BM & Epic Theatre (Brecht and Episodic structure)
"Since the art of the actor is the art of plastic forms in space, he must study the mechanics of his body. This is essential because any manifestation of a force (including the living organism) is subject to constant laws of mechanics (and obviously the creation by the actor of plastic forms in the space of the stage is a manifestation of the force of the human organism)." (Braun 199)
Fundamentals : BioMethod
* The Images (The Album) are still not all in place! [new from vTheatre -- GeoAlaska, links to my graphic files are in the list minipages]
Theory of Spectatorship
ShowCases: 3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
prof. Anatoly Antohin Theatre UAF AK 99775 USA
Summary"Theatre is not a mirror but a magnifying glass." Mayakovsky > see Film Acting Pages (new)!
Historical BG: Meyerhold desired that actors undergo special training for his theatre in order to move away from realism as is indicated in his interest in commedia and the like. The bio-mechanics was also motivated by ideological factors associated with the spirit of the new Soviet age
His theatrical ideas were akin to "Soviet ideologies of materialist science, mechanical efficiency and the virtues newly assigned to the proletarian man." (Symons: 71).
... bio-mechanics and its complementary visual system in scenic construction, while an aesthetic revolution to bring about new kinds of bodies on the stage, was also a code, an ideological sign of the glorious machine age and the inevitable progress of collective society.
QuestionsOnstage, you just have to tell the absolute truth about the character you are playing. You hope you communicate it, and you hope it comes back like a tennis ball. If you're listening to the sound of your own voice, nobody else is. The audience knows, and they freeze on you. Carol Channing
* one act fest
NotesPreparing a character is the opposite of building--it is a demolishing, removing brick by brick everything in the actor's muscles, ideas and inhibitions that stands between him and the part, until one day, with a great rush of air, the character invades his every pore. Peter Brook
331 Directing Class : google.com/group/directing
Meyerhold's Formula of ACTOR:
1. Actor (Medium) + 2. Actor (Creator) = Actor (Artist)
How different is dramatic analysis for BM applications? First, I introduce the basic film terminology -- shots. The student must understand that only one part of the body can act at the time. The one that is in focus. You are doing too much! Let me, spectator, concentrate, please! Read about the "body breakdown" in old directory. (Physical Acting)[ Establishing the Rules ]
Preview Part III. Images (textbook).
Yes, I use masks in class as a tool to remove facial expressions and to make their physical action bigger.
Kiebuzinska writes: To protect the political revolutionary and scientific concerns of the new society, Meyerhold worked out techniques for actors which he called "bio-mechanics". He considered this theory to be a projection into the theatre of the scientific spirit motivating the life of the Soviet Union at a time when the "machine" had become a symbol of a new society. ... Attention to physiology rather than psychology had to do with the movement away from the monistic concept of the individual towards the collective view, the notion that the individual lives on in the collective memory. (1988:53)
from Part II. Episodes and III (textbook) to ...
Structure YOUR Physical Action!
Part IV. Inhabiting the World of the Play (173)Styles and MethodsScenes in class (Gogol from Acting One, Mr.K and Mary).
The Rules of the Play
The Ten Questions
Your Own Rules
[ The thought must have its own center of gravity; it cannot just be either here or there. We must find this center of gravity. It is the same for the body; if it is not centered, no movement will be possible. It is the same for the feeling. --Institut Gurdjieff, Paris * gurdjieff.org ]
IV. Chapter 10. Playing by the Rules -- or Not:
Learning the Rules
Playing by the Rules
Breaking the Rules
Lesson #60 or 90 min
1. review (previous class)
3. new key terms & definitions
4. monologues & scenes
5. issues & topics
6. questions, discussion, analysis
7. in class work
9. improv & games
12. online, journals
Braun, Edward Meyerhold on Theatre 1969 (1st Edition) Methuen (including ‘The Actor of the Future and Biomechanics’, a report of Meyerhold’s lecture in the Little Hall of the Moscow Conservatoire, 12 June 1922; in Ermitazh, Moscow, 1922, no 6, pp. 10-11.)
Braun, Edward The Theatre of Meyerhold 1986 (2nd Edition) Methuen
Glenny, Michael The Golden Age of Soviet Theatre 1981 (2nd Edition) Penguin
Hartnoll, Phyllis The Concise Companion to Theatre 1972 (1st Edition) Oxford
Hartnoll, Phyllis& Found, Peter The Concise Companion to Theatre 1993 (2nd Edition) Oxford
Roose-Evans, James Experimental Theatre 1989 (1st Edition) Routledge Meyerhold’s revolutionary ideas drew on techniques used in the Kabuki, Kathakali and Commedia dell’ arte disciplines. He believed that theatre, if it was to have any meaning, had to be based on physical reality, not on subjective emotion. However his theatre became so formalised and abstract, that it distanced itself from the people he was trying to open it up too: the workers of communist Russia. Because of political pressure Meyerhold was forced to stop doing such avant-garde work, and produce pieces that were ‘more acceptable.’ Resisting to the end, he gave an impassioned speech about how art could not be controlled or contained, and was arrested. [ * ]
[ web companion to THR331 Fundamentals of Direction Theatre UAF course ]
Biomechanics is a system of training aimed at making the body carry out a set task in the most efficient way possible. Meyerhold approached the technique as a system for training actors, but it can be used to perfect any movement.
"If we observed a skilled worker in action we notice the following in his movements; (1) an absence of superfluous, unproductive movements; (2) rhythm; (3) the correct positioning of the body’s centre of gravity; (4) stability."
Actors trained in this system would be part athletes, part acrobats and part animated machine. The actors worked on perfecting a constant awareness of themselves in space, they were to display no emotion. Basically they developed their bodies so that they could carry out any action in neutrality. Individuals could then add to this neutral state a single action or gesture that would epitomise a single emotion or event. Meyerhold looked in great detail at exactly what expression communicated what emotion. Using his actors with their advanced knowledge of themselves, Meyerhold could then compose directly to the stage abstract movement that communicated stories and emotion.
"The actor must train his material [the body] so that he is capable of executing instantaneously those tasks which are dictated externally."
Alice is a professional, mid 30's, mother of 2, this is at AA meeting (standing at microphone on stage) (Long shot, U) Hi, I'm Alice (5 sec. pause) I'm an alcoholic. I've been sober for 184 days. (smiles, happy mood, almost relieved) (start sad tone) (MS, C) I drank my first beer when I was nine years old. My father was an alcoholic, so my mother liked to blame my problem on his bad example, that way she could hurt us both at once. Anyway, I liked my beer and the ones that followed. And about a year ago I got drunk…...and I couldn't stop. (far off look) It's never quite happened like that before, and I still don't know why. (look serious) (Closeup, D) I've lied to everyone I know, everyone I loved. I was ashamed, terrified and humiliated everyday. One day I got out of the shower, grabbed a towel and decided to go get the paper. (MS,C) It's a good thing no one saw me go out the door or at the curb, (use hand gestures like holding towel) because I went out there with the towel folded in my hand. (pause) (shake head) I know how lucky I've been. There were times I drove my little girls around just ripped out of my mind. (Closeup, D) One Saturday I took my baby girl on errands and when I got home I realized she wasn't with me. I had left her somewhere. And since I couldn't remember where I'd been, I had no idea where so (pause) I spent the next few hours calling every shop I'd ever been to, until finally, the tile guy rang my door bell. He had found my address on one of my checks. I rewarded him of course, you know (small smile), by never going back to his store. (quieter and sadder tone) My bottom was 184 days ago, when my little girl watched me wash down aspirin with vodka. (touch chin) And then I hit her. And when I passed out, she was alone with me (pained look on face, quiet, very sad tone, look down). And she thought I was dead. In all my life I will never know what that did to her. (low point) (5 sec. pause) (deep breath) (not so quiet, more upbeat) (look up to make eye contact w/ audience) (MS, C) But I have to forgive myself for that and I have to forgive myself for what I did to my husband. (Closeup, D) It's horrifying how much you can hate yourself for being low and weak (shake head, sad look) and he couldn't save me from that. (MS, C) (hand gestures) So I turned it on him and I tried to empty it onto him, but there was always more, you know. (hand to chest, likes there's more inside) When he tried to help I told him he made me feel small and worthless. But nobody makes us feel that way, we do that for ourselves. I shut him out, because I knew that if he really saw who I was inside…....he wouldn't love me. ……... (painful look on face) And we're separated now. He's moved away and it was so hard not to beg him to stay. (close eyes, look down at feet)) (get more upbeat, louder) (LS, U) And I don't know if I'm going to get a second chance, but I have to believe, that I deserve one. (chin up) Because we all do. (conclusion, sigh of relief)
I use images from Meyerhold Era (contructivism -- emphasis on structure, see the sets above) Stepanova (left), Meyerhold's set/costume designer.
Also, Michealgelo (drawings), more anatomy pix -- filmplus.org/biomx (old directory).
Help yourself: study the structure of your body, imagine every part of in motion (after a while your imagination/inner visiton will become a habit; you don't think about "walking," rifght?)
Professionalism is the behavior pattern acquired by frequent repetition or physiologic exposure that shows itself in regularity or increased facility of performance. Without developing those habits, you will never work professionally on stage.
Read episodic acting page ("view from outside"): self-observation is the criteria of professionalism. Leave inspiration to something that you don't know how to do. Michealangelo (left) studied body, because bhe wanted to relieve his creativity for bigger tasks than amaturish struggle with something that could be done mechanically!
Meyerhold understood that "smart body" (professional body) would do much as long as the mechanics gets into your blood. Think of the praining for professional athlets or musicians.
The biggest problem (my class experience) is ATTITUDE. If you think that you need no training, try modeling and pray for luck.
You wouldn't dare to dance ballet without training and expect to be payed...
If you don't plan to make money by acting, enjoy yourself and forget about your future in theatre. Start "making choices" before enrolling in acting class!
If you have talent, you need training more than someone who doesn't have it.
Test -- If you do not train yourself, you have no talent.
If you do not do every day, forget it!
If you do not work out as actor several hours a day, don't batther.
If you... You got it.
Artistic Elements | Mise en Scene
Mise En Scene by Claude Cahun, Tacita Dean, Virginia Nimarkoh
Mise en Scene Analysis:
[ using film technique ]
The arrangement of performers and properties on a stage for a theatrical production or before the camera in a film.
A stage setting.
Physical environment; surroundings.Live Writing Advice
Mise-en-scène is a French term and originates in the theater. It means, literally, "put in the scene."
An online course supplement * Film-North * Anatoly Antohin * eCitations *
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