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Organic Script Analysis

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"Organic Script Analysis knows that a play, like any work of art, is alive."

This is a document to help you think about what Organic Script Analysis is.

The first question is, "What is Organic Script Analysis?" Once it is explained, the difference between it, and classical, mechanical script analysis will be clear. Organic Script Analysis is based on the principle that life is spontaneous, a living, moving reality. If that is true, then any analysis of any living thing must also be able to be fluid, moving and changing according to who, how, and in what moment, the reality that is being analyzed is being perceived. Organic Script Analysis knows that a play, like any work of art, is alive. Something of the artist who created it exists within the structure. So, a great painting is alive. Every time you look at it, you see new and different realities in it. The same is true of a musical composition. Many great musicians play a piece differently every time they play it.

A play is also alive. Therefore, all of the classical, mechanical ideas of analysis, that looks at a play as though it were dead, lack something in their interpretation. There is the idea in this type of analysis, that there exists a correct, ideal interpretation that we all want to make. There can be only one number of beats and scenes, the protaganists are clearly defined, etc. While this is sometimes, it cannot be supposed that it is always true. I can t go into depth about this here. Suffice it to say that when we discuss the plays of Sophocles, Shakespeare, Chekhov, Ibsen and Beckett, what I am saying will be made clear. The point is, there is not simply one. Each one of us will analyse the play differently, depending on our life experience, our knowledge of life, and our ability to perceive what the playwright has written. While everyone must see what the playwright has written, how they interpret the events, and how they break down the structure of the play may differ. Obvioiusly, some interpretations will be better than others. And, some people will analyze the structure with more clarity and perception. This is based on their knowledge, experience, talent, and ability to clearly think about what they are reading, and express what they perceive in a coherent form.

Read the play at least once without thinking about analyzing it. Read it to see whether you like it, whether it resonates in you. Sometimes, one gets lucky, and you just intuitively understand a play. You may even enjoy reading it. You may want to read it again before you start to ask yourself questions about it.

Then, you begin to ask questions:
  • Do I like the play?

  • Do I understand what the play is about?

To know this, you should be able to find moments in the play, where something is said or done, that determine what you think the play is about? For instance, in Hamlet by Shakespeare, the play is normally interpreted as being about either, "to be or not to be", or "something is rotten in the state of Denmark." Perhaps, it could be about something else. Like what?

  • Who are the protagonists? Why are they the protagonists?

  • Can a play be interpreted with different characters being the protagonists? Or, is there a clear structure that determines this for all readers?

  • Who are the antagonists? Why are they antagonists?

Determining this, leads to, and comes from, what you think the play is about?

To help understand the play, and its structure, more deeply, break it down into Acts and Scenes.

  • How many Acts are there?

Are the acts structured in any particular way?

For instance, Chekhov's acts each take place in a different season of the year? Greek plays are in one act. Why? Shakespeare has five acts. Chekhov, Ibsen, etc., have four acts. Twentieth century plays had three acts in the first half of the century, and two acts from then on. Is this Organic, commercial?

  • Can the number of acts be changed without destroying the structure and meaning of the play?

As you begin to see the structure of plays, it helps you understand them. And understand how playwrights tell stories.
For instance, I tend to analyze plays and structure the scenes like a film. I often have many more scenes than seem to be indicated by the playwright. This helps me understand what is going on in every moment of the play. I don't know why I began to do this. But, with experience, I understand why I do it. However, I believe that it could be done in more than one way. In an organic creative process, there may be numerous possibilities that could all be true and applicable. There is not some mechanical idea of perfection. There are no absolute, linear realities that everyone must accept as the only right way to analyze. This doesn't mean that anything goes. Some analyses are better than others. Because, they reveal more clearly what the playwright is trying to express. Unfortunately, playwrights do not always know best what they have written. Or, what they are trying to say.

  • Are all the characters essential to the story? Why?

If not, can they be cut? Why?

  • Is each scene you perceive in the play essential to the story? Why?

What happens in each scene? Why is it different from every other scene in the play?

If it isn't, can it be cut? Why?

  • If you reorganize the number of scenes, or where they are, do you change the play?

Does it change the meaning? Is it better?

What are you saying by restructuring, that you believe illuminates what the play is about, for you?

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For Organic Script Analysis, we will examine how Organic Script Analysis helps you to make your feelings about the play conscious, so that you make choices that help you to become deeply involved in the character's world. OSA is a deeply personal process. There is not a "correct" analysis that every actor wants to make. We will study the plays in more depth, seeing how scenes are structured into moments, thoughts, actions, beats, etc. So, that you learn to see how the play's structure helps you to understand and feel the life.

We will do this by studying two plays that many of you know and may be working on, Uncle Vanya by Chekhov, and Barefoot in the Park by Neil Simon.

 

 

 

 

For Organic Script Analysis, we will be studying what comedy is? What makes a play funny, the language, the behavior, the situation?

I want you to read several of the early comedies ever written, two by Aristophanes' The Frogs, and The Assemblywomen. And, then we will add Chekhov's Uncle Vanya. Chekhov said that all of his plays were comedy. Why? We will discuss the plays, and try to be clear about what comedy is. What are they about? What is the point? Where do you see that the play is a comedy? Is there something that the characters do that makes it clear to you that the play is funny? Most of the time, actors think that a comedy means that nothing is serious or real. But, all good comedy is based on a situation that people find themselves in that is not funny. What makes it funny? Does comedy have a point? How is it different from tragedy? Could a tragedy be made funny? How? I will send a separate email to give you some more thoughts that may help you to think more clearly.

During this Spring 2013 session, I want us to study how writer's use place in their work. I find that many actors have no sense of where they are, nor even think about using their imagination to transform the stage into another place. Yet, it is one of the signs of great playwrights, that as they evolved their plays, they become more and more aware of where the characters are. I think that good actors should do the same, and learn from them. Even in the new space we will be working in, the stage will be more defined than it was before, so that you begin to learn to create a place, not just be bound to using what the room you are in offers you.

We will study the works of Shakespeare, Chekhov, and Ibsen. Read, Midsummer Nights Dream, Hamlet, Macbeth, The Seagull, A Doll's House, and, if you have time, The Cherry Orchard.

Do you notice how the place affects the characters lives? Does it make a difference? Is weather important? Why? Does each act have a different place, a different weather, a different feeling? Does it make you want to imagine where you are? Can you imagine it, not just in your mind, but in your feelings, your senses?

Learning how to read a play, and understand what play structure is, helps you to feel what you are reading, and this will help you to become more deeply involved in the character's world. The more you see when you read, the easier it becomes to discover realities that involve you in the character's world.

We are not dealing with correct analysis. Organic Script Analysis is deeply personal. Actors and directors may see different realities in the play.

For the Organic Script Analysis, we will be studying Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard. Is it a comedy or a tragedy? What makes a play a comedy or tragedy. Is there a difference between classical plays and modern plays like this one? There are other plays of his that you can read, too, like The Seagull, and Uncle Vanya. But, I will use Cherry Orchard as the main focus of our discussions. There are many versions of the play in English. We may examine some of the differences in how different writers adapt the play. I will make available my play, Adams' Apples, which is a modern version of this play. We will be breaking them down into scenes and beats, so as to help you understand how understanding structure helps you to make clearer choices, helping you to become involved.

Read the play at least once before you start to try to analyze it.

Why is Chekhov considered to be a great playwright? And, one of the founders of modern theater. Why is his work universal? What is the play about? Is the title important? When does it take place? Where? Are the circumstances surrounding the characters' lives important to who they are? And, what happens in the play?

Then, break it down into scenes. Why is each scene in the play? Normally, if it's there, something happens in each scene that doesn't happen anywhere else.

Who are the main characters? Why? Are there protaganists and antagonists? Who are the supporting characters? Are there characters who are unnecessary to the play?

Learning how to read a play, and understand what play structure is, helps you to feel what you are reading, and this will help you to become more deeply involved in the character's world. The more you see when you read, the easier it becomes to discover realities that involve you in the character's world.

We are not dealing with correct analysis. Organic Script Analysis is deeply personal. Actors and directors may see different realities in the play.

For the Organic Script Analysis, we will be studying Eugene O'Neill. Read Long Days Journey Into Night, and The Moon for the Misbegotten. There are other plays of his that you can read, too. But, I will use these two as the main focus of our discussions. We will be breaking them down into scenes and beats, so as to help you understand how understanding structure helps you to make clearer choices, helping you to become involved. I also want you to look at what verse is, and how to help think about it.

We will be studying them in depth. Read each one at least once before you start to try to analyze it.

Why is Eugene O'Neill considered to be a great playwright? Is his work American, and/or universal? Why? What is the play about? Is the title important? When does it take place? Where? Are the circumstances surrounding the characters' lives important to who they are? And, what happens in the play?

Then, break it down into scenes. Why is each scene in the play? Normally, if it's there, something happens in each scene that doesn't happen anywhere else.

Who are the main characters? Why? Are there protaganists and antagonists? Who are the supporting characters? Are there characters who are unnecessary to the play?

Learning how to read a play, and understand what play structure is, helps you to feel what you are reading, and this will help you to become more deeply involved in the character's world. The more you see when you read, the easier it becomes to discover realities that involve you in the character's world.

We are not dealing with correct analysis. Organic Script Analysis is deeply personal. Actors and directors may see different realities in the play.

For the Organic Script Analysis, we will be studying style. What is style? The dictionary defines style as (a way of expressing something (in language or art or music etc.) that is characteristic of a particular person or group of people or period; "all the reporters were expected to adopt the style of the newspaper"). Is style incompatible with being real? We will study Lysistrata by Aristophanes, Tis a Pity She's a Whore by John Ford, Mother Courage by Bertholt Brecht, Paradise Lost by Clifford Odets, and perhaps, one or two other plays that I think make interesting comparisons.

We will be studying them in depth. Read each one at least once before you start to try to analyze it.

What is the play about? Is the title important? When does it take place? Where? Are the circumstances surrounding the characters' lives important to who they are? And, what happens in the play? Is anything about the way it is written make it a play that has a "style"? If you had to act it, do you need some special ability?

Then, break it down into scenes. Why is each scene in the play? Normally, if it's there, something happens in each scene that doesn't happen anywhere else.

Who are the main characters? Why? Are there protaganists and antagonists? Who are the supporting characters? Are there characters who are unnecessary to the play?

Learning how to read a play, and understand what play structure is, helps you to feel what you are reading, and this will help you to become more deeply involved in the character's world. The more you see when you read, the easier it becomes to discover realities that involve you in the character's world.

We are not dealing with correct analysis. Organic Script Analysis is deeply personal. Actors and directors may see different realities in the play.

For the Organic Script Analysis, we will be studying plays to understand the difference between pathos and tragedy. Most dramas are pathos. Pathos is an element in experience or in artistic representation evoking pity or compassion.

2 : an emotion of sympathetic pity. Rather than being true tragedy. Tragedy is a serious drama typically describing a conflict between the protagonist and a superior force (as destiny) and having a sorrowful or disastrous conclusion that elicits pity or terror c: the literary genre of tragic dramas. We will study Oedipus Rex by Sophocles, Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller, Miss Julie by Strindberg, Hedda Gabler by Ibsen, and The Seagull by Chekov.

We will be comparing them, breaking them down into scenes and beats, so as to help you understand how understanding structure helps you to make clearer choices, helping you to become involved. I also want you to look at what verse is, and how to help think about it.

We will be studying them in depth. Read each one at least once before you start to try to analyze it.

What is the play about? Is the title important? When does it take place? Where? Are the circumstances surrounding the characters' lives important to who they are? And, what happens in the play?

hen, break it down into scenes. Why is each scene in the play? Normally, if it's there, something happens in each scene that doesn't happen anywhere else.

Who are the main characters? Why? Are there protaganists and antagonists? Who are the supporting characters? Are there characters who are unnecessary to the play?

Learning how to read a play, and understand what play structure is, helps you to feel what you are reading, and this will help you to become more deeply involved in the character's world. The more you see when you read, the easier it becomes to discover realities that involve you in the character's world.

We are not dealing with correct analysis. Organic Script Analysis is deeply personal. Actors and directors may see different realities in the play.

For the Organic Script Analysis, we will be studying Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, and Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream. We will be breaking them down into scenes and beats, so as to help you understand how understanding structure helps you to make clearer choices, helping you to become involved. I also want you to look at what verse is, and how to help think about it.

We will be studying them in depth. Read each one at least once before you start to try to analyze it.

What is the play about? Is the title important? When does it take place? Where? Are the circumstances surrounding the characters' lives important to who they are? And, what happens in the play?

Then, break it down into scenes. Why is each scene in the play? Normally, if it's there, something happens in each scene that doesn't happen anywhere else.

Who are the main characters? Why? Are there protaganists and antagonists? Who are the supporting characters? Are there characters who are unnecessary to the play?

Learning how to read a play, and understand what play structure is, helps you to feel what you are reading, and this will help you to become more deeply involved in the character's world. The more you see when you read, the easier it becomes to discover realities that involve you in the character's world.

We are not dealing with correct analysis. Organic Script Analysis is deeply personal. Actors and directors may see different realities in the play.

For the Organic Script Analysis, we will be studying Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park, and Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights Dream. We will be breaking them down into scenes and beats, so as to help you understand how understanding structure helps you to make clearer choices, helping you to become involved. I also want you to look at what verse is, and how to help think about it.

We will be studying them in depth. Read each one at least once before you start to try to analyze it.

What is the play about? Is the title important? When does it take place? Where? Are the circumstances surrounding the characters' lives important to who they are? And, what happens in the play?

Then, break it down into scenes. Why is each scene in the play? Normally, if it's there, something happens in each scene that doesn't happen anywhere else.

Who are the main characters? Why? Are there protaganists and antagonists? Who are the supporting characters? Are there characters who are unnecessary to the play?

Learning how to read a play, and understand what play structure is, helps you to feel what you are reading, and this will help you to become more deeply involved in the character's world. The more you see when you read, the easier it becomes to discover realities that involve you in the character's world.

We are not dealing with correct analysis. Organic Script Analysis is deeply personal. Actors and directors may see different realities in the play.

For the Organic Script Analysis, we will be studying Beckett's Happy Days, and Sophocles Oedipus Rex, as they are both great plays, one of them ancient, and the other still so modern, it is ahead of what most living writers are writing.

We will be studying them in depth. Read each one at least once before you start to try to analyze it.

What is the play about? Is the title important? When does it take place? Where? Are the circumstances surrounding the characters' lives important to who they are? And, what happens in the play?

Then, break it down into scenes. Why is each scene in the play? Normally, if it's there, something happens in each scene that doesn't happen anywhere else.

Who are the main characters? Why? Are there protaganists and antagonists? Who are the supporting characters? Are there characters who are unnecessary to the play?

Learning how to read a play, and understand what play structure is, helps you to feel what you are reading, and this will help you to become more deeply involved in the character's world. The more you see when you read, the easier it becomes to discover realities that involve you in the character's world.

We are not dealing with correct analysis. Organic Script Analysis is deeply personal. Actors and directors may see different realities in the play.