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The Rivals - Visual, Aural, Spatial

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Introduction

The Rivals Visual, Aural, Spatial 18th Century Theatre The architectural structure and other staging conventions that mostly remain today were strongly influenced by Italian theatre. The seating for the audience consisted of benches in front of the stage and galleries divided into box seating along the sides of the auditorium. A proscenium arch separated the audience and the stage. Although the stages were large and deep set in 18th Century theatre, the actors would stand as close to the front of the stage as possible, partly due to the relatively poor lighting, but also to create a more intense and intimate atmosphere with the audience. The elaborate and fashionable costumes used in 18th Century theatre helped to clarify to the audience the social status of the different characters, as well as making the visual element on stage more interesting. The costumes would have been modern at the time, and also added to the fashionable status that the Theatre held at the time. Where the actress playing Lydia would have worn an expensive and fashionable dress, Lucy would have been dressed in a simple, rather plain outfit, to signify her lower position in society. ...read more.

Middle

As well as including more props and visual aids than were used at the time the play was written, the actors must emphasise facial expressions and movements to clarify the personality and emotions of the character throughout the performance. Although this visual element would make a modern day production different from the earlier ones, I would make minimal changes to the ply itself: Costumes - I would keep the costumes authentic to the time period. I have chosen to do so because the costumes used originally matched the language used and also reflect the 'rules' of society at the time. For example, the dresses that the upper class women (like Lydia) would be expected to wear were very restrictive consequently forcing the lady to make minimal movements, and instead sit looking attractive. This idea of lack of freedom for women would not be so easy to present to the audience if the actors were in modern day dress. The stage and set - In a similar way to the 18th Century Theatre, I would use a proscenium arch stage. ...read more.

Conclusion

Lighting - Although in the 18th century, the lighting was not particularly good, to clarify to the audience when the characters are outside or inside, the lighting will adjust accordingly. Inside the lighting will be slightly less bright, than outdoors. Music - To a modern audience music is essential in helping to set the atmosphere. At the start of the performance music similar to what would have been heard in the 18th Century will be played. Modern technology enables sound effects to be used as well. By having 'street scene noises', helps to create the atmosphere aurally as well as visually. . Modern Day Staging Example The opening of the play is essential as in 'The Rivals' a lot of important information is revealed here. The speech between the two characters, Fag and the Coachman is relatively complex and has to be kept at quite a swift pace, so as to keep the audience listening. To help the audience understand what they are saying the two actors must, as explained previously, exaggerate movements and gestures. There will be other noises and characters on the stage at this time, so it is imperative for Fag and the coachman to speak clearly and loudly. ...read more.

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