Theatre Performance Analysis
Last week, I attended a stage performance of Shakespeare’s timeless and tragic play Romeo & Juliet at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide. It was an adaptation by Geordie Brookman (also the director) and Nicki Bloom. The cast had only six performers and they were required to occasionally switch characters. The run-time was 140 minutes. The purpose of this paper is to conduct a performance analysis on the use of body and voice of individual performers and overall group work among performers. The scope is limited to salient features of the performance only which precludes any detailed analysis on individual performances.
The use of body is analyzed on the basis of viewpoints of time and space proposed by Landau (2000). To differentiate the principal characters, Romeo was wearing a black beanie and Juliet was wearing a head scarf at all times. The overall tempo of the play was very fast as the director tried to compress the original five acts in a single play of 140 minutes. The individual sequences typically lasted from two minutes to over ten minutes in the case of final sequence. Since the performers were required to play different roles, their characters in a sequence were present for even lesser times. However, it often resulted in repetition of certain body movements even if the same character was playing different roles. One of the characters Josephine Were kept repeating her body movements no matter if she was playing nurse or Juliet. A positive feature of the play was the strong angles and sharp edges that the actors were creating during the play. Even though the performers were inexperienced in their profession, they showed proficient utilization of available space while creating unique shapes such as circles or triangles during the sequences. The lead actors relied on expressive gestures (facial expressions and body language) to communicate different feelings of love, anger, sorrow, remorse etc. Their portrayal of their...
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Brookman, G., & Bloom, N. (2010, August 9-26). Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare. (State Theatre Company, Performer) Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia.
Landau, T. (2000). Source-book, the viewpoints and composition : what are they? In W. Worthen, Harcourt Brace anthology of drama (pp. 1182-1190). Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace College Publisher.
Lenny, B. (2010, August). Romeo and Juliet. Retrieved August 28, 2010, from Glam Adelaide Web site: http://www.glamadelaide.com.au/main/romeo-and-juliet/
Oddey, A. (1984). Beginnings : how and where to start. In A. Oddey, Devising theatre : a practical and theoretical handbook (pp. 24-41). London: Routledge.
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