Project Title

Formalist Analysis in Acting

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

COTA - Theatre and Performance Studies

Faculty Sponsor Name

Professor Margaret Baldwin Pendergrass

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Actors and scholar-artists alike, in pursuit of creating a sense of believability in their performances, need to be able to understand the character from the play that they are performing. However, without the knowledge of the various tools you have at your disposal, you cannot achieve the desired affect from your performance. This is why reliable methods that can be used in a variety of dramatic texts are necessary and useful.

James Thomas, in Script Analysis for Actors, Directors, and Designers, introduces readers to Formalist Analysis, a tool that actors can apply to better their performance. It is a method of analysis based on six dramatic elements: play, character, idea, language, spectacle and music. Another name for this method is Aristotelian Analysis because it was first identified and put into use by Aristotle. In my presentation, I will explore formalist analysis and critical thinking as it pertains to the actor; using this methodology to analyze the circumstances that surround a monologue. I will define and break down my research into three components from Aristotle’s method: given circumstances, dialogue, and character. I will give an example for each, demonstrating the research behind the effectiveness of the acting tools. My presentation will clearly demonstrate the Formalist approach in acting analysis. To support my arguments, I will perform a monologue from Rebecca Gilman’s Boy Gets Girl. By adopting the tools of Aristotelian Analysis, I can verbally and physically demonstrate how it improves performance in the monologue.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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Formalist Analysis in Acting

Actors and scholar-artists alike, in pursuit of creating a sense of believability in their performances, need to be able to understand the character from the play that they are performing. However, without the knowledge of the various tools you have at your disposal, you cannot achieve the desired affect from your performance. This is why reliable methods that can be used in a variety of dramatic texts are necessary and useful.

James Thomas, in Script Analysis for Actors, Directors, and Designers, introduces readers to Formalist Analysis, a tool that actors can apply to better their performance. It is a method of analysis based on six dramatic elements: play, character, idea, language, spectacle and music. Another name for this method is Aristotelian Analysis because it was first identified and put into use by Aristotle. In my presentation, I will explore formalist analysis and critical thinking as it pertains to the actor; using this methodology to analyze the circumstances that surround a monologue. I will define and break down my research into three components from Aristotle’s method: given circumstances, dialogue, and character. I will give an example for each, demonstrating the research behind the effectiveness of the acting tools. My presentation will clearly demonstrate the Formalist approach in acting analysis. To support my arguments, I will perform a monologue from Rebecca Gilman’s Boy Gets Girl. By adopting the tools of Aristotelian Analysis, I can verbally and physically demonstrate how it improves performance in the monologue.