|Me at the competition years ago. Being dramatic as usual.|
This year, we also saw the festival repertory company's production of Hamlet, which was beyond amazing! I haven't seen theatre of that caliber since I saw a play at the National Theatre in London over fourteen years ago. They brought so much humor into the production, which made the contrast to the really dramatic moments spectacular.
All of this acting and directing and fabulous Shakespeare once again reaffirmed to me all the qualities good storytelling has in common. Here are some that stand out to me...
- Conflict and tension. There always has to be a problem, even in the lightest of scenes. And each character should want something and go about getting it in several different ways. The characters should always be getting in the way of each other. And characters should be trying to reach their objective through the other character(s) in their scene. That communication separates a mediocre scene from an excellent one.
- Clear transitions. Shifts in emotion and why characters choose to change tactics should be apparent and believable.
- Frame of reference. Plots aren't unique, but characters and settings are. (Shakespeare borrowed all of his plot ideas.) I've seen Richard the Third, and then at this competition, I saw Richard the Third set during the Holocaust with Richard portrayed as Hitler. Same plot, entirely different effect on the audience. Fresh characters and settings make all the difference. This also goes hand in hand with caring about the character and being grounded in the setting before the conflict of the story kicks into high gear. We added a quick and silent addition to the beginning of our ensemble scene from A Comedy of Errors to establish to the audience that there are two sets of twins before we launched into a scene with one of those sets. Then the audience would be in on the joke and possibilities for mayhem from the beginning.
- Static scenes are boring. It's a snooze to watch a scene where the actors aren't creatively blocked (the "action" in the scene, the way the actors move), just like "talking heads" are not dynamic in a novel. I watched a scene where two actors were having a cell phone conversation with each other, so neither was in the same room as each other in the scene. It was a horrible choice because the actors could never interact with each other (though they could've pulled it off if the actors were creatively blocked to stand near each other or do similar things, even though they weren't in the same "space" in their respective worlds).
|The husband, me, and Shakespeare|
Do you enjoy other art forms, and what connections have you found between them and writing?