When you are working towards a performance – applying theory from a particular practitioner or implementing the skills from a specific world theatre practice – as a practitioner you are clear about your own goals and intended impact, but…. how do you know if you have achieved what you set out to do?
This blog will look at how you can make the invisible visible, and how you can build constructively on the feedback from your peers. It will also look at how you can more effectively analyse the work of others.
The guidelines and activities below aim to assist in how to achieve a specific impact (this relates to the PPP and TPPP) and analyse your own work and the work of others.
Linking it to Stanislavsky
In ‘Building a character’ (p276) Stanislavsky wrote:
“Your immediate objective ……has to be to train your physical apparatus to the limits of your natural, inborn capacity. You must…go on developing, correcting, tuning your bodies until every part of them will respond to the predestined and complex task….of presenting in external form your invisible feelings.”
The stages to achieving your intended impact and making the invisible visible in external form
1. Set some personal goals – when working on any performance make sure you know what you want to achieve, what theory you are applying and how you are going to grow. WRITE THESE DOWN.
2. Set some group goals – know what you will learn from others, and how you will contribute to the work of others.
3. Identify your weaknesses. What do you need help with? What do you need feedback on? BE SPECIFIC and LIMIT what you will work on.
4. What research do you need to carry out to inform your work? Share resources with your group and plan ACTION. How will the information from these sources change and develop your work?
5. Share your work. Tell others what aspects of the invisible you want to make visible, and request feedback on each stage of your work.
Document your failures and successes
Below is an image of one of my students’ performances. This was a solo performance that implemented Stanislavsky’s System in a DOOR performance, where the students worked with the 6 questions and other aspects of the system to create a character’s story in relation to the moods, through line of action, units, beats, objectives and given circumstances leading up to opening the door.
The student wrote this about her performance:
“This picture illustrates the part where the character hears a loud crash outside her room and immediately realises that her parents are fighting again. The immediate response to the invisible bang changing the positive, hopeful, bright vital energy of her character to being a completely frightened, almost paranoid character was supposed be one of the biggest impact to the audience with the sudden change of mood. By slowing curling myself up making myself look small and vulnerable getting closer to the ground was supposed to signify her loss in confidence and her terror in hearing her parents fight “again” with all the bad memories especially with her mother getting beaten up coming back to her. Through this scene I was basically trying to show the character in torture and fright especially with the idea of her coming back to her miserable reality after the previous “happy time of her own” where she was to take shelter from her miserable and violent family situations.”
She performed to the group and then asked for specific feedback related to the 5 areas above. The rubric below was used to guide the audience and the nature of their feedback.
How do you know if you have achieved what you set out to do?
This student had many goals related to her impact on the audience, how the audience analysed:
- her relationship
- what invisible things they saw
- what silent things they heard
- her changes in beats and emotions
- the nature of the environment
Below is a table to use with your peers. Ask them to refer to it when giving feedback. Also use it to help you with your own feedback to your peers. It will help improve your performances and achieve your desired impacts. It will also give you specific moments to refer to in your TPPP about working with others, and provides rich material for impact on the audience for your PPP.