The scene in which Catherine dreams of her father and confronts Hal about stealing her father’s work
The scene where Catherine and Claire talk about their lives and what happened with Hal
The scene where Catherine and Hal begin a relationship after the concert
The scene the morning after the concert in which Claire and Catherine argue about Catherine moving to New York
2. Act 2
The scene in which there is a flashback to when Hal drops off his thesis to Robert when Catherine first meets Hal
The scene in which Hal, Catherine, and Claire argue about who wrote the proof
The scene in which Claire gives Hal the proof against the wishes of Catherine
The scene in which there is a flashback to the beginning of Robert’s illness as well as his wanting to talk about the proof with Catherine
The scene in which Catherine and Claire leave Chicago and Hal brings the good news of the proof’s validity
Since before my time in IB theatre, I have read many plays of very different origins. From Greek theatre, to American satire, my experiences within plays have given me inspiration from a broad range of contexts.
Plays that I have read:
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Being a classic and by Shakespeare, the imagination and thoughtfulness put into this production behind the plot and the characters themselves. To bring the same feeling of wonder to my audience as this play brings to me would be a goal that I have.
The drama and heart-wrenching sentiments that come from this play are what I hope to bring to the drama of Proof. Since this play also uses the same themes as Proof, so by analyzing the theatrical elements from this play, I want to forge a close bond between the audience and Catherine as Medea did with its audience.
A Doll's House
Just like Medea, A Doll's House links the audience with the inner feelings of a female protagonist. Unique elements that I could borrow from in this play could be the theme of independence. Through her journey, Nora learns to do what's best for her. Borrowing this same theme, I want to promote self-love just as much as love for others and family.
Since Proof delves deep into the character of Catherine, I wish to mimic the same level of detail and for the audience to resonate just as much with her as with the characters in the Tempest.
Like most of the Shakespeare plays that I have read, I find inspiration with the emotions of the characters and their depth. I hope to bring the same intensity of feeling to Catherine and the characters of Proof from those in Macbeth.
The most notable element that I took away from Rumors as an actor was the relationships between the couples in the play. In fact, it was the entire basis of the production. I want to apply the same level of connection between the characters to the relationships between Catherine and Robert as well as Catherine and Hal.
Secret in the Wings
Secret in the Wings gave me inspiration because it was so innovative in its involvement with the props. Since Proof is supposed to be a realistic play, I won't be able to have the same surrealistic element. However, I do want the actors to interact with the props so that they have a purpose, and not just a place on the stage.
I Hate Hamlet
The energetic attitude from I Hate Hamlet is what inspired me the most, as it gave off an aura of excitement and adventure. I want my production of Proof to make the audience feel enchanted with whatever sentiment I am trying to convey, because it will only make the themes and other elements stronger.
Death by Design
This play is unique in that it is not afraid to interact heavily with the audience. Multiple times there are close fourth-wall breaks and references to the play's nature are made. This element made me more aware of how I wanted to treat the barrier that separated the fictional world from the audience. I decided that I wanted to preserve the authenticity of the play as much as possible by making the play realistic.
The tragedy of Oedipus made me think about the inevitability of fate. Perhaps I could analyze this theme in relation to Proof as the theme is pertinent to both plays. Even though Proof is a little less violent in communicating this theme, it can still have an impact on the audience through the moments between Catherine and the other characters.
Other arts performances that I found inspiration in:
The Man of La Mancha
Naked Giants Concert
I found that the most influential elements that I took away from these other types of performances were the intricacy of the set, a dedication to the mood and tone of the performance, and authenticity of the characters within the performance. In live music concerts, the energy that came from the set is what moved me as an audience member the most. Even if the music was not the most enjoyable, stage presence revived the piece altogether or helped it at least. If the tone and mood were set by the performers with a fervent dedication, then I became more interested in the piece and its message. When I saw The Man of La Mancha, I was captivated with how complicated the set was and how much time and effort was put into it. I spent the majority of the production analyzing the set and how it was constructed, as the attention to detail is what made it so attractive to me. Detail is admirable in a performance, and it is noticeable. Finally, the authenticity of the performers gave life to the play. The more unique and present the actors were, the more I was able to understand the message of the performance and focus on the less-physical elements of the production. From all of this, I think that the most important thing when making my own production is that I want to make a cohesive collaboration between all of the play's elements so that one does not distract from another.
This week we made some major revisions to our piece. We changed the set, the plot, and the characters quite a bit. After watching a video of the performance itself with our teacher, some major flaws and problems presented themselves that required attention. It changed the perspective of our devising group to a great extent, and made us more aware of what we wanted to do as a group. To elaborate, we completely reorganized the set so that it looked more authentic, adding more props such as actual cardboard boxes, books, clothes, and covered the set floor in canvas to make it more recognizable that the protagonist was moving. The plot was entirely reformatted because as a group we decided that we needed a member to do lights as some of the sequences were too complex for others to work. That meant an moment was removed from the play, and we also changed the beginning of the production so that all members entered at once and would remain until the end unlike our original idea which was that the characters only came on one at a time. The characters themselves changed quite a bit; we gave each one a name and personality to remove any vagueness that came along with a lack of defined character. Over the past two weeks, we also formed a script that we are going to use to better format the production and remove wasted time or holes, allowing for better flow and a template to rehearse around.
After these changes, my job as a prop master became much harder as the number of props increased at least two fold. Our group now has incredibly clear aspirations and goals to look forward to, so I think that actually looking at the production itself via video helped us immensely. Next week we plan to show the play to the other devising group in our class, and we still might make more changes. Opening night is in two weeks, so now it's time to focus. This is what I live for in theatre; watch a piece develop and grow under the minds of creative individuals to something great more than words and ideas on a piece of paper.
The deadline at the end of December is fast approaching, so this past week my group and I decided to dedicate one day to schedule the activites and things we wanted to accomplish each day. On Thursday after we finally compelted the schedule, we rehearsed on the stage for the rest of the period. This week, we also explored the ending of the play physically by trying out different ideas of each group member. We already had a foundation for the end; it was supposed to revolve around the acrostic of the word "Nostalgia." Earlier in the devising process, we performed an exercise where we wrote personal acrostics to the word which was our theme, and the group decided on using these products in the end as they carried an importance for our individual interpretations and meaning behind Nostalgia. We still haven't decided on a title for the piece, and I think that through rehearsals and practicing, we could discover it. By the end of Christmas break, we hope to have our lines down, sounds, and props, lights, and costumes finalized. The week before the performance, we will have a full tech rundown and dress rehearsals. At this point in the process, we have our storyboard down, and we need to focus on polishing the production itself and reflecting.
We were finally able to get all members of our group at school, so we could officially finish our draft production. Hopefully this week we get to reveal it to our teacher for feedback. We were able to figure out everything except for some minor mishaps including the conclusion. Otherwise, it looks good and I enjoy the production quite a bit. Some small holes that might appear in play elements could be the transitions, and we also don't currently have a solid script to the production itself. I do not know if we necessarily need one, and our devising group wants to make it more natural by creating an improvised production. I think that we are in a good position, and we can begin revising our piece and working more on technical elements.
This week we were able to accomplish quite a bit. We have a deadline next week on which we are supposed to show our teacher what we have for our devised piece. On Tuesday, we were able to figure out the first draft of our storyboard for our production. Also on Tuesday, we finalized some moments and elaborated upon others to solidify the content. Today on Thursday, we performed and revised our piece in preparation for next week. Since we didn't have one of our group members present, we were only able to go through three quarters of the production, but we can always go over those parts next Tuesday. We were also able to discover the containers for our piece: the set is a bedroom, there are two "worlds" in which we confront, and our props are always on the set. The revision process was a collaboration and a collection of trial and error. The improvisation games that we played earlier in the devising process seemed to have created a lasting effect that improves everyone's skills as an actor or actress. I feel like our group is very prepared for next week for the presentation, but we still need to finalize on a couple of elements before we have a definite "first draft" of a production.
This last week we assigned roles for the members of the devising group and developed more moments. Since we realized it would be easier to start to start thinking of various elements for the production, we prioritized roles this week. I voiced that I enjoyed working back stage and managing props in my past experiences, so I was luckily able to get the role of prop manager. Other roles assigned were lighting expert, stage designer, sounds, director, and writer. The point of making roles is not to restrict others from giving input; everyone will have a say in final decisions but they will revolve around the ideas of the person assigned to the specific role. Moments that we developed were from different group members that did not get the chance last week to try to make theirs. I find it interesting that as we create moments, all the other elements start to fall into place and make sense. I hope this progress continues.
This week our group created exercises based off of the techniques of Stanislavsky and various theatre companies that we are going to use to create moments. This Thursday, we reflected on a specific moment for each of us and we deployed our exercises to help develop moments for each of those ideas. The exercise we used was the interaction between an actor and the set; a kind of devising and improvisation method where the actor would use boxes to make a moment. Since our production revolves around the theme of nostalgia, the moment where the actor experienced the feeling another member would snap offstage, and the actor would be given nostalgic items or topics where they would have to react with facial expression to each of the things listed. As soon as the list finished, the offstage member would snap again and the moment would continue. I used this to develop a moment about a Halloween dance when I was in middle school where my mom dressed as Michael Jackson for the Thriller video, jumpsuit and all. The object that triggered my nostalgia was the red jacket that my mom wore for the dance. The exercises that I hope to use range from spontaneous crayon drawings to trying to sell an unknown object in gibberish. I look forward to conceiving more moments for our piece, because I felt this week was very productive. The video below is a timelapse of the work we did this week.
To find some inspiration or search for an example of a Collaborative Theatre Portfolio, I looked at one on the IB website labeled "Insomnia." I found the focus on physical and total theatre interesting to me, since I enjoy the innovation behind the use of the body to tell an entire story. When I read the portfolio, I found what I expected: background of the individual, the process of collaborating, and participation of the individual in the devising process and final piece. In order to demonstrate the growth of an individual within theatre (as IB so often requires), I knew it would be necessary to incorporate your own insight into theatre, how it impacts you, your own research and involvement in theatre, and how your knowledge affects the group as a whole. The process was pretty self-explanatory: show how the piece was developed and what the student brought to the process and applied their insight into the evolution of the production. A thing that I found interesting that I didn't think of including before was the storyboard of the final piece. Although it is helpful to describe the process of the piece, it is also helpful to lay out the final structure of the production. I think that my experience within my own theatre company also prepares me for the collaborative project: it taught me about intentions, audience, and message. I was surprised to see the same elements being used in the portfolio that I read. I hope that this project will be fairly easy because of the experience that I already have. I'm looking forward to it!