This work is titled ‘Role interpretation: the character of Obiageli in ‘Otaelo’ by Ahmeed Yerima.
The introductory part of this project highlights the aim this study, motivation, scope of study, research methodology, problems encountered and solutions, relevance of study and definition of key terms used in this work.
Chapter one centres on literature review as perceived by the authorities concerned, the history of acting, and its problems.
Chapter two expatiates on the playwright and his works.
Chapter three which is the last chapter is cantered on the analysis of the character; Obiageli in the play ‘ Otaelo’ by Ahmed Yerima and the acting style used to interpret the role. There is also a conclusion and bibliography.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Table of contents
Aim of study
Scope of study
Problems encountered and solutions
Relevance of study
Definition of terms
Review of related literature
1.2 constantin Stanislavski
1.3 jiezy grotowski
1.4 bertolt brecht
1.5 history of acting
1.6 acting in Nigeria
1.7 problems of acting in Nigeria
THE PLAYWRIGHT AND HIS WORKS
2.1 biography of playwright
2.2 presentation of his works
2.3 presentation of the play Otaelo
2.4 genre / synopsis
2.5 plot structure
Character analysis and acting style
3.1 character analysis
3.2 acting style used
This has to do with the review of related literature as regards the subject we are treating. This involves what different authorities have said about acting and also what have been done in the field. This review will punch into the ideas of theoretician liked constantin stannislavsski, jerzy grotowski and Bertolt Brecht.
1.2 CONSTANTIN STANISLAVSKI
Constantin Stanislavski (1863 -1938) started his directing career as a ‘’ producer – autocrat’’ relying solely on external realism in imitation of the Meiningen director, Ludwig Chronegk. However, in addition to external realism and as a result of continued experimentation, Stanislavski’s directorial innovations have awakened interest in the attainment of realistic productions through systematic psychological mechanics. In this regard Stanislavski has demonstrated a particular concern for the actor’s art. The methods of Stanislavski in creating or facilitating the art of acting are creative objectives, the super – objective, relaxation of muscles, communion, and adaptation and emotion theory.
Stanislavski states that the feelings of the actor on stage are only ‘’imaginatively real’’. To pursue this line of argument he further states, ;;our creative emotions are not subject to command and do not tolerate force. They can only be ‘’coaxed’’. In order for the actor to succeed in ‘’coaxing’’ this ‘’creative emotions’’, therefore, Stanislavski recommends that the actor must find a ‘’creative objective’’.
This significance of creative objective method is that the actor must not bother himself unnecessarily with what particular syllables of his lines give vocal strength or what degree he should initiate a particular movement or gesture Rather he should find the objective behind what he has to say or do and all issues of speech, movement and gesture would automatically and approximately find desired expression.
‘’communion’’ which means ‘’sahring’’ is also referred to as ‘’concentration’’ or relating’’. Through this method stanisalvski calls on the actor to be aware and sensitive to what is taking place on stage if he must avoid ‘’mechanical’’ acting. He must relate to other actors whether they are right there with him on stage or they are back-stage. He must commune even with such inanimate objects as costumes, properties, and lighting for they all constitute part of his performance.
‘’adaptation’’ method, which may also be loosely called ‘’improvisation’’. There are moments when extraneous interference or even a momentary period of memory lapse on the part of an actor (perhaps, as a result of unnecessary tension). Stanisalvski suggests that the actor must adapt himself to such changes with immediacy and without letting the audience see through such a slip.
‘’emotion theory’’ involves the actor’s use of his personal past real experiences to ‘’coax’’ or bring about ‘’creative emotions’’. If, for instances. The character an actor is playing suffers a tragic fate such as the loss of a dear relative the actor should recall such asn experience which he has suffered in the past as this would help him recreate the appropriate melancholic mood expected of this character.
From an examination of these techniques we observe that Stanislavski places emphasis on the training of the ator’s tool (his body and voice) for flexibility, improvement on the actor’s tool (his body and voice) for flexibility, improvement on the actor’s power of observation and a thorough mastery of stage techniques for believable characterization, understanding the script in virtually all its ramifications, working towards an ensemble, playing and responding convincingly to unexpected developments.
1.3 JERZY GROTOWSKI
A theorist that cannot be forgotten when it comes to the theatre, he was born in Rreszod in the Eastern part of Poland in 1933. A director, playwright and a teacher, he was the founder of the experimental theatre through which a thorough exploration of the method by which the actor can become a vital artist.
He attended a theatre school where he got a diploma as an actor. He became a director of the Teatre Stary in Crawcow and at the teatre Polsi in Pozman. Within this period he did some plays like Uncle Vanya by Chekhov, The Charis, by Lonesco etc. in 1959, he headed the Teatre 13 Rzedow in Opole. The youngest director to have such a position. This now become the Theatre Laboratory, which later moved to Wrochaw in 1965, officially known as the institute for Research into Acting. His theatre is not just a theatre that fucntions in an ordinary way. According to him his theatre is not just a theatre that function in an ordinary way. According to him his theatre is a genue laboratory which gives detained investigation of the actor – audience relationship.
In his method he believes the actor needs laborious physical training to make him fit in to any role and be in control of his physical and mental ability. His method is a ‘’via negativa’’, And he says
Not a collection of skills but an eradication of block that stands between him
(the actor) and his creative confession. It is not the instruction of the pupil but an utter opening to another person, in which the phenomenon of a ‘shared or double birth’ becomes possible. The actor is reborn not only as an actor but as a man and with him i am reborn. What is achieved is totally accepted of man by another.
Grotowski believes that acting is a vehicle, a means for self study, self exploration, and also a possibility of salvation. He also made us understand that the actor should always free himself.
1.4 BETOLT BRECHT
One notable authority when it comes to acting and its styles and techniques is the German playwright, actor and director, Betolt Brecht. He believes in a limited theatre. For him, the theatre must engages itself with reality and should be geared towards didacticism. Thus, he advocated epic theatre which found theatrical expression in the new theory of the mechanical external which according to Brecht:
Appeals less to the feelings of the spectators reason’’
Brecht has been deeply influenced by the notions of the Chinese and other esteem forms of acting which paid little attention to entertainment, but served as a medium of upholding virtues upon which the foundation of society were laid as a cite example of the Chinese theatre:
‘’the Chinese artist never acts as if there were a fourthwall besides the three surrounding him. He expresses his awareness of being watched’’. (Brecht 1976:16)
Brecht stated that the old theatre has outlined its usefulness since it reduces the spectator to a role of complete passivity. According to him, events that are pre subjects are treated as present day points of view, thereby encouraging the audience to critically participate fully in the affairs of social life which is being portrayed in the theatre in which the spectator would become a vital part.
He introduced a technique of acting centered around the ‘’Verpremdung effect’’ (Alienation) which more accurately means to make strange. According to him.
It has been the aim of this technique of alienation to make the spectator assumes an enquiring, critical attitude towards events.
Through this alienation effect, the audience is isolated from the events that are re-enacted on stage. For this alienation effect to achieve its aim, the auditorium must be cleared of ‘’magic’’ no hypnotic fields of action must be set up.
Brecht also noted that the actor should not get lost in the role he is playing, he has to keep a clear head at all times in all situations and should observe himself while playing.
1.5 HISTORY OF ACTING
No one can with specificity tell how the theatre began, though there are many theories about its inception in Greece. The most accepted theory is based upon a supposed relationship between theatre and ritual. However, it was the ‘’Dionysian festival’’ of ancient Greece performed in honour of the god of wine and fertility that made Thespis the first actor in history since he chanted and read some monologues that interspersed with a chorus in procession.
In Ancient Greece, the actor and the dramatist were one. Separation of the two functions did not begin until early in the Fifth Century when Aeschylus introduced a second actor in addition to Thespis, from then on, playwrights continued to act their own plays, until the time of Sophocles, who abandoned this practice about 468 BC and introduced a third actor. In the fifth century the actors were at best semi-professionals. The Greeks placed so much emphasis on the voice, as they judged actors above all by beauty of vocal tone and ability to adapt manner of speaking to mood and character.
Also, the delivery was less realistic, for actors did not attempt to reproduce the attributes of age or sex so much as to project the appropriate emotional tones. The stage actor therefore, his work is based on his artistic input. This work is fashioned to make an artistic statement on the Nigerian stage.
Acting generally, both in Nigeria and outside have similar goals which are geared towards informing, educating, expressing and communicating with the audience or viewers. Acting Nigeria treats the daily experiences of the people in the society and mirrors it out through stage or film acting. Its main purpose is to touch the people’s imagination, not just to impact facts but by presenting them the exciting materials which are found in real life.
Hence, stage performance is one of the criteria through which such awareness is created.
Stage acting is one of the most difficult areas of acting in Nigeria, this is because it is done or achieved or completed through the presence of a live audience. Stage acting requires the full participation of an actor because he delivers what the playwright has designed for the particular character he is interpreting, therefore if he gabbles over the whole thing, the audience are bound to notice, unlike the screen actin where a shot of a scene can be repeated as many times as possible before one shot can be approved.
Stage fright is one of the major problems in stage acting in Nigeria. This is common amongst amatcur actors, but sometimes even professional actors run into such problems, and this may result in the actor ‘’drying upon stage.
Nonchalant attitude of some actors towards taking in their lines is also one of the problems of acting in Nigeria. Some actors fail to do the necessary clean – up in the roles they want to interpret on time. But rather they wait till the presentation is at hand, and in this case you find them trying to hurry about line taking, but of course we cannot cheat nature, because practice makes perfect, you see the actor messing himself up on the presentation day because his lines may not flow the way it ought to flow.
Also, in the area of costume and make –up. Costumes help to depict the background of a play. Some directors and actors fail to do proper research regarding the play they want to present, and as such they end up using the in appropriate costumes. This problem also occurs as a result of not thoroughly scrutinizing the script they are working with.
Some actor fail to free themselves during the act. This results to inflexibility and mechanical acting in most cases. Acting is not just about delivering lines, its about putting in once energy, body and voice into imaginary character. Some actors always bother themselves unnecessarily with what syllables of his lines to give vocal strength or nasal tone, or what particular movement or gesture to initiate in carrying his role. This is not supposed to be so. And this happens when the actor fails to study the different techniques of acting, in order to choose which technique he wants to apply to his role interpretation.
The problems of acting in Nigerian are too numerous to mention, but the above mentioned ones should adequately be looked into, as actors must learn to create with their imagination and strength.
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