who are used to comments like that, to come and wait tables. Hahaha, ok enough of that on to the other aspects.

The stage design would be really old looking run-down wood. Just as stated in my group project. In front of the already set stone walls would be built wooden walls, to give it more of a sense of being old, rustic, and slight poverty. All of the props such as the bar, pool table, tables, and chairs would all be run down looking. When a backroom scene is occuring a bed will be brought out along with a decent sized night stand with the old radio on it. They will be placed on the front of the stage and the other props for the bar room will be pushed off toward the back. The set stone walls of the stage have openings already set on them, the built walls will have doors right in front of these openings. The one off to the left will lead to the outside and is where everyone will come in at and the opening to the right will lead to the back room.

On to the costumes. They will be the same as shown in the group project. Influences for the costumes from left to right, top to bottom. Josephine would be more provacatively dressed, then Salima will be border, then Sophie would be conservatively dressed. Sophie is damaged and to avoid men trying to be with her if she isn't putting her goods out there then the men might be less attracted to wanting her and would look more at the girls flaunting their stuff. Then at the bottom we have the government soldiers and influences for Mama's outfit.

The lights will be bright enough for the audience to make everything out but be relatively dim which will give a sense of darkness in the bar. All the on stage lights used in the bar will be red, representing the bloodshed in the Congo and the inner horrors the women are facing. At the end of the play when Mama tells all, the lights brighten giving a sense of new love and hope breaking through the darkness. During backroom scenes the lights will be focused on the bed and the small surrounding area, to hide the background and set up invisible walls. During the Fortune scene where he is standing outside in the rain the same thing as the focused lighting on the beds will occur, the lights will be focused on Fortune and Mama on the front of the stage, hiding the props behind them in the darkness. The lights will be dark blues and purples, with flashes of white light portraying lightning.

With the sound there will be the natural noise of a forest. Other then that there would be sound throughout the whole play. It will be very low and coming from behind the audience. The sounds constant gunshots. This would be done to give a sense of danger, but be low and distant to give a sense of slight protection. Also the generator starting up will occur from behind the stage and the sound of cars coming up will be heard from the side of the stage as well. During scene changes we will hear a parrot saying different things in pygmy, just to put a little more emphasis on the parrot. The parrot represents different generations and the possible loss of them with all the destruction occurring on women’s bodies in the Congo.

So yeah that's that. If it's almost exactly like the powerpoint, well sorry. I did the project alone already and I really didn't feel like doing the whole thing again. Not meaning to throw people under the bus too much but it just pisses me off, and you should really not do group projects for the final anymore. Other then that, it's been a fun semester and I actually learned alot more then I thought I would. You're a pretty cool teacher and I think you're gonna do wonders here at Daytona State. Thanks and see you around!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Romeo and Juliet

I went to see Romeo and Juliet on the night of Friday the 13th. The following blog will be an analysis of this Shakespeare play, using our script analysis questions as a guideline.

The major conflict of the play occurs between the two main characters, Romeo and Juliet, and their families, the Montagues and Capulets. The two lovers’ families despise each other, forcing Romeo and Juliet to hide their love and attempt to be together without their families finding out. These characters represent different things. Romeo and Juliet symbolize love, while their families represent hate. Romeo and Juliet look past their family differences to love each other for who they really are, while their families can’t see past the other’s name, and despise everyone in the other family for simply having the wrong name.

The characters all have different objectives carrying them through the play. Romeo’s objective is to be with his beloved Juliet and her objective is to spend the rest of her life with her love Romeo. The families’ objectives differ from the two young lovers in which the only thing driving them throughout the play is their hate for the other family.

The climax of the play Romeo and Juliet would be when the two kill themselves. Poor Romeo doesn’t get the Friar’s letter telling him of Juliet faking her death. Romeo finds out of her death and not knowing of its true nature, plans to go see his beloved and kill himself to be with her. He buys poison and drinks it as he holds his wife in his arms. Then Juliet awakens from her death like sleep only to find her one true love dead by her feet. She decides she must take her own life for living a day without Romeo would be worse than death itself. So she stabs herself with a dagger to be with her husband. This makes Romeo and Juliet’s final actions them taking their own lives in order to be with the other in death. And thus they’re dead.

Then we come to the resolution of the play. The two families enter Juliet’s tomb room to find their son and daughter dead lying on the floor. Juliet’s family sees her lying there freshly dead, not how they buried her and Romeo’s father enters to see his son dead upon the floor of the enemy’s tomb just after losing his wife. Friar explains what has happened in this outrageously devastating scene to both of the afflicted families, the Montagues and Capulets. He tells of Romeo and Juliet’s forbidden love and how because of their families hate for each other they had to sneak around them which eventually lead to the disturbing scene placed in front of both of the families. The families hate for each other caused their children to choose this devastating fate. The families feel so terrible after discovering their hate led their children to death, and they finally realize that’s all that hate can ever bring; pain and suffering. At this point the two families take their final action in the play and finally decide to put this hate for each other to rest, with a simple handshake.

The idea that the play represents is that nothing is to be gained from hate but pain and suffering. We must learn to love and appreciate each other for the person on the inside and not simply hate each other for what we look like or where we come from or for our name alone.

Friday, October 16, 2009

All in the Timing

So I went to see All in the Timing on October the 15th. It was a pretty funny show, very entertaining. Everyone involved in the show did an awesome job. Seeing a live theater performance is a completely different experience than watching a film. Using the performance of All in the Timing I would just love to explain the differences between the two in detail.

When viewing a play there is a strong connection between the audience and the performers, while in a movie there really isn't much of a connection at all. Watching a film is just you staring at pictures, but in a play you are observing real life, what the actors are portraying to you as their characters real life. In The Universal Language, I really had no clue what they were saying, but that didn't matter because the audience could feel their energy and understand how the actors were feeling. They sent their vibe into the audience and the audience could then interpret what exactly was going on with the actors. Also, in the scene Variations on the Death of Trotsky Ramon made very distinct connections with the audience. He winked at us and made eye connections with select members in the audience. The audience can influence a play, which is impossible to do with a movie. There were some girls sitting behind us that were commenting loudly on certain parts of the play. In the scene Sure Thing, they spoke out about the circular way the scene was going. This distracted me and my date from the actual play, we turned and looked at them. Also during the scene The Universal Language, these same girls repeated testicles after the performer had stated it. This made us laugh even more, and forced the actors to hold off on their next lines until the audience was done so we would be able to hear what they were going to say next. In a movie you don't get that kind of actor/audience connection.

In a play the audience has the freedom to choose their own focal point. In a movie, the director pretty much chooses where he wants the audience to look and puts the camera there. During the scene Words, Words, Words at a point I was watching Swift because he had caught my attention, while my boyfriend had his focus on Kafka. I guess she had eaten a banana apparently off the floor, or that's what it seemed to my boyfriend. Well because we can choose where we set our focus, I missed that part. In a movie it's pretty hard to miss most things, but in a play one has to choose their own focus point and can miss little details.

Finally, a play is so much more interactive then a movie could ever be. A play is happening right then and doesn't have the option of redoing anything like a movie can. Whatever happens, happens. During the scene Sure Thing, it sounded like something fell backstage. Also, in the scene The Philadelphia, the lights went off and we were in complete darkness for about a minute. At first the actors kept going with their lines then stopped after a line or two were spoken in darkness. If either of these things had happened during a movie they would have yelled cut and just shot it again. In a play; however, you can't just redo the whole thing. The actors must cope with whatever happens, and work around it.

As clearly shown here, there are distinct differences between watching a play and a movie. A play is a live performance where anything can happen, while in a movie the actors don't have to take the same risks as live performers do. Once again the play was awesome and everyone did an amazing job. It was totally worth the 10 bucks in gas to get there, but I'm glad I didn't have to pay for tickets though.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The American Musical

Ahh musicals, everyone loves a good musical. I have a slight background in musical theater, I was after all in a big role in a musical. Although one of my fellow classmates seems to disagree that the play I was in was acutally a musical, I believe any play with musical in it's name is more than likely a musical. Yes I was the famous skater chick number 1 in High School Musical on stage, performed at Atlantic highschool. YEAH!!! It was a really fun and yet aggrivating experience. I had a blast singing and dancing, and I was also part of the stage hand crew. That part was lame, no one was doing what they were supposed to and all the actors were all talking back stage.... so I had to be the one yelling at everyone to get them doing what they were supposed to do.... whatever.... anyway on to the blog! It's my pleasure to present to you a little bit about the American musical theater.
American musical theater can trace it's roots back to European Opera. From Opera stemmed Operetta in the 19th century. Operetta was basically Opera with a story and plot behind incorporated in. American musicals came from operetta blended with a mix of American melodrama, popular song, dance, and variety show entertainments. Recently however, the American musical has been returning toward the nonstory telling ways, more opera less dialogue (Felner and Orenstein 167-168, 170).

Let's talk about all the different components that are needed in order to produce a musical. There are many people involved in the production of a musical, like a recipie, without one component it just wouldn't be right. Some of the people involved are the composer, lyricist, choreographer, book writer, actors, light and sound operators, director, costume designers, producer, and stage hands (Bruch). Without any one of these, the musical really couldn't happen.

The Americal musical category was one of the first fields of theater to explore multiculturalism. This can be seen by looking at the African American's musicals. In the 1920's African American musicals appeared on Broadway. This was three more decades before any serious African American dramas were allowed on stage. The musical scene explored racial themes long before society as a whole was ready to confront the issues (Felner and Orenstein 170-171).

Now lets look at the American musical abroad. Broadway musicals are performed all over the world. Many cultures create their own versions of the musicals by combining the American musical texts with their own books and lyrics. What usually happens is America sends over plays to be viewed around the world and they do their little revise. Once they complete it, their revision comes back to America for our viewing pleasure (Felner and Orenstein 172, 174). Some examples of musicals that have been doing well internationally from other countries include; Notre Dame de Paris from France, Mozart! from Austria, even South Africa has some international successes such as Kat and the Kings (as seen to the right) (Musical Theatre).
Works Cited
  • Felner, Mira, and Claudia Orenstein. The World of Theatre. Boston: Pearson Education Inc., 2006. Print.
  • Wicked. 2007. Photograph. 25 Dec. 2007. Web. 15 Oct. 2009.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Japanese Kabuki

I've learned so much about the artform of Kabuki. Everything about it is intresting from it's origins to it's wild make-up; however, I don't know how ampted I would be to go see one of these performances. The shows themselves seem particularly boring to me. Watching a bunch of guys dressed up like women prancing around in make-up doesn't really sound like my cup of tea. Intresting, but not so much entertaining. Let me give you a quick summary of what I've learned about this art form known as Kabuki.

Kabuki originated from a woman named Okuni who dressed like a man and performed dances in a river bed with prostitutes. The original name given to this performance, kabuki, meant tilted. Prostitutes performed this until they were all banned from it which is when it molded into what it is today, with a larger focus on dance (Felner and Orenstein 129).

The Kabuki theater got it's original design from the Noh theater. It later evolved with some new stage additons; the hanamichi, suppon, and mawari butai. The hanamichi, also referred to as the flower path, is a path for the actors to enter and exit that goes right through the audience. Suppon are hidden lifts that actors would go on to make dramatic transformations. Mawari butai is the revolving part of the kabuki stage (Spencer). The kabuki stage design can be seen in the picture to the right.

Kabuki has a few conventions of it's own. The costumes would ususally display the actor's family crest. The stage hands frequently come on stage dressed in all black to fix or change costumes of the performers, or to bring the actors a refreshment during long scenes (Felner and Orenstein 129-130).

It also has specific character types which are displayed to the audience in different ways. Onnagata (seen above) were the female roles in kabuki. Men played these roles while painted in soft white make-up, dressed in women's kimonos and black wigs. Aragoto is another character, this is a male part (seen to the right). The Aragoto is a hero or god character, spotted by their red or black paint and their colorful and wild costumes (Kabuki).

That's Kabuki in a nutshell. It is definately an intresting form of theater. Kabuki consists of beautiful movements which remind me slightly of ballet. Still like I said before not really something that I would want to sit and watch for three hours, and that time is cut down they used to be much, much longer. There are a few pretty cool scenes out there like this one for example.

I hope this has given you all a clearer image of the world of Japanese Kabuki. Thanks for reading!

Text sources:

  • Felner, Mira, and Claudia Orenstein. The World of Theatre. Boston: Pearson Education Inc., 2006. Print.
  • "Kabuki." Web. 28 Sept. 2009.
  • Spencer, Michael. "Kabuki Story: Theatre Design." 1999. Web. 28 Sept. 2009. .

Visual sources: