Explain how actors manifest their training on the stage.

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Explain how actors manifest their training on the stage. In your answer refer to your study and exploration of the approaches to acting and performance of TWO of the practitioners and texts set for study.

Approaches to acting explores not only the practitioners but also the world in which their audiences are living. Brazilian theatre director Augusto Boal’s The Theatre of the Oppressed grew out of the chaos and oppression in Brazil in the 1950’s-70’s. The aesthetics of his approach to acting came from his philosophy and belief in humanity’s ability to change through theatre. The Theatre of the Oppressed is therefore a theatre of liberation and the actors and non-actors are trained in a specific way to realise Boal’s theatrical forms. He published his theories in a book; Games for Actors and Non-Actors. Tadashi Suzuki’s text, The Ways of Acting, chose not to provide a manual for acting training but rather to present his philosophical approach to the stage, the nature of acting and the place of purpose of performance in contemporary society. His ideas were influenced by Japanese Noh and Kabuki theatre and he sought a deeper meaning in his practice and found it in the metaphysical and ritualistic dimensions of his method. Both practitioners manifest their training on the stage through their actor training and their audience engagement.

In Augusto Boal’s philosophy, “ordinary citizens are actors who are simply unaware of the play, and everyone can make theatre, even the untrained.” Brazil suffered two military coups in 1964 and 1969 and during this time Boal performed with his acting troupe to peasants and workers who were affected by the coups. However he realised that the ideas he were presenting were only revolutionary in theory as he and his middle class actors lived far from the reality from those who they were performing. As both a theorist and director, Boal was especially intrigued by the relationship between the spec-actor and the actor, and his career was a step towards a greater partnership between the two. From this central idea, Boal created an interactive and politically expressive theatre form known as The Theatre of the Oppressed.

The Theatre of the Oppressed is a form of theatre where a group or community of people in oppressive situations come together to discuss their experiences and investigate as a group was that they can change the situation they are in. Boal uses his theatre as a means of promoting social and political change, “…the theatre is a weapon and it is the people who should wield it.” In The Theatre of the Oppressed the audience become ‘spec-actors’ and they take part in the action on stage. They help to explore, show, analyse and transform the reality in which they are living. The Theatre of the Oppressed is broken into three different forms; Image, Forum and Invisible Theatre. Image Theatre has short scenes that portray three different images; the real image, the ideal image and the image of possible transition. These images have the spec-actors created frozen tableaus about an issue of great importance to them. It allows for audience participation and moving from the real image to the ideal image opens up discussion about how they can create change within their own lives. This empowers the audience rather than them only watching a performance and it having little effect on them. Forum Theatre is organized by the Joker who controls the action and encourages audience participation. The spec-actors watch a piece of theatre on an issue dominant in their society and are called on to discuss and change the way the situation is being handled in the piece. This allows for audience engagement and brings Boal’s philosophy to the stage in the way that anyone can make theatre and it allows the public to think about ways to apply the changes they make on stage to their everyday lives. Invisible Theatre leaves the audience thinking as they are presented with a piece of theatre they are...
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