Thursday 15th September 2016 – Commission and Character Lessons

For the commission lesson today we each spoke about the traditional story we had researched and chosen for our homework. We were set this in order to find some ideas of what we could perform for our commission piece. It was good to hear everyone’s suggestions and after this we got into small groups to discuss the pros and cons for each story idea. We decided mine was too long for street theatre and a few of the others pieces were too short. Some were also too scary for children which are likely to be part of our audience and as our audience in unknown we have to cater for the lowest common denominator. One that my group liked the sound of was the idea of doing the zodiac story, as we thought that we could play about with masks and the physicality of portraying animals. We thought this might be engaging for people passing because in street theatre it is important to capture near by peoples attention. Another idea we liked was ‘The Magic Paintbrush’ as it sounded like it could be made into a very physical piece of theatre. The session definitely was a good start in finding what it is we want to do for our commission show and gave us all a chance to contribute our ideas and suggestions. Later on we looked at the 7 different types of story according to Len Wilson. They were:

  • Overcoming the Monster.
  • Rags to Riches
  • The Quest
  • Voyage and Return
  • Comedy
  • Tragedy
  • Rebirth

Although some people disagree that there are just 7, I still found it interesting to see that most well known story’s can be categorised this way and it is still some wider knowledge that is relevant to our commission.

For the lesson on character we looked at the German Actress and theatre practitioner Uta Hagen’s questions to ask yourself in order to act. They included, who am I?, What time is it?, Where am I?, What surrounds me?, What are my given circumstances?, What are my relationships?, What do I want?, What is in the way? and What do I do to get it?. I found these really useful because they are so versatile as you can apply them to every character you may play in acting. Also when we asked ourselves these questions before doing a small improvised scene, they helped us to really develop on what we were doing and giving it more consideration to the circumstances. I will be referring back to these questions later on as they help to make a character more believable.



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