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Intro to Theatre Cheat Sheet (DRAFT) by

Introduction to theatre

This is a draft cheat sheet. It is a work in progress and is not finished yet.


Drama - commun­ication of an Idea, thought, or emotion through the use of role.
Theatre - One or more actors are performing for an audience in a shared space.
Role - about a person
Actor - Portrays a role through mimesis
Dithyramb - a type of choral speaking
Catharsis - purgation of strong emotions
Comedy - poking fun at flaws or whims
Tragedies - protag­onists of a high rank that fall due to a tragic flaw or error Hamartia
Purpose of theatre
- Subjective and shared experience
- Entert­ainment
- Social activity
- Empathy

Stages :
Presinium Arch
Black box

Blocking - where actors move on stage, getting the shape of the Play

Aristo­telian Elements of Tragedy

Plot - Things that happen
- what is the action of the play
- what happened to get us to that point

Character - Qualities

Thought - Theme or idea
- the lesson of the play

Diction - Language of the play
- Poetry, Formal, rhythms and tempo

Musical/ Rythm - Pacing, events sequenced

Spectacle - lights, costumes, design

Protag­onist - the Prime Mover (hero)
Antagonist - the Force for Status Quo

Chorus - not active partic­ipant - voices the fears of the audience
- voice of the playwrite to engage with the audience

Old Comedy to New Comedy - Shift from democracy to dictat­orship
O.C - political
N.C - domestic, mythical, no supern­atural, everyday life


Role of the Audience
- Engage in the willing suspension of Disbelief
- To believe in the secondary reality
Role of Empathy
Aesthetic Distance
-defines our reality from the reality of the play
- audience partic­ipation or jarring breakaways
Communal Activity

- someone who crafts a play
- creates conflict through the plot, thought, character, genre

- unity and production of the persons involved
- Collab­orates with designers
- interp­ret­ation, rhythm and tempo
Tradit­ional, Auteur Director

-mimesis, inner and outer skills
Repres­ent­ational - Realistic and natural portray
Presen­tat­ional - portraying the story through movement

- costume, light, sound etc.
Choreo­gra­phers - movement

Dramatic Structure and Conflict

Dramatic Structure

Exposition - Background
Insighting Incident - Makes plot happen
Rising action - resolve the insighting incident
Climax - ultimet event
Denouement - Falling action - new sense of normal

Centers on Conflict
Can have a late "­point of attack­"

Episodic Structure - like a tv show
Centered on a theme or character

Dramatic Conflict
PvP, Pv supern­atural, Pv Nature, Pv Fate, Pv Techno­logy, Pv Self

Deeper look at Acting

Text Analysis Approach
-acting being more repres­ent­ational
1. Supert­ask­/Super Objective - Character wants in play
2. Bit or Beats - play components
3. Task or Intention - needs of the character
4. Actions or Tactics - to fulfil the needs

Helps the actor understand the world of the play

Roman Theatre

Actors no longer a respec­table profession
Theatre - not a civic duty
- entert­ainment rather than morality

Roman Tragedy - Dark and violent - closet plays?
Plautus - First playwrite
Terrence - higher level of style - first of colour

New Comedy
- like a sitcom

Sanskrit Theatre

Theatre of Ancient India

Natyas­astra attributed to Bharata Muni
Performed in classical Sanskrit and Common dialect of Prakrit
Catego­rized by mood (Rasas) rather than Genre
Romance, laughter, fury, compas­sion, disgust, horror, heroism, wonder, peace (added later)
Episodic style - concepts and themes
Specific movements and facial expres­sions