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Hello! My name's Mr. Burt, and welcome to your drama lesson.

This is the third and final drama lesson in a series of lessons called One text, different approaches.

And so far, in our first two lessons, we looked at naturalism and epic theatre.

And in our final lesson today, we're going to look at abstract theatre.

But first of all, let's just check to see what equipment we need before we get going.

So, in this lesson, you will need the following things.

You won't need an exercise book or a piece of paper, and you will need a pencil or a pen.

So make sure you've got those items before we get started.

So, in this lesson, we are going to start by looking at some key words we need to succeed in our lesson.

Then we're going to learn a little bit more about abstract theatre.

Then we're going to compare abstract theatre to that of naturalism and epic theatre from our last lessons.

Then we're going to use abstract theatre to create our own director's vision for a performance.

And we're going to finish off with a quiz at the end.

So let's have a look at the key words we need to succeed in our lesson.

The first of which is the director.

The director is the person who has overall creative responsibility for the creation of a piece of theatre.

And our next key word is abstract theatre.

Abstract theatre is a genre of theatre, which is focused on creating heavily symbolic characters and plots.

And instead of telling a complete story, the audience get an emotionally challenging experience of the themes and concepts within that performance.

Before we go any further into our lesson, let's just check we got some understanding of that key word, abstract theatre.

So tell me now what can you remember is the focus of abstract theatre? That's right.

It is about creating heavily symbolic characters and plots.

So before we move on and start to think about abstract theatre, what are the differences between naturalism and epic theatre? Just tell me one or two things that you can remember about the differences between naturalism and epic theatre.

Well, let's see if you're right by comparing what we did in our last couple of lessons between naturalism and epic theatre.

So let's start with naturalism.

So the plots of naturalism are character development, and the time frame is over a short time frame, perhaps one or two days.

And the play is set in just one or two locations.

The set, the costumes, the lighting, and the sound are all really detailed and very realistic.

As are the characters.

The characters are realistic and believable.

And then acting is naturalistic.

And the aim of all of this is to get the audience to empathise with the characters so that through that empathy, the audience and individual members of the audience will learn something about themselves.

Whereas epic theatre is very different.

The plot of epic theatre focuses on big issues to do with society.

And the time frame is long, maybe over months, maybe even over years.

And therefore they have multiple locations.

Even one scene can be in many different locations.

The set, the sound, the costumes, the lighting are all minimalist and symbolic.

The characters are believable, but also symbolic.

We need to be able to empathise with them a bit, but they also need to be able to symbolise everyone who might be in that same situation in society.

And so the acting employs lots of different techniques.

There might be gestures, there might be song, there might be multi-roling and breaking the fourth wall.

Anything to avoid too much empathy with the individual characters so that the audience can also see the big picture that the play is also about.

So the role of the director in a theatre production has three main roles.

They begin with the directorial vision, which then they need to communicate that to everyone.

Firstly through the design, and their role then becomes about overseeing the design.

And then it's about rehearsing the actors.

So it starts with the directorial vision.

Now the directorial vision is the creative force behind the production.

It's things like what they want the audience to feel at the end of the production, how they want it to feel as an experience to be watching, how they want it to look, how they want it to sound, the ideas of the costume, the ideas of the set.

It's about bringing all those ideas together into a vision which then needs to be communicated to everyone else in the production.

It's a bit like creating a manual for the production.

So once they've got the directorial vision, the idea, they need to communicate that.

The first group they need to talk to is the designers.

So their next job becomes about overseeing the design.

Here, they need to talk to the set designers, the lighting designers, the costume designers, the sound designers, any music they need, anything else that they need theatrically-wise to create the production.

They need to talk to them, communicate their ideas so that when the designers can go away with that brief and start making what they think is going to be appropriate for the production.

But that role doesn't just end there with the designers.

The designers need to keep coming back to the director, checking that they are on track with their work, making sure that everything fits the directorial vision.

And that will happen right up until the end.

Their final job, which is the one we are most familiar with, is rehearsing with the actors.

Now for that bit, the director there is in the room, the rehearsal room, with the actors, giving them feedback, helping them to achieve what they want to do in the performance.

But it starts well before that.

The director needs to have some idea of how they want the performance to be created.

So they've got to think about how the characters are going to be performed.

The characters' backgrounds, the interpretation of the characters, the motivation of the characters.

This needs to be discussed with the actors at the very beginning so the actors then can go away and do their job, which is to create that character, do their research, and then come together with the director in the rehearsal room to continue to improve their performance until they feel that their performance is achieving what they set out in the directorial vision.

So if we go back to the directorial vision, that document, that manuscript, that manual for the production really is the most important part of it because it's from that that everything else is created.

So before we move on, let's just check our understanding of the role of the director.

One of the key roles of the director is to create that directorial vision, but is this statement true or false? The director has to communicate their vision clearly to everyone else in the production team.

Tell me now, is that true or false? Yes, it's true.

It's critical that the directorial vision is clear, it's easy to understand, and that it can be communicated well to everyone who is involved in the production team.

So let's have a look at abstract theatre then.

So abstract theatre is a genre theatre, which focuses on creating heavily symbolic characters and plots.

So instead of telling a complete story, the audience get an emotionally challenging experience of the themes and concepts within a performance.

A movement in theatre which started in the early 1900s by theatre makers such as Antonin Artaud.

And film and theatre are still influenced by this work today.

So let's just check our understanding of abstract theatre.

So instead of telling a complete story, what are the aims of abstract theatre? Tell me now.

That's right.

Instead of telling a complete story, the audience get an emotionally challenging experience of the themes and concepts within a performance.

So let's break down what abstract theatre style looks like in a performance.

Let's start with the storytelling.

So the plots are focused on big issues that affect everyone in society, such as crime, war or poverty.

But the plot follows the experience of what it would be like to be there rather than tell what happened in the story.

So the scenes can therefore also take place in multiple locations.

And so that affects the stage design.

Sets are very symbolic.

Costumes are very exaggerated and extravagant and the lighting is bold, bright, and often overemphasised.

And the sound is loud, piercing, almost hypnotising.

And the acting style is also very different.

Characters are symbolic and the focus is more on the ensemble rather than individual characters.

And therefore, acting involves a lot of movement, lot of non-verbal communication.

There is a big focus on the use of gesture and facial expression.

Let's just have a quick check about our understanding of abstract theatre so far.

Which of these statements are true about abstract theatre? Is it option one? Abstract theatre is about experiencing themes and concepts.

Option two, abstract theatre design is symbolic and exaggerated.

Option three, abstract theatre acting focuses on physical movement and gesture.

Or is it option four, abstract theatre characters are realistic and believable.

Which of these statements are true? That's right.

Options one, two and three are all true because in abstract theatre, we don't necessarily have characters like we've seen in naturalism and epic theatre.

Instead the focus is more on the ensemble, creating idea for the audience, what it would be like to be in that situation rather than watching someone perform in that situation.

So let's take a quick look at how abstract theatre compares to naturalism and epic theatre.

So where abstract theatre is about experiences, themes and concepts, epic theatre is about big issues and naturalism is about character development.

And although naturalism and epic theatre have a time frame, abstract theatre doesn't necessarily have to have a time frame.

It can be just exploring one specific moment in time.

Like epic theatre, abstract theatre can take place in multiple locations.

The design is symbolic and exaggerated in abstract theatre.

And the characters in abstract theatre are symbolic and not the whole focus of the play.

The acting style is very different from naturalism and epic theatre and is very focused on physical movement and gesture, almost dance at times.

But the aim is still very much the same.

The aim is to give an emotionally challenging experience so that the audience can learn about the situation that they find themselves in and think about perhaps how they might act in that situation.

And so now it's over to you.

This is your commission.

I'm commissioning you to direct a play.

Remember, a director is the person who has that overall creative responsibility for a production.

The play is on the themes of truth, justice and fairness.

And the play follows the plot of a character who's been arrested by the police having been found running away from a burglary.

But the central character denies being involved.

Instead the central character says that they were running to the pharmacy to buy some medicine for their older sister.

The character is arrested anyway and is charged with burglary.

And I want you to direct the play so it conforms to the style of abstract theatre.

So let's look at the structure of the story, and this is how it was structured when we were looking at it from a naturalistic point of view.

So we had three scenes, the first scene taking place in the police interview room where the central character denies being involved in the burglary and recounts the events.

And then we have scene two where the police enter with new evidence of the character's fingerprints in the shop that was burgled, and the central character admits that they were there in the afternoon but wasn't involved in the burglary.

And then we have the final scene where the police find out that the central character was involved in a burglary previously and charge him for this one.

And this is how we're going to structure the story for an abstract piece.

And we're going to stick with those three scenes, but instead we're going to start with the scene, the first scene, which is an intense experience of a burglary, the police chase, and the arrest.

Remember, we are thinking about focusing on the intense emotional challenge that the audience might have from the experience of being there.

And then scene two might be then be an intense experience of being interviewed in a police cell.

And the third scene again is then an intense emotional experience of being a family of a person arrested for a crime they didn't commit.

Now within those three scenes, you can see a loose story, but the focus of each scene is really the experience of what it might be like to be there.

So this brings us up to our first task, which is thinking about what actually happens in that first scene.

So I want you to write a bullet point outline of what will happen on stage during scene one.

What will the audience see and experience? So remember to adhere to that abstract theatre style of the production.

So there will be a lot of movement sequences and lighting and sound changes and exaggerated characters.

What experience will the audience get of a burglary taking place? So pause the video, complete the task, and resume once you're finished.

So how did that go? What kind of things have you written down? These are the things that I might expect in a scene, which is abstract of an experience of a burglary.

So I want to have some really loud sound effects.

I definitely want the siren and the alarm going off.

I'd really want some kind of onslaught on the ears to get the sense of where we are.

There'd be a lot of fast movement, and perhaps a movement sequence for the arrest, which would be the focal point of the scene.

The lights will be very bright.

I'd really focus on the red and the blue of the police cars especially.

And they might even come into the audience and run through the audience to really bring them into the experience.

Have a think about what you've got on your list.

Does your list really give a sense of an abstract idea of what it would be like to be in there at the time in that experience? Or does it tell the story? Maybe go back to your list, maybe make one or two revisions, change it slightly to make it more focused on the experience of being there rather than telling the story of what happened when they were there.

So this brings us up to our next task.

Remember in that directorial vision, it's got the idea of what you want the play to look and feel like in terms of performance, but also set design.

And I want you to draw out a simple sketch for the set and lighting of the first scene of the play, the one that you created the bullet point list for in the last task.

But remember to adhere to that abstract theatre style of the production.

So there will be symbolic, and the set will be symbolic and the lighting will be bold, bright, and often changing.

Pause the video now, draw your designs, and resume once you're finished.

Now, how did that task go for you? You will have your own design, but this is a design that I've got, which is right abstract.

It's an image, a backdrop of an idea of a town, and you can see that each window and each building is of different size, and it creates an idea of something which is happening at speed.

So perhaps the characters are running past this in speed, with the lights changing, following the kind of colours and flashes of police sirens and police lights.

This brings us up to our next task, which is to write a short monologue from the scene.

Now, there isn't much dialogue in abstract theatre, but there're often monologues from characters.

The monologues focus on emotional reaction of the character in a scene rather than telling what has happened.

So what I'd like you to do is I'd like you to try writing a few lines of monologue that express how it would feel to be arrested for something you didn't do.

So pause the video now, have a go writing a few lines of the monologue, and resume once you're finished.

Now, how do you feel about your directorial vision? Let's just review what we've got so far.

So we've got a bullet point list, which expands on everything that you would expect to see in scene one, to give the audience a really intense emotional experience of what it would be like to be at a burglary.

And then we've created a set design for that, to suggest, to create a world in which the action can take place.

And then we've written a monologue that doesn't tell us, tell the audience what happens, but focuses rather on how the character feels about what is happening at the time.

So having a reflection on all of those things we've created for our directorial vision, how well do you think you've met the commission I gave you, to write a directorial vision for the abstract theatre play? So before we go today, let's just check our understanding of abstract theatre.

So abstract theatre is focused on giving the audience an emotionally challenging experience of the themes and concepts within a play.

Is that true or false? Well, of course it's true.

Abstract theatre is all about giving the audience that experience to emotionally challenge them and to learn something about themselves from that challenge, from that experience.

So we create things which don't focus on characters, but focus on the experience that are heavily movement and gesture based, things that have big, bright, bold lights, exaggerated costumes, big extravagant sets that create an experience of what's happening on stage, rather than focusing on telling the story.

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