theatre 201 Class 3 - THTR 201 THEATRE APPRECIATION January...

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THTR 201 – THEATRE APPRECIATION January 22, 2009 How to Read a Play Trifles by Susan Glaspell
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Before we begin, some information about our play…
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Trifles by Susan Glaspell Written in 1916, Susan Glaspell’s one-act play Trifles is loosely based on true events. As a young reporter, Glaspell covered a murder case in a small town in Iowa. Years later, she crafted a short play inspired by her experiences and observations. It is seen as an example of early feminist literature, because two female characters are able to solve a mystery that the male characters cannot, aided by their knowledge of women's psychology.
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Susan Glaspell (1876-1948) An American Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, actress, director, and bestselling novelist She was a founding member of the Provincetown Players, one of the most important collaboratives in the development of modern drama in the United States. Her novels and plays are committed to developing deep, sympathetic characters, to understanding 'life' in its complexity.
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Now, on to How to read a play Reading a play is different than reading another form of literature. Dramatic literature, or plays, requires some work on the part of the reader. Learning to read a play allows you to experience the play as a theatrical event in your imagination. A point to remember: plays are meant to be heard, not read, so learning to hear them in your mind is part of the skill of reading a play.
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A Play Is Not Theatre Reading the text of a play offers an incomplete experience. Example: musical notes written on a page are not “music”, instead the notes are the map or guide that leads us to the actual sensual (aural) experience that is music. Literature is not a theatrical event, though it may be art.
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A Play is Not Theatre Playwrights create plays by making choices. They must create and adhere to the truth of the play. Using only words, the playwright creates character and action. Playwrights shape the meaning and experience that the audience will receive.
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A Play is Not Theatre Learn to fill in the blanks. The text of a play is like a treasure map; you must use the clues provided to find the treasure, or meaning. A reader’s job is to discover how the playwright has shaped the intended perception of the audience. Things are not always what they seem. Learn the techniques for critical thinking that will help you to see below the surface of the text of a play.
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Preliminary Work: Title The author selected the title for a reason. Some are straightforward indications of the content of the play, some are more mysterious. Example: Trifles : What does the title reveal about the playwright’s intention and/or attitude about the subject of the play?
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Trifle(s) Something of little importance or value …Well, women are used to worrying over trifles…
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Preliminary Work: Cast of Characters Usually this list tells us important information:
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This note was uploaded on 02/11/2010 for the course THTR 201 taught by Professor Joel during the Spring '10 term at Purdue University Calumet.

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theatre 201 Class 3 - THTR 201 THEATRE APPRECIATION January...

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