Part Four: Inhabiting the World of the Play


Part Four: Inhabiting the World of Play

Five Approaches to Acting Series

by David Kaplan

David Kaplan lays out a ten-part plan for actors to analyze a play and ways to create individual roles within plays.

Available as: eBook | Paperback Textbook
 

You would pack differently for a safari than for a trip to the arctic, right? You would behave differently at a formal banquet than at a picnic, right? For the same reasons, an actor approaching a role needs to understand the rules for behavior in the play in which the role appears — and how a specific role is evaluated by the world of the play. In the world of the play are you well-behaved? Rude? Strong? Weak? Beautiful? Most importantly: how do you survive in the world of the play ? How do you prosper?

The cultural anthropologist Ruth Benedict offers a model for actors to identify the pattern that gives measure to the world of any play. The study of cultural anthropology may seem far afield from the study of acting, but it isn’t really: actors adapt their behavior to the circumstances of a production the way voyagers adapt to a foreign land and learn the local customs in order to survive. Actors, though, go a few steps further than anthropologists: they inhabit the stage world as if born into it, learning an appropriate accent or learning how, circa 1965, to size up a divorced woman who is smoking a cigarette while waiting for a drink.

Inhabiting the World of the Play, Part Four lays out a ten-part plan for actors to analyze a play and ways to create individual roles within plays. Inhabiting the World of the Play, Part Four gives practical applications in rehearsal and performance, explains how to apply a world of the play analysis to a text, and points actors towards available examples in film. A world of the play analysis is especially useful for plays that require heightened behavior: Shakespeare, Genet, Ionesco, for example, but also its an approach very useful for “realistic” plays. You think Neil Simon’s characters have the same rules in life or onstage as Tennessee Williams’s characters? Think again.

paperback $14.95
ISBN 978-1-60182-184-3

Other Books in The Five Approaches to Acting Series

 


Author’s Corner

 

Click here for information on using David’s teaching career.
Click here for information on David’s career as a director.

Listen and watch as Kaplan discusses his books, Tennessee Williams in Provincetown and The Five Approaches to Acting Series, respectively.

Click here to see the playlist for Tennessee Williams in Provincetown

Click here for the YouTube playlist of The Five Approaches to Acting Series