The Urban Legend Project was a very helpful and enlightening introduction to theatre concepts. I had initially not known about the different assigned roles of creator, director, designer, and performer, and the project helped me to explore what there roles meant and how they could be applied to the production and design process of creating a show. Although our creative process got off to a slow start because we were having trouble finding a myth that we liked and all agreed on that would fit our needs for the project, once we had our myth and a direction to work in, we did not run into many major issues and were able to work fairly quickly. I felt that having assigned roles also helped the speed of our work. Because we all knew exactly who needed to do what, we did not have to constantly wonder if we were missing pieces of the project. I felt that this project was also helpful in revealing areas of show production that I did not usually think about. For example, although I often see ads for local theatre productions, I had never created one myself or thought about the many different ways to spread the word about the show. This aspect of theatre production was especially interesting for me to consider because in English class we have been looking at how media is used to reach and influence a wide range of people. Regarding our project pitch, I was glad that we had assigned an equal amount of work to each person with the creator, director, and designer roles. This made it very easy for us each to talk about a portion of our project that we were familiar with and could answer questions about. In past presentations from other classes, the workload has not been as evenly divided and it makes the presentation difficult and stressful. I also loved hearing the questions and comments from the audience that allowed us to reflect on the specific choices that we had made regarding our production and come up with new and improved ideas. I know that I will be able to use what I have learned from this project to improve upon future work in this class.
My first impression of Antigone was surprise at how the lines were constructed. Rather than the short lines and back-and-forth banter that I was accustomed to reading in scripts, the characters approached each line as a monologue. While this allowed each character to almost tell a small story every time they talked, it made it so that one person was talking for a very long time. Also, when a character would start to talk about something not directly related to the story, it made it hard to follow the message that they were trying to convey. Despite this, I loved the character of Antigone and how she was defiant and proud and unafraid to stand up for what she believed in. I felt that she was a great representation of how strong women can be, an idea that is especially important in modern times.
To create our Urban Legend Theoretical Production, we began by dividing up the roles of creator, director, and designer. We did not include the role of performer because our production was theoretical and would not be performed. Once we had assigned each person in our group a role, we each focused on an aspect of the theoretical production.The job of the creator was to research the myth in depth in order to create a synopsis and generate main character descriptions. The director would choose the performance location, finalize the casting choices, and write the director's statement. The designer looked at the creative elements like costuming and sets in order to create the mood of the show. Once we had developed all of the pieces of our production, we assembled them together in a slide show that would allow us to easily present our ideas to the rest of the class. While working on this project, we had to take into consideration what the definition of an urban myth was. The Gravity Hill myth that we used is based off of a real phenomenon: a place where cars appear to roll uphill due to and optical illusion. However, we were able to find a myth regarding why cars the cars act this way on the hill, and that is the story that we told our production. We also had to consider how we were going to portray a car and a hill onstage somewhat realistically. This influenced our choice in performance location because we needed a stage big enough and strong enough to support our set. A challenge that we encountered was figuring out what time period we wanted our show to take place in. The myth did not give any specific time or date, so we used clues in the story to help us. We knew that the car in the story was a stick shift, and also that none of the characters in the myth had cell phones to contact each other. We decided to set our play in the 80s because we liked the mood that the 80s clothing and cars would bring to our story, and we knew that the technologies of this time period would fit with the clues that we found in the myth. Something that came easily in our process was creating the character descriptions because we were able to determine their characteristics and mannerisms through the way that they acted in the original myth that we found. Through the process of creating a hypothetical production of our myth, we were able to explore the different roles in theatre as well as gaining experience regarding troubleshooting problems in the creation of a theatre production.
Director-The director works to translate what the writers have written into a physical medium on the stage. They must remain authentic to the story, while also creating something visually and emotionally impactful for the audience. It is their job to make sure that the creative, design, and performance elements of a show all line up and fit with each other.
Performer- It is the performer's job to reflect the ideas of the designer, director, and creator to the audience. The actor must interpret the part of a specific character and form a connection with the audience in order to help them become immersed in the show.
Designer- The designer works with the director and creator to develop an atmosphere and mood onstage. It is up to them to create the conceptual side of the story in order to present the audience with information
Creator- The creator is responsible for the generation and compilation of ideas that will be formed into the show. In addition to coming up with ideas, the creator must also have an understanding of what will work onstage and what will not, and be able to reject or modify ideas in order to produce the best possible show.
To me, theatre is used by humans to express a vastly wide range of emotions, ideas, and perspectives. It mixes the good and the bad, the lighthearted and the serious, the familiar and the foreign. Sometimes things that are confusing in life can become clearer when expressed through the art of performance. As James Houghton suggests, theatre has the ability to help us understand our relevance in the world. One important aspect of this is the relationship between the performer and viewer. In order for a mutual understanding to be developed, Sir Howard Panter feels that it is essential for the audience to be in the same space as the actors. Personally, I agree with this and believe that breathing the same air allows the two groups to connect in a way that is closer to real life than what we can get from a screen. I feel that this is what is so moving about theatre- what the characters experience is unfolding right in front of you. Like in real life, there is no pause button, mute, or rewinding. The show keeps chugging along whether or not you are ready to see what happens next. Sometimes what plays out onstage is fantastical and transports you to the deep parts of your imagination, and sometimes what is happening in front of you is all too real. Either way, you never leave the theatre with the same view of the world as when you entered. As Professor Alan Read said: "Theatre does not tease people out of their everyday lives like other expressions of wish fulfillment but reminds them who they are and what is worth living and changing in their lives every day."