Exploring Practitioners Lesson 3: Physical Theatre

Task 1

Watch this trailer and extract from a play called Things I Know To Be True.

As you watch the extract, answer the following questions:

  1. What are the similarities between this performance and the style of theatre created by Stanislavski and/or Brecht?
  2. What are the major differences between this performance and the work of Stanislavski and/or Brecht?
  3. What is added to the performance by the physical movement between her and her family as she delivers the monologue?

Task 2

Download this worksheet or go to this web page. Here is a list of websites and YouTube videos you can use to do some research into Physical Theatre and companies that work in this genre. Access what you need (there is a lot there) so that you feel you’ve got a sound understanding of the genre of theatre.

Take notes under these headings:

  • What is Physical Theatre?
  • What companies work in this genre and what are their way of working? How do they all differ?
  • What are the most important ways of working with Physical Theatre?
  • Why would a theatre company choose to make a piece of Phsyical Theatre?
  • What problems do you have to over come when making a piece of Physical Theatre?

Task 3

Read this pitch for a production.

You have been asked to direct a production of a new devised piece of theatre based on the song: “Working Class Hero” by John Lennon. Click here to see the lyrics of the song and here to hear the song. We want the performance to focus on the issues that the song brings into focus. We don’t want to be too descriptive as to how we want you to create this performance but we would want to see influence from a range leading physical theatre companies and a strong sense of characterisation.

Write your pitch now. It must be no more than half a page of A4 type or writing. It needs to cover the following points:

  1. Overview of your content: What topic or issue do you want to cover? Why do you want to cover it?
  2. Details of initial ideas: How do you think that this will be performed? What ideas do you initially have to turn this into a performance?
  3. Style: How will you use Physical Theatre in your performance?
  4. Audience: Why would an audience be interested in coming to see this performance? What will they learn from it?

Task 4

With practical examples, write a 500 word essay which compares and contrasts Physical Theatre with the work of Stanislavski and Brecht.