October 4, 2011
last week we learned a little bit more on place and space. First we talked about what devices actors use to help an audience to focus on a certain scene. We learned that people read a stage from the actors right to left. This will be the audience’s left to right. This is just how people read a book. If a scene was not pleasing to the eyes and if it was on stage right, the audience will continue to the stage left and not focus on what is going in on in that scene. First, to keep an audience focussed on an area of the stage, there needs to be some sort of triangle in that scene. For drama, actors never go in a straight line as the audience will lose interest. I think we use triangles to show a certain depth of the scene but I am not entirely sure. Triangles could be created from people or objects. To make a triangle with people you can either do it from height or space. For example, in Doctor Who there is a scene where Rose is standing between two tall people who are about the same height as each other. This creates a height triangle.
For acting, people usually forget the different types of height people could go to and only remember the standing height. Actually there’s sitting (on chair), kneeling, sitting (on floor), and laying down. Another example is also in Doctor Who where the Doctor is in front and Donna and River are behind him making a space triangle.
For the objects making a triangle, you see this in many movies and plays. For example, in every movie where there is a house, there would be depth with triangles like two chairs are in the back and in the front is a table. They do this to be realistic as I remember in Merlin when there are three chairs that are in a triangle in a scene.
Even though triangles are very important, we need something else to make sure that the audience stays with the scene and not get bored with it. That is eye contact. We did eye contact before and there we learned that people follow the gazes of the actors on stage. If the actors where all looking left and away from the set, your eyes will follow there to that position on the left. In Doctor Who Martha is on the left so you will follow her gaze to the Doctor’s and as he is not looking at anything, you keep your gaze on him.
As always you read a stage from left to right so the first person you will see would be on stage right. You will follow that person’s gaze to the second person. Then you will follow that person’s gaze to the third person and so forth. However, there might be cases where you get stuck between two people’s gazes as they look at each other. An example is Doctor Who. You follow Martha’s gaze to the Doctor’s, and as the Doctor is looking at Joan and visa versa you will keep on looking at them.
You will be following one person’s gaze to the other person’s gaze and kind of like watching a tennis match. As you follow the actors eyes, directors make sure that the actors are always gazing at each other, if the director wants their audience to be focused on a scene. The actors use their eyes to make sure their audience see what they want to see.