CONCEPT – Every production should have one.
Of course some plays are just what they are on the page and it’s very hard to see any other way of presenting them but a good director, working with his/her creative team will find an original way of producing their own vision – whether you are setting Richard III in World War 2 or Alice in Wonderland in a futurist cyber-world, a modern version of a Dickens tale or setting a straight play to music.
No audience wants to see the same old thing over and over again. (Do they?) Much more exciting to do something new and unique. So be creative and let your imagination work overtime and do something different.
CHARACTERIZATION / CARICATURE
Nearly every play will have a cast of characters and whether they are stock stereo-types like the lord of the manor, the wealthy widow, the young helpless heroine and the handsome hero or they are three dimensional realistic characters – they will all have characteristics we recognise as being part of their own character. In naturalist dramas characterisation can be harder to portray, as human beings are shades of many colours and emotions.
When you approach any character you must try and think how they would behave, how they would think, speak, walk and sit etc. The answer will nearly always be in the text. The writer, if he/she hasn’t given you a description, will have given you clues in the dialogue. What your character does and says helps to give you something to hang your performance upon.
A CARICATURE is a representation in which the subject’s distinctive features or peculiarities are deliberately exaggerated to produce a comic or grotesque effect. We see this in satire and other forms of comedy and pantomime but sometimes in forms of Epic theatre as in Brecht.
Dramas are often made up of CONFLICT, CRISIS, CO-INCIDENCES and reach a CLIMAX or CRESCENDO which is normally either the last scene of the penultimate scene. The plot line tells the story by a series of builds and changes in the dynamics of the play keeping audiences interested, engaged and entertained.
These flash-points or conflicts can be internal or external. They are usually about man’s relationship with another human being, society, the world at large or his own inner-self. Most plots either make a journey from A-B or come full circle back to A again.
For an actor, three more C’s are worth remembering; CONCENTRATION. COMMITMENT. CONFIDENCE … Oh, and always learn the CUE lines so you pick up on them and even if you get most of your lines wrong remember to give the right CUE to your fellow actors.
Bev Clark is a Playwright, Director & Drama adjudicator who has worked all over England in both professional and community theatre. She has been writing original drama scripts and directing plays for many years.