Creative Play Writing Essay, Research Paper
As the great Shakespeare once quipped ?Life is but a stage and we are merely players.? A metaphorical truth rings evidently in that statement. Our text and workbook confronts the issues of roles and conflict within roles in detail. To elucidate my own experience with roles and inherent conflict within a group?s perception of roles I will spin the tale of play that was fated to fail.
In the summer I was involved in a UIS student theater group. My friend had written a play in an upper level English class and was eager to see it produced and performed. My friend is a talented writer, but very inexperienced in the theater arts. However, he was determined to be the director of his play because he felt that no other person could bring his vision to life correctly.
The play was based mainly on his true-life experiences with his ex-fianc?e. These experience where not all-together happy ones. Since, he was operating independently, but planning to use the UIS Studio Theatre, but retain control of the creative decision making. So he chose to cast most of his friends, myself included, into the play. The remaining roles where filled with friends of friends, girlfriends, boyfriends, ect. No auditions where held what so ever.
As rehearsals started serious problems became evident. The script was completed but it was inconstant. Roles of his characters changed with no apparent motivation. This attitude was also reflected in the very nature of cast member. Since, so many of them where doing this as a favor and did not really posses the talent or dedication needed we could hardly have practice due to all the missing cast members.
So my friend who is not an assertive person just wrote them out of the play reassigning dialog. Also, he decided to add a new ending to the play and write a part for himself in the play. This part had no real bearing on the play, yet it mostly served to provide his ?new? character with a kissing scene with a single female costar.
On and off-stage role conflict became very common. As an inexperienced director he was very loose with his direction methods. He wanted the cast members to become their characters by total immersion into the psyche of the part. Great actors sometimes have trouble accomplishing this, let alone newcomers. He did not give simple acting directions or provide stability. He did not rigorously enforce rehearsal schedules. He could easily be persuaded to end rehearsal early and go to a bar.
The end result of this theatrical tomfoolery was a group of dedicated cast members approached him and questioned the validity of actually performing this play. The major issue was they did not want to look like fools when the play was to be performed. Instead of reacting positively to the non-judgmental criticism he cussed and threw us, myself included, out of the play. I was personally relieved, because I would not of quit even if the play was going to be horrible.
The play was never performed the other cast members quit on there on cognizance. This experience caused difficulty with personal relationship with my friend. He still writes, but vows never to attempt to put on a play again. In a way that is too bad, because his material is good, but his organizational approach needs work.
Analysis of this experience illustrates the consequence that can occur when common group structure collapses. Our text specifies structure as a major component to a characteristic of a group. Structure is defined as a pattern of relationships. The pattern of relationship in this case was unstable due to a problem with roles.
No pun intended but there was a discrepancy in the roles in the organization of this play. In this case since most of the cast members and director were new there was very little focus on expected roles. No clear behavior pattern was defined for new cast members. The director quite literally cast actors who did not know how to act up to the expectations of actors. This led the cast to fall into a perceived role trap in which they defined independently of the director. The end result of both cast and director was to have an enacted role of non-productivity.
The workbook reiterates this idea in the concept of role ambiguity. As in one can know what is to be expected in one single aspect of life. Individually, however, one performs many different roles. This condition was evident in the director. He held three strong roles as director, writer, and actor. He was not able to step back and deal with each roles specific functions and duties in an individual perspective. The end result was he was unable to accomplish any of the roles in an effective unambiguous manner.
Lack of effective cohesiveness within this troupe also caused the downfall of the play. The director failed to establish clear goals to accomplish the play. Second, there was no true leader. The director never buckled down and grasped the reins of control needed to inspire his cast.
It was unfortunate that we were unable to perform this play due to errors in planning of the group dynamics. My friend should have just taken on the role of writer and handed over the direction responsibilities to an experienced person comfortable with the expected role of director. Also, due to the semi-informal nature of this type of group more attention should have been paid to casting. Life unlike a theater play cannot be canceled if group dynamics fails. The show must go on, and its up to individual to work effectively in organizations, groups, and families to ensure this.