Everybody remembers the famous monologue delivered by Jaques, in As You Like It, Act 2, scene 7, which begins with Shakespeare’s philosophy, “All the world’s a stage, and all men and women merely players. How true is this speech with regards to the world? Well for some it is as true as the law of gravity and for others it might not hold any ground. However, what if we reverse this metaphor and try to analyze and examine the world of stage, what shall we come across?
The World of Stage is as fantastical as it is real. It confines in itself all the possibilities and the limitations of the actual world. On stage, a play can reflect the ongoing social scenario or distort reality and completely present the opposite or the far-fetched. For eg. On one hand we have, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ and on the other we have ‘Doll’s House’. Both these plays present two ends of a spectrum, the former employing use of the mystical and magical element and the other giving us a picture of the Real world as it is in actuality. Therefore, the world of stage is as close to the real world as it can be away from it.
The world of stage is much more and beyond what meets the eye. Behind the spectacle of the stage, acting, props, music, art and other things, lie the incessant rehearsals, mind-boggling directions, tiring run-throughs, and finally the final performance that is critiqued or applauded by the audience. Hence, the world of stage is no different from the actual world full of trials, tribulations, victory, defeats, happiness, sorrows, etc. Therefore, can we say that all the world’s a stage or a stage in itself is a world? Think about it.
Is it really difficult to be a playwright? The answer to this question is both yes and no. Like for anything else that an individual would like to achieve, one has to work very hard and consistently. Similarly, in order to be a good playwright, what is important and obvious is ‘Writing Plays’. Write plays and gradually move on to writing good plays. It is not a rule that the first play written cannot be good, but as you practice writing, it becomes your forte. Writing plays does not mean that you start by writing full-length plays of 5 or 6 acts. Start small by writing plays of 2 or 3 scenes with less characters and a simple basic story line that does not involve too much movement in time and space.
Another important point to be kept in mind is that plays are written to be performed and rarely to be read. Therefore, it will be very beneficial for an aspiring playwright to first understand the dynamics of acting and actors. Enroll for an acting class and then for a direction class. Both programs will help you think like an actor and a director. How will these help in writing plays? Well for starters, you would be aware of the requirements of the actors and directors. Direction will help you in putting together the script and developing the story.
One more useful thing to do, would be to watch as much theatrical productions as possible, especially if the productions are related to the evolution of theater over a period of time, right from classical to modern. Performance is the most significant thing when it comes to plays. Therefore, once you have written your play make sure that you read it aloud or have actors read the script out loud. If you feel that your play is ready to performed then well, congratulations, you have stepped on the road to be a playwright. After the first attempt, join a local theater company, work with them, know the technical aspects and then write your new script. From then on, the more prolific you are in writing the sooner you would become a playwright. Successful productions play a major role in shaping the career of a playwright. So, write, read aloud, act, perform and direct! Some books that might prove helpful are: The Art and Craft of Playwriting by Hatcher, Naked Playwriting by William Missouri Downs and Robin Russin, Stuart Spencer’s ‘The Playwright’s Guidebook, Aristotle’s ‘‘Poetics’, etc.
Musicals or Musical Theater is one of the most sought after forms of Theater. It is a huge canvas that displays colors of music, song, dance, dialog and story. Every moment except for delivering a dialog, is choreographed in Musicals. Musical Theater is also one of the most famous theater form. The history of Music in Theater dates back to the early Greek theatrical traditions, continuing through Renaissance, early comedies of early 18th and 19th century, etc. The Masque theater can be hailed as the immediate ancestor of the Musicals.
However, the much needed impetuous to Musical Theater was given between the 1940 – 1950 in America, after cessation of World War II. After that, Musical Theater, took a rebirth in Oklahoma and after that did not look back. Since then it has emerged as one of the most successful forms of Dramatic Arts. Musicals as it involves music is strongly influenced by the contemporary music of the age, which lead to the emergence of Rock musicals, pop musicals, European musicals, etc. The basic story of a musical can be both fiction or derived from social realities. More often than not it has been observed that Musicals depict a lot of social reality. They also satirize the existing social conditions.
Theater for many people involved in arts and aesthetics might not seem a lucrative option. As a popular notion stands that people in theater hardly lead a life of comfort. This is as much a misconception as any other. Theater can be a really good professional choice if you have a passion for it and are ready to undertake a bit of struggle. As any other job, theater requires full dedication and devotion. There are many positions in theater that can be applied for.
These are divided into different categories such as backstage, stage-designer, sound engineers and many more. Other than the technical side, one can always be an assistant director, director, actor, script-writer, choreographer, etc. All these job options are obviously related to the talent an individual possesses. Other choice is that of being a Theater critic. For this the individual has to be aware of cross cultural theater, technicalities of theater, etc. It is a highly respected job profile but to reach a particular status as a critic, one has to write and watch theater extensively and intensively.
Experimentation in any field always evokes hesitation and apprehension at first but it results in progress and success in later. Similarly, theater is a liberated art form that is never reluctant to use any sort of experimentation in its style. Like any art form, theater is also fluid and dynamic that blends ideas together and incorporates them into its structure.
It is due to the result of such experimentation that till now so many revolutionizing theater movements have come to the fore and pushed forward the development of theater. These movements include Blue Blouse movement, Absurd Movement, Existentialism, Social Realism, Alienation in Theater, Classical Revival, Naturalism, etc. Experimentation does not hurt anybody but only shakes them out of their comfort zone and encourages them to be different.
Although innovations and new theatrical experiments have resulted in abandoning the age old classical dramatic traditions. However, sometimes theatrical productions do include the elements of classic theater in their plays such as elaborate plots, heroic characters, excessive emotions, music, dance, etc.
In some plays, not all classical elements are present and a few of them are used according to the demands of the script and story. In some plays the whole story is enacted in correspondence with all the classical elements. In such cases the production can be said to be based on Classical plays of Roman and Greek culture. These classical elements were originally enumerated by Aristotle, the Greek philosopher. Theater then becomes a very good medium through which we can again enjoy the flavor of classical theater in the present.
Music has been used in Theater for a long time. There are some productions that do not make use of music at all and the sound effects are created either by characters back-stage or on stage. There is no hard and fast rule as far as music is concerned in theater and is totally dependent on the script of the play. If the script demands it, then its inclusion seems but natural.
Musicals and Opera are two genres of Theater in which music plays a very important role and is the basis of the production. Musicals attract a lot of crowd and are favorite among the general public who love to see the beautiful spectacle and sensational choreography. Music in other productions is used to either highlight an effect, express the emotion of a character. Sometimes it is also used depict the state of mind of a character, communicate a particular feeling to the audience. Music, song and dance helps the audience to be aware of the fact that action on stage is unreal and is crafted. Inclusion of Music has been basically borrowed from Musicals and partly from the classical mode of Drama.