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Lesson Plans

Meaning (long)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
brenda jones (oxydol)
Mon, 05 Apr 1999 20:11:54 -0600

Although we have posted much regarding meaning, size and intention, here goes:
Over our spring break, five of us (teachers) took 30 drama students to Dallas
and Houston to see plays and art museums. Since we have discussed much related
to the visual arts, this message is about the theatre performances. Students
saw proscenium stage productions (Les Mis and Victor/Victoria) and smaller,
more intimate theatre in the round productions including The Trial of One
Short Sighted Black Woman versus Mamie Louise and Safreeta Mae, Parallel
Lives, and Gross Indecency (about the three trials of Oscar Wilde. Ok, about
size...Les Mis (as always) was impressive, big. It has "big" lights, costumes,
sound, staging, voices, a big cast etc. It was in a big theater and we had
front row seats. Gross Indecency, on the other hand, was small. There were
little special effects, simple lighting, a very small cast, no real stage. The
same was true of the "Trial of One..." Although the students had a lot to say
about Les Mis, they had more to say about the smaller productions. I think,
interestingly, the comments about Les Mis seemed to focus on the enormity and
logistics of the production. For example, how to light it, how to get the
sound even, how to make and keep track of all of the costuming, how to
construct the set. The comments regarding the "Trial...", for example, focused
much more on the content and meaning of the work. The play demanded that the
audience react emotionally. Students comments about Gross Indecency had to do
with what Oscar Wilde was thinking, how he changed from the beginning of the
first trial to the end of the third. They made comparisons to the trial of Mr.
Clinton... particularly regrading the media influence. Comments were about
personal reactions, such as how Wilde may have manipulated the young boys he
was around, but seemed to have a real love for Douglas. The students compared
this to situations in their own lives. My thoughts being that the "big"
performances for the students were overwhelming. They were great, but they did
not demand the intimate reflection that the smaller productions demanded. I
would say the students enjoyed the Les Mis and Victor/Victoria more, but had a
heck of a lot more to say about the more experimental works. Anyway, just
another thought about the "big/small" issue. Maybe sometimes the big things
hit us in the face with sheer logistics and technique while sometimes (not
always, I know) the smaller things make us think more reflectively. This is
not a generalization, note the word "sometimes."
It was a great whirlwind week, lots of productions, lots of late nights. We
also saw Alice in Wonderland which focused on the role of the photographs of
Charles Dodgson (Carroll). This was somewhere between big and small.
Conversations were both about the tech and the content.
Bye for now, Brenda