Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

5-2014

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M.F.A.

Department

Theatre Arts

Committee Chair

Steiger, Amy Lynn

Committee Member

Crites, Erin

Committee Member

Dietrich, Julia C.

Subject

Acting; Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616. Tempest; Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616--Characters--Ariel

Abstract

This thesis serves to argue the importance of skills related to strength and stamina in the field of theatre performance, particularly in regards to engaging young audiences by applying physical spectacle to classical theatre works. This thesis explores the physical theatre theories of Tadashi Suzuki, Mary Overlie, Rudolf Laban, and the theatrical style of Commedia dell’Arte as applied to my role as Ariel in The Tempest. It also reflects on the use of aerial silks in the same Shakespearean production, serving to prove that the skills required for such a strenuous physical activity are useful for actors as they attempt to both create an engaging visual experience for the audience, while also serving the text and making it easier to understand. The application of aerial acrobatics to a Shakespearean production required extensive training and preparation, and also proved difficult in the rehearsal process. Even so, the preparation required proved to be necessary and rewarding for a final product that engaged, entertained, and clarified otherwise difficult language for the audience. The strength and stamina, as well as the focus required for such a performance, has served as an excellent standard going forward for the dedication, energy and specificity required as I create interesting characters on unrelated projects and productions.

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