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subtext [ noun ] :
1. The meaning (as of a literary text)
2. A story within the story.

... and how we do it.

... CHARACTER = place, where idea and action meet (notes for Aristotle about "dramatic poetry").

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Subtext and FILM

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... Beckett and After : Stoppard Rosencratnz & Guildenstern are Dead [ nothing is said about the most important, as should be! "What is not said matters"! ]

ref: what is subtext?

Good actor acts subtext and good director "creates" subtext : no subtext = no drama

...


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... subtext page in script.vtheatre.net

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What are the techniques of developing the "inner monologue" for your character? The dialectic concept must be introduced (start in Acting One).

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"LIVING A PART"
The approach we have chosen--the art of living a part--[asserts] that the main factor in any form of creativeness is the life of a human spirit, that of the actor and his part, their joint feelings and subconscious creation. . . . What we hold in highest regard are impressions made on our emotions, which leave a lifelong mark on the spectator and transform actors into real, living beings. . . . Aside from the fact that it opens up avenues for inspiration, living a part helps the artist to carry out one of his main objectives. His job is not to present merely the external life of his character. He must fit his own human qualities to the life of this other person, and pour into it all of his own soul. . . . An artist takes the best that is in him and carries it over on the stage. The form will vary according to the necessities of the play, but the human emotions of the artist will remain alive, and they cannot be replaced by anything else.

Therefore, no matter how much you act, how many parts you take, you should never allow yourself any exception to the rule of using your own feelings. Salvini said: "The great actor . . . should feel the thing he is portraying . . . not only once or twice while he is studying his part, but to a greater or lesser degree every time he plays it, no matter whether it is the first or thousandth time."

Always act in your own person. You can never get away from yourself. The moment you lose yourself on the stage marks the departure from truly living your part and the beginning of exaggerated, false acting. Spiritual realism, truth of artistic feelings . . . these are the most difficult (achievements) of our art, they require long, arduous inner preparation.

The difference between my art and that [practiced by others] is the difference between "seeming" and "being."' --An Actor Prepares
--Building a Character * Stanislavsky

2006:

Homecoming

... Words : Body Language : Paralanguage

Communication Model : sender - medium - receiver

"message" and subtext [ New Drama, Chekhov and Ideology ]

... 2009 teatr.us ?


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Subtext, take 2

ACTION & THOUGHT
To illustrate the concept of subtext I tell the students that, when my son was around two, I would scream at him "I will kill you!" -- and somehow he knew that this is a game -- and laughed. You can try it with a stranger -- and see for yourself what will happened. So the text itself is not the message! There is another text, which says "I love you!" -- where is it?

Maybe my numbers are not exact, but the communication studies claim that over 50% of the message come from the body language, over 30% -- paralingual (loudness and etc.) -- and under 10% from the words only!

Here is why we need to understand the SUBTEXT.

We say one thing, think another, do -- the third. That's normal, it's life. All three must be connected and DIFFERENT; with the conflict between SAYING, THINKING and DOING is the DRAMA. How do we know what Hamlet thinks about (besides him telling us); easy, because of the difference between what he does and he says.

Connotation 
Metacommunicative competence 
Implication 
Innuendo 
Dramatic irony 
dict/glossary
The best theoretical use of formating new meaning by conflicting messages is dialectics in film language (montage and Kuleshov Effect). Eisenstein (second after Stanislavsky teacher of Meyerhold) describes two shots as "thesis" and "antithesis" which in their clash produce "synthesis" (the third meaning, which includes both conflicting propositions -- and the new quality, Hegel).

Meyerhold, in fact, suggested the most radical languistic situation, which he called "countra-text": playing against the text (my baby-son' story). Statement + Anti-Statement, delivered at the same time; the purest expression of conflict (inner contractions).

How our screen formula "1 + 1 > 2" (the whole is bigger that its components) works for acting?

Back to basics: conflict is based on the opposites. White asks for black, cold for hot, and so on. If the text expressing love, look for body language communicating hate (this is simplification, "mechanical" approach). What is important for is the contrast between two medias (verbal and physical). How both could be presented at the same time?

Only if understand that field of drama is in spectator, he is the one who does the mixing (in film, the viewer uses "cut" to bridge two shots, to bring the reason for them to be next to each other). The third state (synthesis) could be understood (formated) in the spectator's mind. He is the true "acting machine" (generator of action).

[ Subtext and Directing ]

...

wikipedia.org/wiki/Subtext

Samples from the great novels: Raskolnikov (Crime & Punishment, Dostoevsky).

I also use the great paintings (fine art) to help me to get the sense of a character. Let say, Masha (Chekhov's "3 Sisters"):

MASHA. I want to confess my sins, dear sisters. My soul is yearning. I'm going to confess to you and never again to anyone... I'll tell you this minute [softly]. It's my secret, but you must know everything.... I can't be silent... [a pause]. I'm in love, I'm in love... I love that man.... You have just seen him... Well, I may as well say it. I love Vershinin. [ ] But what am I to do? [Clutches her head.] At first I thought him strange... then I was sorry for him... then I came to love him... to love him with his voice, his words, his misfortunes, his two little girls... [ ] I love him -- so that's my fate. It means that that's my lot... And he loves me... It's all terrifying. Yes? Is it wrong? [Takes IRINA by the hand and draws her to herself] Oh, my darling... How are we going to live our lives, what will become of us?.. When you read a novel it all seems trite and obvious, but when you're in love yourself you see that no one knows anything and we all have to settle things for ourselves... My darlings, my sisters... I've confessed it to you, now I'll hold my tongue... I'll be like Gogol's madman... silence... silence...
Use the Actor's Text format for writing in the thoughts and semi-thoughts (inner monologue), your interpretation.
What does she see? How does she it? What does she hear? What images, memories run through her mind?

Use the "emotional recall" technique: how did you feel, when you were in love? What do you remember? Your images, pictures, sounds -- give it to your character!

What song comes to your mind? Select the poem for the state of mind "Masha-in-love"...

Write Masha's "love letters" (Stanislavsky's advice); she doesn't send them.

...

[ "new drama" -- chekhov.us ]

Klimt

Select a monologue from Chekhov (your take)...

Read "Anna Karenina" or "Madam Bovari" (get some passages) and try to match with the monologue.

Yes, I also try to get the mood from the music for the character (my preparation for directing, for working with actors).

Listen, you do it it all and the "acting" will come naturally, without forcing it on your character. It will grow from inside you.

do yourself a favor; get a scrap-book for your Masha. I have a few master-files on character development from the senior thesis projects for graduating BA actors. Some have two-three hundred pages.


SUBTEXT, according to Stanislavsky:
At the moment of performance the text is supplied by the playwright, and the subtext by the actor. . . . If this were not the case, people would not go to the theatre but sit at home and read the play. We are . . . inclined to forget that the printed play is not a finished piece of work until it is played on the stage by actors and brought to life by genuine human emotions; the same can be said of a musical score, it is not really a symphony until it is executed by an orchestra of musicians in a concert. As soon as people, either actors or musicians, breathe life of their own into the subtext of a piece of writing to be conveyed to an audience, the spiritual wellsprings, the inner essence are released. . . . The whole point of any such creation is the underlying subtext.

The line of a role is taken from the subtext, not from the text itself. But actors are lazy about digging down to the subtext; they prefer to skim along the surface, using the fixed words which they can pronounce mechanically, without wasting any energy in searching out their inner essence. . . . As this is, unfortunately, elusive and difficult to pin down, especially under the exciting and distracting circumstances of public performance, . . . we have to have recourse to inner vision, thought, inner action.

Words to an actor are not mere sounds, they are designs of visual images. . . . The best way to avoid mechanical acting, the mechanical rattling off of the text of a role . . . is to communicate to others what you see on the screen of your inner vision. . . . This will not be a reflection of reality but images created by your imagination to suit the needs of the imaginary character you are playing. It is up to you to convert these images into reality. . . . Each time you repeat the creative process of speaking the lines of your part, review in advance the series of prepared images on the screen of your inner vision.

The most substantial part of a subtext lies in its thought . . . that conveys the line of logic and coherence in a most clear-cut, definite way. . . . One thought gives rise to a second, a third, and all together shape a super-objective. . . . At times the intellectual content of the subtext may predominate, . . . at others the lines of inner vision. It is best when they merge. . . . Then the spoken word is filled with action. Words are . . . part of the external embodiment of an inner essence of a role. . . . When you reach the point when words are necessary to you to execute your objective, to your best purpose . . . you will reach for the author's text as joyfully as a violinist reaches for the Amati instrument offered to him; he knows that it will be the best means to express the feelings he harbours inside the depths of his soul. --Building a Character
-- Collected Works, Vol. III


It the same "Method Style" homework you do working on the role: what does she reads, what is her favorite composer, food, smell, color and etc. Your have your preferences, don't you? Your character must have them too!

Can you see Vershinin? How does he look? Get the picture, place it on your desk, as if YOU are in love with him.

Married? Two children? Two girls? Do you see them? You better visualize everything. How does his wife looks like?

Masha is married, too. Where is the photo of her husband? Can you (Masha -- full identification) hear his voice?

And -- the sisters! I need to see them, when you do your monologue (addresses).

... Remember our 5W's? When? Night, day, sunset? Spring? What is outside? What do you (Masha) see through the window? Keep evolving the "givens" -- situation, environment to react to!

[ I left some happy and modern music files -- is she happy? Is it a non-period production? ]

Do you homework, actor, and you will be alright. You will be doing what directors do; don't you think that they will love to work with you?

You will be doing what Chekhov did, when she was writing this character. Get in the same creative zone -- and the rest will be born as a result of your existence as Masha!

Klimt2

Another mood/scene -- try different choice of music.

Write, write everything down, make it yours!

...

...

NB: "Film Acting"?

... total actor : subtext page ?
Lesson #
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overview:

1. review (previous class)

2. overview

3. new key terms & definitions

4. monologues & scenes

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6. questions, discussion, analysis

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13. quiz

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