EF’s Visits to a Small Planet
Imaging the theatre play as an entire planet is a smart way to think of the scale.
“A play is not a flat work of literature…to see this entire world, do this literally: Mold the play into a medium-sized ball…Make the ball small enough that you can see the entire planet, not so small that you lose detail, and not so large that detail overwhelms the whole.”
A play requires a sense of environment, the representation of space, time, tone, and mood are essential characters in building the worldview of the play. I realized a play is a 3D form like an onion, with many layers compiling together, not just by one scene. In order for the theatre play reacts and reflects like the real world, giving some indicators of the progression from one scene to another gives us a sense of time and space. Considering all these factors that could affect the play, I now understand what EF means by there are “no accidents” in the play. There are many elements that have their own role in the world – visual, aural, temporal, tonal, and figural. Everything is intentional, and they have clear rules and goals in theatre.
Remembering from the last class, a play is constructed by 3 elements including context, content, and self. The content of what is happening, the context of how the environment affects the event, and our own interpretation of the event. A play is a very human-centered design by putting yourself in the design that could resonance with the audiences.
Peter Brook: The Empty Space
“The heart of the meaning of living theatre – theatre is always a self-destructive art, and it is always written on the mind. A professional theatre assembles different people every night and speaks to them through the language of behavior.”
Once, I studied abroad in London and acted as Juliet in Shakespear’s signature play. Repeating what the classic story from Shakespear told us was hard for me to understand at first. I struggled with the story settings and lose the language when I was reading the scripts, and my acting was flat and unrelatable. Our teacher then gave us a version of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kristen Zangof’s Romeo and Juliet (1996). This version of the story is set in a more modern world that speaks to my current social language. From that experience, I noticed the core value of the play is to communicate with the audiences not just performing repeatedly from the past, and this is what Peter is illustrating the point of the theatre is relativity. To play Juliet’s character, I started to understand Juliet’s emotion and dilemma through my imagination of standing in between Montagues and Capulets, the two feuding families.
What makes the theatre empty space is the deadliness of acting, uncompetitive due to the lack of critic’s drive, and the playwrights imprison of themselves, and what crafts a good play is to change constantly. Following the steps of classic and traditional play allows us to learn about the theatre, but theatre is a live art, it is necessary to destruct what has been built before we could explore the art and imagination of its essence. Life is like a play, the constant change reflects a more realistic way of life as human changes every single day.
Even though a play is intentional with clear goals, the process of production is to throw yourself in uncertainties. Improvisation is what helped play to stay away from the deadly theatre. Actors are also a live art creation in directing the play, and it is hard for them to stay sincere yet detached, to unlearn the things you have learned until you dive into a deeper level. Like a painter, you paint with all your attention to get the details right, and then you zoom out to see what the excess is and reduce them. A play is like a life that every time a slate is wiped clean, even though the act is repeated, the performance is never the same.
“In everyday life, ‘if’ is a fiction, in the theatre ‘if’ is an experiment.
In everyday life, ‘if’ is an evasion, in the theatre ‘if’ is the truth.”