Fences

In a 5-6 page paper > you have two tasks. Submit via Blackboard – Word doc or pdf

Choose from the films Fences by August Wilson, Proof by David Auburn, Doubt by John Patrick Shanley.

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Your job is to assess the acting in two very distinctly different ways.

One way is identifying the objectives/tactics being employed by the actors in the scene:

Pick a 1-2 min. (ideally, 2-person) scene from the film (about 2 pages) and do a play-by-play analysis, describing the objectives and tactics you witness in the two performers in the scene. I’ll provide a short *example.

The second way is to assess a single actor throughout the film.

Part of what you are doing is ‘proving to me’ that you watched the whole film. By commenting on the actor in their role at clear moments from the beginning, middle, and end … discuss their believability, conviction, focus of attention, emotion, etc. (about 3 pages) Be sure to identify the moments you are assessing by providing me with time-code or clear description of the moment/s.

 

* ACTING PAPER (brief) EXAMPLE from Romeo and Juliet at CSU in 2008.

In the opening scene when the Capulet’s meet the lone Montague it seemed as if the actor (Capulet) was playing the action of “to show an inferior who is boss”. The actor playing the Montague character seemed to be playing something like “to convince a bully that I have a right to be here”. The exchange, while lacking conviction (or intensity) on the part of the actors, was clear nonetheless. After entering, the Montague seemed to play the tactic of ‘to belittle’. This was followed by the Capulet actor playing the tactic of ‘to lay down the law’ and the exchange went back and forth M: ‘to question’; C: ‘to challenge’; M: ‘to mock’; C: ‘to blow off’; M: ‘to challenge’. And they topped one another just enough to be believable—leading up to the line, “draw if you be a man” and the fight began. I wish that the actors had raised the stakes for themselves, for while they seemed to be effectively using their actions and tactics, it just didn’t seem to warrant a sword fight to come out of it. If it were me, I would have raised the stakes so that by the time the swords were drawn, there would be no other choice but to engage in sword play. Another moment that I feel was clear and I at least can discuss (because of the fame of the scene itself) is the ‘balcony scene’. Romeo (Elias) finds himself—quite by accident—in Juliet’s (Deborah’s) orchard. A light comes on and he realizes it is his love’s room. It was here that Elias seemed to be a little lost. It was not evident that he had a plan of attack as an actor. He just had a beat change because prior to this he seemed to be playing “to make a nuisance leave him alone” (as he was being pursued by Ben. and Merc.). His tactic was ‘to evade’. But once over the wall (and ‘met’ by the light) he did not have a clear beat change. I would have played something like “to convince a crush to take a big step” and would have played tactics such as ‘to surprise’ (“I take thee at thy word”), ‘to make laugh’ (“let me stand here ‘til thou remember it”), ‘to boast’ (“…I’d venture for such merchandise”). And all the while I would certainly challenge my acting partner to top me. Deb, at times, seemed to be playing something like “to protect a loved one from danger” by using tactics such as ‘to warn’, ‘to remind’, ‘to insist’.

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