Essay: Elements of a successful performance

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  • Subject area(s): Media essays
  • Reading time: 8 minutes
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  • Published on: August 9, 2018
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  • Number of pages: 2
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In this essay I will explore the elements that I believe make a performance a success. I will use exercises I undertook in class in order to determine why I believe a performance needs something in order to be a success the main topics I will be looking closely at character movement and voice along with physical theatre and devising theatre in order to explain why each element makes a performance more or least successful I will also refer to theatre companies who use the techniques such as Frantic Assembly and Cambridge Devised Theatre looking closely at what makes them successful.
Characters come in all shapes and sizes however all are key in creating a successful performance. Having characters helps create a narrative structure we as an audience are then drawn into the lives of the characters as we relate as humans to how the character thinks and feels making the performance far more engaging. Most characters are based on the text of a piece and rely on speaking the lines to convey the message of the piece for example in plays however not all characters are speaking ones and some are created just through the movements created by the performers bodies some characters are simply just physical beings on stage which in itself creates a whole different meaning to the play. For example in the theatre stage production of the woman in black, the character herself of woman in black says nothing and appears only a few times in the play relying solely on presents to evoke fear on the audience. without her they play wouldn’t be half as frightening as it is, the character adds a theatrical element by just being present on stage adding to the ghostly feel to the stage production and I strongly believe that if she was to speak it would not be half as engaging as it is .In this instance the character of the woman in black is just created by an actress who comes on during key moments of the play to create added fear she needs nothing but her stage presents to be the character she doesn’t even need to say anything but the play wouldn’t be the same play without her in.

During lessons we explored the creation of a characters we did this by a character moulding exercise in groups of four we created a tableau through moulding and shaping the bodies of two members in our group we were given a theme such love and we had a few second to create our tableau through this exercise we could see how the characters were forming our group chose to display the term of love through having one character on bedded knee proposing while the other seemed shocked. We then developed our exercise further by bringing the scene to life and having the actors play out the scene from their positioned simply by moving their bodies we were able to create characters.

All performances are driven by something whether the writer who wishes to express an idea or view the message the direct wishes to give the audience throw his direction or the actors portrayal I believe this can all only be achieved by having a narrative structure at the heart of a performance. Any successful performance must aim to tell or make the audience feel something otherwise what would be the point in its creation. I believe that in order to do this it must have a narrative structure as this is a simple way of engaging the audience and keeping their attention as there’s a clear story to follow. Many great plays writes such a Shakespeare would never have been able to create there works without the use of narrative structure .You can make a performance as abstract as you like but unless you tell a story give a plot line it will be incredibly hard to understand. The narrative structure of a piece give a performance a skeleton and everything else can follow after because your basic story is already set out even plays that are in non-chronological order follow a narrative structure the series of events are just in a different sequence the story remains the same.

Without movement nothing can be truly regarded as a performance even singers move when they are performing a songs a way of adding emotion and engaging there audience to listen to them. Of course a play can be conducted without movement and it can rely solely on text but this is boring nobody want to go to the theatre and simply watch someone talk for two hours state .physicalizing and expressing through the body can completely change a piece along with its meaning. Even subtle movements can be key to creating a sense of character or theme gestures are just another way of creating movement.

During lessons we explored the use of movement and look at ensemble as a way of creating movement as an entire class we explore this through an exercise called walking around the space for this exercise as a class collective we begin to walk around the room in time with one another . our lecture then called out some states of being such as a shift in tempo, heaviness, lightness, stopping becoming as large as you could ten as small as you could , then getting as tight to one another as physically possible and then as far away from each other as possible we then developed this further by trying to stop moving and start moving together however this was without looking at any member in the group this was Incredibly difficult as we were required to sense and feel others around us as a way of knowing when to move we then took this exercise further by traveling around the room and imaging we were a

Bubble thinking carefully about how we might move and then traveling as through we were clouds in the sky

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