The Theatre Team: Playwright, Producer, Director, Designers, and Actors

The Theatre Team: Playwright, Producer, Director, Designers, and Actors

The Theatre Team: Playwright, Producer, Director, Designers, and Actors

The Theatre Team: Playwright, Producer, Director, Designers, and Actors

Synopsis

The group responsible for selecting a play and the style of its production must first reach a consensus on their reason for being and their rationale for approaching an audience. The goals and modes of production are constantly evolving, requiring theatre personnel to be constantly conversant with shifts in the functions of members of theatre teams, in forms and styles of drama, and in techniques of staging. This book stresses the need for collaboration and communication among the members of the theatre team during the moving of a script toward its audience. Through examples and interviews, the volume shows the importance of clearly delegated authority and responsibility of production roles, and close interaction as the members of the theatre team interpret, rehearse, and perform a play.

Excerpt

Theatre is an art whose essence defies definition. Trying to summarize "theatre" is an old and testy exercise that probes the symbiotic relationship between playscript and performance. To move a playscript to the stage, its production team considers a staging from a broad spectrum of possibilities, ranging from a conventional to a radical approach. Though an unconventional staging of an author's script may please some audiences, a sanctified rather than radical and elastic approach to text may be the preference of traditional respecters of drama (Brustein 1994, 29).

Some viewers of innovative stagings "adapted to modern sensibilities" would prefer reading a play rather than watching its "temporal manifestations" from a theatre seat (Goldstein 1990, xiv). Hence the journey of a page to the stage is as touchy to audiences as to the playwright, producer, director, designers, and actors who make up our theatre teams.

Cautious references to the challenges in moving a play to the stage have appeared throughout theatre history. Vsevelod Meyerhold (1874- 1940), an influential Russian director of the Moscow Art Theatre, regarded scripts as materials "in need of molding and reworking" as producers and their teams took them toward performance (Meyerhold 1982, 577). Meyerhold envisioned the process of production as similar to the launching of a rocket: The rocket represents "text," and the path of the rocket from sphere to sphere suggests the text's progression toward the audience. The launching starts with a playwright; soon the playwright falls off, and the director takes the play and its actors onward; then the director falls off, and the actors must take the play away from the director . . .

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