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Dramatica in Theatre & Small Cast pieces.

Posted: Feb 05, 2011 10:16 pm
by UTAtheatreguy
So I'm into about page 60 or so of my Dramatica Theory book. I really wish they taught Brick and Mortar classes on this stuff, with grades, papers and such. Some of this stuff is a bit intuitive but quite a bit of it gets into things that really stretch the brain. Maybe it's because it's explicitly codifying what writers up until now did semi-subconsciously? Who knows?

But in most plays, 8 (the amount of the archetypes) or more characters would be a large cast. Most people write smaller casts. So for a two person cast, I guess there would be the Protagonist and antagonist.

What do I do with all those other roles. I did read the part that cautioned against assinging multiple roles at the same time (even the actor in a one woman show plays many characters). But I'm not sure what to do, exactly?

Most of my works would be 10-20 pages long, for 2-3 people. So I'm not sure how to exactly bringing out the Complete Story Mind or Argument in these scripts.

I look forward to the replies. :)

Re: Dramatica in Theatre & Small Cast pieces.

Posted: Feb 06, 2011 6:51 am
by Clint541963
I replied to your last post regarding Dramatica and Playwriting. I don't know if you saw that, but my intuition tells me that a short "story" like you are talking about may be a "tale" Look up on what the theory book says about tales as apposed to a "Grand Argument Story" I think if you had the software it would be easier but try answering the 12 questions first and then take your 2 or 3 characters, decide who is the main character and who is the impact character. You may have to get creative and the impact character could be the main characters guilt or human nature or mother nature or the past or the village. (All personified some how) then take the 64 character elements and divide them among your characters. You probably won't use all of them. I also know in my own stories assigning these character elements is confusing once I get away from archetypes.

How about this. Get the structure of your story (throughlines, signposts, MC, and IC, etc.) and write your play with that information and not get bogged down in the character element minutia. But when I understand it more I really want to dive into this part of the theory. Do the character elements belong in certain parts of the storyform or can they only be sprinkled anywhere according to the writers muse?

I also look forward to others to reply as well.

Re: Dramatica in Theatre & Small Cast pieces.

Posted: Feb 06, 2011 9:20 pm
by UTAtheatreguy
You did, and I thank you for that. I think the Dramatica + Playwriting was more a general discussion. Most of the Dramatica users are the novelist and screenwriter variety. While I'm sure that much of the same needs are exihibited in novels and films as plays, we ARE talking about three forms of storytelling.

This post was more directed about a question of theory rather than some trying to bring the Theatre to DST, if that makes any sense.

Re: Dramatica in Theatre & Small Cast pieces.

Posted: Feb 07, 2011 3:46 pm
by Chris Huntley
There are several ways short plays with two characters can be constructed.

-- The most obvious is that they emphasize the main character, the impact character, and their relationship, with a functional nod to the Overall Story throughline. This would seem like a character driven piece.

-- Alternatively, the play may focus on one throughline heavily and include (or not) one or more of the remaining throughilnes, such as a play about a single character, or about a relationship.

-- Less likely is a play that focuses on the Overall Story throughline, the throughline where the objective characters interact. I say this is unlikely for several reasons:

    1 ) One of theater's strengths is the audience acceptance of getting inside a character's head, whether it be through monologue, "internal dialogue," or other techniques. The OS throughline's objectivity doesn't allow for getting inside a character's head.

    2) Another of theater's strengths comes from its intimacy and immediacy with the audience, something the Overall Story throughline lacks.

    3) One of live theaters' weaknesses is the cost to do "big picture" storytelling. Very often plays are set in single locations, or use imaginative devices for 'creating' large or varied landscapes.

So, IF you are doing a play that has a significant Overall Story throughilne, and it is truly only two characters (as opposed to two players each playing multiple characters), then you might either choose to:

    -- Make those two characters very complex, e.g. give each character one side of the dynamic pair and the other character the other dynamic pair characteristic, or...

    -- Go simple and limit the number of characters explored, e.g. the protagonist and the antagonist, or guardian and contagonist, etc.

Re: Dramatica in Theatre & Small Cast pieces.

Posted: Feb 07, 2011 11:00 pm
by Clint541963
Okay, sorry, I had to go back to see as to what I was referring. I cannot remember what I thought I read from you Chris but on the Ground Hog Day movie dramatica discussion podcast what I remembered above (wrong) was actually Sandy (Stone) saying that most plays deal in the internal realm. and movies in the external. Now help me out here. The internal are Activity and Fixed Attitude through lines. And External are the Situation and Manipulation Through lines? Is that correct?

The great thing about posting is it helps codify what you think you know and hopefully when you are wrong you get corrected. The bad thing about posting is you might spread misinformation. Thank you Chris for clarifying. How close of off was I in referring to the idea of a Tale for a short script (story) as apposed to a Grand Argument Story?

Re: Dramatica in Theatre & Small Cast pieces.

Posted: Feb 10, 2011 3:49 pm
by Chris Huntley
Spot on for tale v. argument.

Throughline assignments:

-- SITUATION: External / State
-- ACTIVITY: External / Process

-- FIXED ATTITUDE: Internal / State
-- MANIPULATION (Psychology): Internal / Process

Sandy is correct when he says that plays tend to focus on the internal "realm" more than the external "realm," but I don't think by realm he necessarily was referring to the throughline domains as much as the nature of the throughlines themselves. The main character throughline is personal and deals with the MC's personal issues (both internal and external). Even if Sandy did mean the internal domains versus the external domains, the nature of plays is to excel in exploring the inner nature of something more than its external nature.

Techniques used in plays often are not as readily accepted by audiences in movies, and vice versa. It is hardly black and white, but the language or theater is based on words taking precedence over imagery, and the language of cinema is based on imagery taking precedence over words.