GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES AND THE WORLD OF THE PLAY PLAY-ANALYSIS (FROM HODGE, 57-58) GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES Environmental facts 1. Geographical 4. Political 2. Date 5. Social 3. Economic 6. Religious Previous action Polar attitudes of principal characters Significance of the facts in the total meaning of the play HOW DO YOU IDENTIFY THE GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES? Analyze the text - simply look at all the information relating to the character that the dramatist tells you (or what you can discern from the comments). Pick out the most significant elements. If you go around telling everyone (whoever you are) you have always depended on the kindness of strangers, people can only draw their own conclusions about what you've been up to. READ ME FROM A CLASS BLOG AT THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA The Given Circumstances Script Analysis is the class that scared the most out of me… (In conversations with others, this is pretty much a universal fear.) The fundamental principle of the professor seems to be that graduate students in theatre nearly universally come from some sort of theatrical background and need to be shown how to read a script. We need to re-learn the art of reading the script, so as to better grasp the "given circumstances" present in the text - answering the questions "who," what," and "when" among many, many others. The "given circumstances" chip away at the basic facts of the play in order to better see the motivations and it is only after answering these questions that a convincing performance of any contemporary work can be delivered, or can the reader adequately understand what the playwright was going for with language. It's a good idea. But it's daunting. We're expected to want to get this information that is in the text. And for the most part, I really do. I want to write plays. I want to have them read, and performed and understood. This is what I (thought) my life should be about. It's at least what I want to (eventually) get paid for. The problem is it's hard. Reading the plays for this stuff is tough. I just want the plot. Second, I want the images -what can I put on the damn stage to make an audience like the words? By that point, I had always thought I'd exhausted the text. Apparently not. What do you discuss with the director? What sort of conversation would you have? I listen to the director's ideas or try to visualize what the director has in mind. In terms of process we discuss what is in the heart of the piece and how to communicate that to the audience visually in design process. When scenes are in multiple locations it is important to ask how we transition from one location to the other. It is a way of thinking together and hearing each other's ideas.” --Designer Myung Hee Cho Well-written plays have a BEGINNING-MIDDLE-END. An inciting incident kicks off the ACTION of the play. A sequence of actions is defined as plot. PLOT is the imitation of the action...the arrangement of the incidences CHARACTER, the agents of the plot THOUGHT (THEME) is a general truth enunciated DICTION is the expression of the meaning in words SONG is an embellishment whose sense everyone understands SPECTACLE is the least artistic, connected least with the art of poetry A plays BEGINNING lays out its GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES. Time and place Social circumstances, age, sex, etc. of characters Prevailing mood/atmosphere In short, details provided by playwright to create the world of the play GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES are uncovered by careful reading of what characters say and the stage directions WHO The people of the play (Characters) PROTAGONIST is who the play is about and the ANTAGONIST prevents the protagonist achieving their goals WHEN The specific time of the action and its elapsed time. WHERE The environment of the script. Geographical and exact WHAT The major conflict as expressed in previous actions GOAL OF ANALYSIS FOR GIVEN CIRCUMSTANCES UNLOCK a script’s structure to clarify the ACTION Understanding a play’s structure is like having a blueprint. Most longer plays will require additional RESEARCH.