Playing Episodes, Part Two, Five Approaches to Acting Series



Playing Episodes, Part Two, Five Approaches to Acting Series
Product Details

Playing Episodes, Part Two in the Five Approaches to Acting Series by David Kaplan is the second part in the Five Approaches to Acting Series. By popular demand of instructors and students alike, all five of David Kaplan's approaches to acting have been unbundled into separate acting textbooks to allow instructors to pick and choose the approaches that best fit their methodology of teaching acting.

Here is David Kaplan on the essentials of Playing Episodes, Part Two in the Five Approaches to Acting Series:

An episode is something that happens onstage that the audience understands separately from the whole of the play: Romeo reveals himself to Juliet, the Gentleman Caller breaks Laura’s heart, Didi and Gogo wait for Godot.

Using an episodic approach a performer works to make each episode clear to the audience. All elements of a performance: actors, text, music, props, costumes, lights, décor, contribute to an episode as would the parts of a machine. Using an episodic approach, actors in rehearsals and performances create roles in a working ensemble, rather than emphasizing the illusion of a “realistic” character. Working to polish episodes, actors assign headlines that answer the questions What happens? To whom? — while questions of What do I want? and How do I feel? are left deliberately unanswered so as to involve the audience. Contradictions in motivation and action are kept in a dynamic opposition, unresolved by any simple-minded “super-objective.” The effect on stage is simple, direct, moving, and engaging.

Episodic techniques developed in early twentieth century Russia and Germany, based on the study of Shakespeare’s texts and other non-realistic plays. Playing episodes became the international silent film technique and is still the basis of most film work. Onstage today an episodic approach is especially useful for Shakespeare, Brecht and Sam Shepard, but essential for any actor working on realistic plays — Chekhov, Ibsen, and Williams, for example — in which a mass of individual “objectives” can obscure the events and significance of the play.

Playing Episodes, Part Two in the Five Approaches to Acting Series includes a useful explanation of terms, instruction in applying techniques in rehearsal and performance, practical classroom exercises, detailed script analysis, the history and theory behind the approach, as well as inspiring examples to be seen on film.

All five of David Kaplan's approaches to acting are available together with an additional part that deals with comparing, choosing and combing the different approaches in his The Collected Series: Five Approaches to Acting. This is an excellent acting textbook that deals with theory and practice for both beginning and seasoned actors.

David Kaplan, author

About the Author

David Kaplan is an author and theater director who stages plays around the world with professional companies in indigenous languages and settings. He is a former Fellow at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center in Austin, Texas, the repository of Tennessee Williams’ literary estate. He has experience directing Williams’ repertory around the world.

In 2003 Mr. Kaplan staged Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale in Cantonese at the Hong Kong Repertory Theater. Seasons past include directing the first Russian production of Tennessee Williams’ Suddenly Last Summer (the subject of a TASS documentary), a Sufi King Lear in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, performed in the Uzbek language and broadcast on Uzbek television; Genet’s The Maids in Ulaan Baator, Mongolia, performed in Mongolian. In America he has staged his own adaptation of The Circus of Dr. Lao in Los Angeles, Tennessee Williams’ The Traveling Companion at WestBeth in New York, and Williams’ Frosted Glass Coffins in Birmingham, Alabama. He is the curator of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival.

David Kaplan is also the author of Tennesse Williams in Provincetown (Hansen Publishing Group, 2007) and articles on such varied subjects as Eudora Welty and Andres Segovia, the history of Shakespeare productions in Central Asia, the American monologist Ruth Draper, the twenty-first century freaks of Coney Island USA. His translations of Chinese poetry from eighteenth century Japan will appear in the journal Alehouse early 2007.

January 2007

ISBN 978-1-60182-182-9
Paperback Text, 68 pages
© 2007 Hansen Publishing Group, LLC