19th Century Drama and Theatre Melodrama (PowerPoint)

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					                   Drama’s Language

•   The language of theatre is both visual and aural
•   Spoken language – how lifelike is it?
•   Spoken words are only a small portion of the entire
    communications system
•   Non-verbal language: gestures, sounds, costumes,
    colours, lights, music, pictures, objects, silence,
    moods, attitudes, intentions, shape, meanings....
•   The two cannot be separated: the drama’s words
    demand some other form of expression
•   Symbols
•   Signifiers – Signified
•   “I have replaced the poetry in the theatre with the
    poetry of the theatre.” (Jean Cocteau)
                  Drama’s Language

Organized forms of communication in theatre:
• Dialogues (two or more speakers)
• Monologues (one speaker alone)
• Asides (one speaker with others present)
• Songs (one or more)
• Choral speeches (two or more)
• Silences (Pauses)
• Sounds (music, sound effects)
• Attitudes (Brecht’s gestus)
• Visuals (costumes, set, light, etc.)
• Technology
         Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

Anton Chekhov (1860-1904)
         Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

• The creative tension of Chekhov’s work springs from the
  recognition that in all men there is a great disparity
  between the facts of their animal existence and the
  aspiring ideals by which they attempt to live. But he
  accepted both, and he saw the life of man as the
  meaningful and at the same time pathetic, ludicrous,
  and tragic attempt to bridge this gap.
• “A play ought to be written in which the people should
  come and go, dine, talk of the weather, or play cards,
  not because the author wants it but because that is
  what happens in real life. Life on the stage should be as
  it really is and the people, too, should be as they are
  and not stilted.”
         Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

• Chekhov dramatizes not an action but a condition, the
  condition of life.
• His plays reveal the private drama which each character
  has within itself
• Each character has his own thoughts and problems with
  which s/he is morbidly consumed.
• Character try to escape from reality
• Central paradox: while all characters are alone and
  perpetuate their loneliness in their respective
  withdrawals, they are also aware that this solitude is
         Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

• Realism on the verge of symbolism
• Coexistence of multiple perspectives and contrast of
  past, present, and future
• Lopakhin embodies the survival of the fittest
• Trofimov is the capitalist’s true adversary
• Lyubova Ranevskaya carries her past like a millstone
  around her neck
• Her desire to possess the cherry orchard is her desire to
  retain her past
• Even the comical characters have elements of
• Play has elements of the bizarre and the grotesque
• The play is often cool and cruel to its protagonists, yet
  full of sympathy and laughter
         Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

• One of the dominant themes: social change
• The symbolism in the play evokes both a lyrical mood
  and pensive reflection, and offers an undercurrent which
  is ominous and disturbing
• Since Chekhov was dramatising a condition rather than
  a linear development, he needed a dramatic form which
  progressed not through a predetermined subject and
  plot, but through an increasingly intense and revealing
  series of emotional states.
• “Dramas of indirection”
• Chekhov: “The demand is made that the hero or
  heroine should be dramatically effective. But in life
  people do not shoot themselves or hang themselves, or
  fall in love, or deliver themselves of clever sayings
  every minute. They spend most of their time eating,
  drinking, or running after women or men, or talking
  nonsense. It is therefore necessary that this should be
  shown on the stage.”
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

                                    Dir. Peter Brook,
Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

                                Lopakhin tells
                                Mrs. Ranevskaya
                                that she must sell
                                the orchard while
                                Gayev looks on.
                     Drama’s Language

• “STELARC is an Australian-based performance artist whose
   work explores and extends the concept of the body and its
   relationship with technology through human-machine interfaces
   incorporating medical imaging, prosthetics, robotics, VR
   systems and the Internet. The interest is in alternate, intimate
   and involuntary experiences.”
                  Drama’s Language

• Bodies are both Zombies and Cyborgs. We have never
  had a mind of our own and we often perform
  involuntarily - conditioned and externally prompted.
  Ever since we evolved as hominids and developed
  bipedal locomotion, two limbs became manipulators and
  we constructed artifacts, instruments and machines. In
  other words we have always been coupled with
  technology. We have always been prosthetic bodies. We
  fear the involuntary and we are becoming increasingly
  automated and extended. But we fear what we have
  always been and what we have already become -
  Zombies and Cyborgs.

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