Advanced Theatre- Acting Styles


Welcome to Advanced Theatre - Acting Styles!

The goal of this Acting Styles course is two-fold: it is an introduction to specific acting styles in conjunction with the historical life and times that formed the styles, and the practice of these styles. For our purposes this semester, the bulk of our work will concentrate on learning about three different genres and styles of classical (western) theatre. The work in this class will be
technique oriented in that the successful conveyance of style many times depends upon proper physical carriage and vocal production and rhythm (although by understanding the people and the intention of the drama of the particular periods, the vocal and physical aspects should stem from some solid purpose), coupled with constant attention to the basics that unite all
acting -- character analysis and intention playing.

Advanced Theatre: Acting Styles 2012-2013 Syllabus

Teacher: Erica Cali
Classroom: HB 113

Materials Required for Class
Pen and pencil
Set of colored pencils/markers
2 Highlighters (different colors)
Folder or binder for handouts.

Semester Outline
Introduction to Style : WEEKS 1 - 3
Classical Speech, Movement and Shakespeare: WEEKS 4 - 6
Restoration & Comedy of Manners: WEEKS 7 - 10
Ibsen, Chekhov and Realism: WEEMS 11 - 13
Brecht and Epic Theatre: WEEKS 14 - end of semester

Course Expectations
-Be on time for class
-Be prepared, have all required materials ready, and Macbooks fully charged.
-Complete all assigned homework
-Listen carefully and follow instructions
-Respect: Yourself, others, the classroom, equipment, and teacher
-Be prepared to perform for an audience
-Wear appropriate, comfortable clothing. If your footwear is not conducive to the work in the classroom, you will be asked to remove your shoes.- exception: for rehearsals and performances of scenes from period styles, girls will need to wear rehearsal skirts and character shoes (or something resembling character shoes).
rehearsal skirts.jpeg
character shoes.jpeg

Rehearsal Skirts (floor length, heavy material) Character Shoes (can be 1 - 2.5 inch heels)

Grading for this course will be based on the following:

Daily Participation Work 25%
Quizzes, Assignments and Homework 20%
Performances 40%
Final 15%

Students will be given 1 to 10 points each day toward their Participation grade, based on the following criteria. (Excused absences will not be calculated into this grade.)

10-9 points : Student works exceptionally well as a part of a group demonstrating an awareness of
others. Student participates fully offering suggestions and ideas. Student listens very
carefully to others’ ideas with sensitivity and never seeks to dominate.

8 points: Student works very well as a part of a group demonstrating an awareness of others.
Student offers suggestions and ideas but also listens to others’ ideas with sensitivity and
never seeks to dominate.

7-6 points: Student sometimes works well as part of a group. Student sometimes offers suggestions
and ideas.

5-4 points: Student finds it difficult to work as part of a group. Student rarely offers suggestions
and ideas/ dominates the discussion and does not listen to others.

4-3 points: Student finds it difficult to work as part of a group. Or is unprepared for class (i.e.
without appropriate materials).

3 points: Student does not participate. Or is unprepared for class (i.e. without appropriate

2 -0 points: Student is actively disruptive to the learning process.

Turning in written work
Written work will be posted on the wiki or turned in as a hard copy at the beginning of the class on the stated due date. Written work will be submitted as a Pages document, with your full name, class and assignment name written in the subject line. All documents with be saved by the
student’s name (first and last initial) along with the assignment title (i.e. ‘John D. Vocal Performance)

Late work policy
No late work will be accepted. Your lowest score will be dropped at the end of the semester.

Theatre Performances
Students are required to attend KIS evening theatre performances (i.e. the high school play).

Homework Assignments
Homework assignments will be posted on the wiki and on PowerSchool. Please email me at any time with any questions about assignments.


Student pages:

Jong Hyun
Sung Joon
Ji Soo


UNIT ONE: What is Style?

Style is...

1. a way of understanding the world and then entering based on what you see.

2. what is shared by characters in a play (or people in a group) while characterization is what makes them distinct from each other.

3. what works in a group.

4. a latitude, with some limits, but much creative space. It involves effective strategic choices.

5. behavior perceived by the individual as natural, while others (of unlike style) are perceived as artificial and contrived.

6. the journey from tourist to native.

7. It is living in the world of the play- not just visiting it.

8. Knowing What Play You’re In.

(from Robert Barton's Style For Actors)

Pair & Share:

pair/share: choose 7 out of these 10 questions to ask each other & share your responses.
  1. Of which groups do others ‘think’ you are a member, whether or not it’s true?
  2. When in your life so far have you altered your own style most radically to get out of a sticky situation?
  3. In what contexts can you get away with being bad? how did you get this control?
  4. How would you describe your own standard way of dressing? how would others describe it?
  5. What single article of clothing would others most likely associate with you?
  6. What do you work hardest at altering about yourself before you present yourself out in the world each day?
  7. What is your distinct ‘style of speak’?
  8. When you want to avoid being blunt or crude, what are your favorite euphemisms?
  9. How much do you influence the way others speak, dress or relate? what are your favored euphemisms?
  10. When you have traveled, where have you felt most at home and most like an alien?

Journal Response Assignment #1:

due Friday, Aug 24th:
In your Advanced Theatre Journal, please answer the following questions:

One definition of theatrical style is "knowing the play you're in". Please explain what this means and how it translates to your work on a play. If you were cast in a period play, how would you begin to learn the style of the play? Why would that be important? What aspects of the play would you focus on first?


Shakespeare Intro:

I know we just only touched on this, and while you won't be required to do any scanning on your own, this is for your own information, since we just won't have time to it justice this semester. If you are ever cast in a Shakespeare play, you can always come back to this page and scan your text!

What is scansion?
A system of scansion is a way to mark the metrical patterns of a line of poetry. In classical poetry, these patterns are based on the different lengths of each vowel sound, and in English poetry, they are based on the different stresses placed on each syllable. In both cases, the meter often has a regular foot.

How do I read scansion marks?
Over the years, many different systems have been established to mark the scansion of a poem. Classical notation uses a macron external image macron.gif for long syllables and a breve external image breve.gif for short syllables. Now the macron is commonly replaced with an ictus external image ictus.gif above a long syllable.

What are "feet"?
A "foot" is a collection of two or three syllables. There are different types of feet:

iamb external image iamb.gif - A two-syllable foot where an unstressed syllable is followed by a stressed syllable.

trochee external image trochee.gif - A two-syllable foot where a stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed syllable.

pyrrhic external image pyrrhic.gif - A two-syllable foot where both syllables are unstressed.

spondee external image spondee.gif - A two-syllable foot where both syllables are stressed.

anapest external image anapest.gif - A three-syllable foot where the first two syllables are unstressed and the third syllable is stressed.

dactyl external image dactyl.gif - A three-syllable foot where the first syllable is stressed and the last two syllables are unstressed.

amphibrach external image amphibrach.gif - A three-syllable foot where the first and third syllables are unstressed and the second syllable is stressed.

tribrach external image tribach.gif - A three-syllable foot where all three syllables are stressed.

bacchius external image bacchius.gif - A three-syllable foot where the first syllable is unstressed and the last two syllables are stressed.

antibaccius external image antibacchius.gif - A three-syllable foot where the first two syllables are stressed and the third syllable is unstressed.

cretic external image cretic.gif - A three-syllable foot where the first and third syllables are stressed and the second syllable is unstressed.

molossus external image molossus.gif - A three-syllable foot where all three syllables are unstressed.

What is "meter"?
Meter defines the number of feet in a single line of poetry. For example:

monometer - One foot
dimeter - Two feet
trimeter - Three feet
tetramter - Four feet
pentameter - Five feet
hexameter - Six feet
heptameter - Seven feet
octameter - Eight feet

So what is "iambic pentameter"?
As you saw in the previous section, "iambic" means to have two syllables, one stressed and one unstressed. Pentameter indicates there are ten syllables in the line. So iambic pentameter means that it is poetry written in a ten-line, alternating stress structure.

What is "rhythm"?
The rhythm of the line is the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables over the course of the line or passage. It may be regular or irregular, which usually conveys information about the speaker and their feelings or motivations.

Shakespeare Scenes

In order for you to have a solid idea of your character and what's happening before and after your assigned scene, you will need to become familiar with the play from which your scene is taken.

Here are the trailers from a few film version of the plays your scenes are from- do not attempt to copy the blocking or anything else from these films- they are simply one director's interpretation, but I am including these links to the trailers here so you can find the video and watch it on your own time, so you can know what is happening in the play as a whole.

Romeo and Juliet:
There are two film versions of R&J.
1. Franco Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet from 1968 is much closer to the original and if you'd like to watch it, you'll have to find it on youtube. I don't have a trailer for that one.
2. This one is a contemporary interpretation- but uses (most of) the original text. It's with Claire Danes and Leo DiCaprio - 1996:
Baz Lurhman's R&J

As You Like It: Kenneth Branagh's version from 2006. If you are interested in seeing the whole film, I have a dvd you can borrow.
As You Like It

Twelfth Night- with Ben Kingsley and Helena Bonham-Carter 1996. This is one of my favorites! Check out the whole film- you'll love it!
Twelfth Night

Much Ado About Nothing- this is Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson's version from 1993- a great, fun film- make sure you check out the entire film!
Much Ado About Nothing- 1993

Two Gentlemen of Verona
Can't seem to find a good film version of this online, but there are many recordings of the play all over youtube. If you can find a good version of the whole thing, let me know- I'd love to see it!

Making sense of it all:

Ok, so I understand that some groups may need a little extra help with the language.... this is where modern technology can really help out with seemingly archaic and difficult language... there is a lot online. For starters, check out:

No Fear Shakespeare: You'll get the original side-by-side with a modern translation of the text, so you can make sure the subtext you wrote into your script is at least in the right ballpark. Unfortunately, it has every play your scenes are from except Two Gentlemen... sorry girls. I've included a link to a summary of your scene, though....
No Fear Shakespeare

Two Gentlemen Summary


I found a clip of your scene from the 1993 film. Check it out:
Much Ado Act 5, scene 1

Twelfth Night Act 1, Scene 5

Twelfth Night Act 2 Scene 4

Act 1 Scene 1

Act 2 Scene 5

As You Like It
Act 3, Scene 2

Journal Response #2: (due by Monday, Sept 10th)

In your journals, please reflect on the Mark Hill Physical Theatre Workshop you attended on Wednesday. In what ways did the workshop help to inform your work as a performer? What will you be able to take away from that workshop and apply to your work on your Shakespeare scene? What will you remember from that workshop? What surprised you about yourself and/or others in the class during that workshop? Do you remember the four key points Mark focused on? What were they?

Please remember: the Shakespeare Scene Finals have been moved to Tuesday, Sept. 18th. You will be performing on the PAC stage and you might even have an audience. Your final dress rehearsals will be in class, Friday, Sept. 14th. Below is the rubric that will be used to assess your final. Please read through the criteria carefully to make sure you are preparing effectively.

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Reflection: Please reflect on the style, technique and approach to Shakespeare that we discussed and that you practiced as you prepared your Shakespeare scenes, Where and in what ways were you most successful? (what was the most successful thing about your personal performance?)
2. Think about one other of your classmate's performances- in what ways were they most successful?
3. What will you remember from your intro to shakespeare? What will you remember to do and apply to your work the next time you are working on a Shakespeare scene?


Intro to Restoration Theatre:
(video lecture you saw in class)

Original Video - More videos at TinyPic

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Restoration and Victorian Movement Workshop Notes:

Here are some of the things we covered in our in-class movement workshops, just for your reference, as you begin working on your Restoration scenes:

  1. INTRO
Playing period plays is nothing more than knowing and being able to implement the style, fashion, behavior of the period- the customs of the people, knowing how they moved and interacted....Which means knowing how to bow, how to use a cane, how to use a handkerchief or a fan that can add to a performance by allowing an actor to find the nuances and the intrigues of the period. i.e., those things that may seem like props, were actually a part of everyday life.

introduce: first position, 2nd, 4th positions. pivot, women’s bow, men’s bow & TWIST: the twist is important- gives the sense of curving of the space full of curves. when one wants to deal with anyone- it should be in a 4th position stance- even for women, with the feet a little bit closer, allowed them to be open to someone watching them on one side and yet dealing with someone else on the other. to change position, you simply shift your weight forward and turn in the opposite direction. or step onto that foot and turn back around. if you want to step forward, you’d simply shift your weight forward and turn yourself around.

3. Restoration Bows.

Bows girls- in first right foot comes back, arms just floating out at 2nd, and plie and then arms come back to front.

For men: presenting the leg. right leg goes back- (bent, while left remains front- the calf was thought to be the sensual part of the body, so you need to present it, open your arm out to second and come back. don’t bend from the hips- a fop might do that and bow really low, but in general, just go back a bit and let the upper body bow.

4. Restoration Warmup WARMUP

demands an openness, a lengthening of the spine, and a full, elegant gesture.

Plie and stretch (2x) = in first, arms out, (little breath)

plie to releve, stretch,

right hand reaching out, open out into 2nd, step to the right, place the left foot in back
take an easy bow (plie, rt arm comes down)

place the feet in first, left hand and out, across reach, step left, place right in back, and bow, for the men, shift the weight back, come back to center, (feet in 1st)

rolling down and one, plie and stretch, plie rolling up, roll shoulders back

place right foot in front and twist around it (to right), right foot in back and twist to left
(2 x each)

keep in mind, when you are standing, you are constantly positioning yourself to be seen as well as to see what is going on. (renaissance elbow- important- it was an indicator of status- whether you had it or not- but became habitual from a very young age.) it allows the actor to use very strong emotions, and yet not find oneself flailing your arms about but having a place to prop your hands without being distracting.

If you are walking, remember you are going to position yourself openly, but also play with the sense of curve. find the sense of curves as you move around. feel what it’s like to move yourself but keep open- like working on a runway, but curved. you can change the hand, men, sword was left at the doorway. women’s hands are at the front. the body is seductively checking everyone out and imagine what other secret they are going to spread or share.

NOTE: The Restoration was a reawakening after cromwell’s ethics and morals- everyone hated that time- the freedom that charles II brought back with him- sex was something to enjoy and indulge in- everyone was having affairs with someone else and the minuet was the chart-topper. the intrigue was everything, but you need to make sure that you do it with the most utmost grace and gentility-

7. the MINUET- most popular dance during this period

hand position- middle finger and thumb touch, palm being able to change position- elegance of the open hand

bows in the minuet to the hosts
then bow to your partner, then step in and out right arms up then around to the right. (four steps) full circle, then walk around yourself to your right, staying nice and open. now take your partner’s left hand and do the same to the left. walk around yourself to the left. then continue the curve around for 8 counts- your shoulders open swishing past each others’ backs.


sitting for men:

turn around yourself, let your right leg rest against the chair a bit, your left calf fully exposed and sit.

standing- always in fourth position as much as possible- walking with canes or parasols later- every 1st count of four.

HATS- for gentlemen-

long reach out for the hat, then lower in a sweeping S-curve- out, across the body and down to a bow and then out again to replace (can use two hands) can also hold the hat under the arm or in a crook in the arm- indoors the person with highest status can keep it on.

bows- men- bend at waist, not hip. and don’t go too low.

handkerchiefs- between 3rd & 4th fingers and wrap around - use it for as many flourishes as possible- when not using, tuck it into your sleeve.


for superiors, 1 stands with arm outstretched, while other kneels on one knee, hand underneath and puts forehead to hand.

11. FANS
whole language- (hand out pages) do some improvs. three people develop a scene incorporating the fan & its language.


arms are long and low or behind or one behind.


In greeting a woman, a man would doff (do off) his hat, tip it and put it back. just tip it. for a woman, just one simple extended hand, but firm hand shake

2.. BOWS-

restoration bow was NOT done- dangerous

Men- heels together, hands at back, head bow, bend at waist

Women- hands in front, right foot behind the other, ball of the foot, knees bend, head just nods. and a simple plie curtsey.

A bow for servants, women- bob, men- simple nod of the head.


women- a little more on the edge of the seat- lots of bustle, in and out of chairs quickly.

men do not sit any farther back in the chair than the woman.

women- do not cross legs- ankles.

men- thigh to thigh cross or calf at the knee, exaggerating the size of the calf.

don’t lean back in the chair because you’re too aware of messing up your clothes.

Leading a woman in and out- man- right arm bent, lady wraps the fore-arm.

4. The WALTZ.


All scenes for this unit will be from William Wycherley's The Country Wife. You will be given your specific scene in class, but here is the entire play:

The Short Version:

Horner uses his friend the Quack to spread the word about town that he is impotent so that the jealous London husbands won't fear leaving their wives with him. Sir Jasper Fidget asks Horner to entertain his wife and sister, not knowing that Horner will use this opportunity to jump from one bed to another. The country wife Margery comes to town wanting to savor all the pleasures it has to offer. Her husband, the aptly named Pinchwife, supposedly knows the town all too well, and since he has not heard about Horner being a eunuch, forbids her to contact him. As Margery adapts to the new London life, Pinchwife becomes increasingly paranoid about being cuckolded. As the play progresses, the innocent Margery and the cynical, sex-driven Horner are heading on a collision course for one another. Can this woman keep a secret, or will the whole plot collapse bringing down Horner and all his other lovers? from

The Longer Version: The Country Wife Summary (from

Act I.

The play’s action begins with Harry Horner explaining to The Quack his brilliant ruse for making a conquest of London’s upper-class ladies. Horner has spread a rumor that a treatment for venereal disease rendered him impotent, and his new status as a eunuch will allow him to gain access to ladies whose husbands and families would otherwise consider him dangerous. It will also allow the ladies to undertake liaisons with him and yet preserve their honor in the eyes of the world.


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Sir Jasper Fidget enters with his wife, Lady Fidget. Inferring from Horner’s aversion to ladies that the rumors of his impotence are true, Sir Jasper arranges for Horner to act as his wife’s new chaperone and companion. After the departure of the Fidgets, Horner’s two friends, Frank Harcourt and Mr. Dorilant, enter and banter with him about women, wine, and friendship. Soon the fatuous Mr. Sparkish arrives, bores the three friends with his pretensions to wit, and is driven away.

Jack Pinchwife enters, and Horner correctly discerns that he has recently gotten married. Pinchwife, who has not heard the rumors, privately fears that Horner will cuckold him. The men then discuss Pinchwife’s reasons for marrying and his choice of a bride, and Pinchwife’s contempt for women becomes plain. When it comes out that Horner has seen the new Mrs. Pinchwife, the day before at the theater, Pinchwife becomes uncomfortable and departs.

Act II.

Margery Pinchwife complains to her sister-in-law, Alethea Pinchwife, that her new husband has confined her indoors and will not let her see the sights in London. The women discuss Pinchwife’s jealousy, and Margery expresses her admiration of the actors she saw at the theater yesterday. Pinchwife enters and impresses both wife and sister with the importance of Margery’s remaining ignorant of the ways of the town. When Margery inquires the reason for this, Pinchwife explains that a licentious man at the theater has seen her and fallen in love with her; Margery is delighted, and soon Pinchwife locks her away in another room.

Sparkish, who is to marry Alethea tomorrow, arrives with Harcourt to show off his fiancée to him. Harcourt falls in love with Alethea immediately upon seeing her, and he cleverly makes advances to her under the nose of Sparkish, who is too obtuse to comprehend the drift of Harcourt’s dialogue. Alethea tries in vain to wind Sparkish up to some degree of indignation over this behavior; Sparkish believes staunchly that sophisticated town wits are immune to jealousy.

Once Sparkish, Harcourt, and Alethea have left, Pinchwife is surprised by the arrival of Lady Fidget, Dainty Fidget, and Mistress Squeamish. The ladies have come to see Margery, but Pinchwife invents excuses for why they cannot, then departs rudely. The ladies discuss Pinchwife’s jealousy and lament the mistreatment of upper-class wives by their husbands. They also discuss adultery, which they agree injures no one’s honor as long as it goes on in secret.

Sir Jasper arrives with Horner, saying that he has business to attend to and that the ladies must accept Horner as their chaperone. Lady Fidget rejects the idea of spending time with a eunuch, but Sir Jasper wins her cooperation by suggesting that she might win money off Horner at cards. Lady Fidget and Horner then step aside, ostensibly to patch things up, and Horner tells Lady Fidget in confidence that his impotence is a sham. She is delighted with this news, and the pair establish an implicit intention to undertake a liaison.

Act III.

Margery and Alethea again discuss the restrictions Pinchwife has imposed on Margery. Pinchwife then enters and, after accusing Alethea of being a disreputable lady, says that he is looking forward to marrying Alethea off to Sparkish and then returning with Margery to the country. Margery protests, however, saying that she wants to stay in London and walk abroad. Pinchwife finally gives in; he decides to disguise Margery as a young man and take her out for an airing.

In the next scene, Horner, Harcourt, and Dorilant stand bantering in the New Exchange. Harcourt confesses that he is in love with Alethea and needs a way of preventing her marriage to Sparkish. Horner advises him to use Sparkish himself as a cover for making advances to Alethea. Sparkish himself then approaches, and soon Pinchwife enters with Alethea and the disguised Margery.

Horner, recognizing Margery beneath her disguise, makes his move right under Pinchwife’s nose; Pinchwife cannot intervene without admitting to the disguise and humiliating himself. Meanwhile, Harcourt gets Sparkish to plead for him to Alethea, and in begging for reconciliation he covertly (but in terms clear enough to Alethea) expresses his love for her. Alethea becomes frustrated with Sparkish, who refuses to recognize that Harcourt is actually trying to steal her away from him.

When Pinchwife’s back is turned, Horner manages to make off with Margery. Pinchwife searches in vain for his wife, who soon returns with her arms full of gifts from Horner. Pinchwife, suspecting that he has been cuckolded, prepares to leave. Sir Jasper enters to fetch Horner to Lady Fidget.

Act IV.

Alethea’s maid Lucy finishes dressing her mistress for the wedding with Sparkish. Lucy disapproves of the match, however, and continues to advocate for Harcourt. The two women argue about the nature of honor and whether it is prudent or just for Alethea to marry a man she does not love, simply because she previously agreed to it. Alethea also reveals that Sparkish’s lack of jealousy is, to her, his most attractive quality.

Sparkish enters with Harcourt, who is disguised as his fictional brother “Ned,” the parson, who is to officiate at the wedding. Alethea tries in vain to make Sparkish see through the disguise; eventually she gives up and agrees to submit to what she knows will be an invalid marriage ceremony.

In the next scene, Pinchwife interrogates Margery regarding her encounter with Horner. Pinchwife is not yet a cuckold, but he sees that he will have to take measures to ensure that Horner does not have any further success with his wife. Pinchwife forces Margery to compose at his dictation a letter to Horner expressing her disgust with him and renouncing any further contact. Margery complies under threat of physical harm, but once the letter is finished and Pinchwife’s back is turned, she substitutes a love-letter for the harsh one Pinchwife dictated.

In the next scene, Horner gives The Quack a positive report on the success of his impotence ruse. The Quack then conceals himself as Lady Fidget enters, seeking her first sexual encounter with Horner. After some preliminary fretting over her reputation, she embraces Horner just in time to be caught in the act by Sir Jasper, who enters unexpectedly. Lady Fidget’s outrageous explanation, that she was merely determining whether Horner is ticklish, satisfies her oblivious husband. Sir Jasper objects, however, that Lady Fidget was supposed to be shopping for china. She explains that Horner himself has some expertise in china and even possesses a few pieces that she would like to obtain. With this excuse, she exits to another room, into which Horner soon follows her on the pretense of protecting his china collection. As Sir Jasper stands gleefully by, anticipating that his wife is about to obtain a valuable piece of china, Lady Fidget and her new lover have a liaison behind the locked door. Mistress Squeamish enters too late and is disappointed to have missed her opportunity; when Horner and Lady Fidget re-enter, they indicate through double entendres that he is physically depleted.

Pinchwife enters, and Sir Jasper departs with the ladies. Pinchwife delivers Margery’s letter to Horner; Horner reads it on the spot and figures out that Margery has substituted a love-letter for one that Pinchwife dictated to her. Pinchwife warns Horner not to cuckold him, but Horner feigns surprise at learning that the “youth” he kissed was not Margery’s brother but Margery herself. With another warning, Pinchwife departs.

After a brief discussion between Horner and The Quack, Pinchwife re-enters with Sparkish. Pinchwife and Sparkish are discussing the latter’s marriage to Alethea, which may be invalid, as the authenticity of the parson is now in doubt. Horner expresses disappointment in Alethea’s attachment to Sparkish; he is thinking of Harcourt’s hopes, though Pinchwife takes him to be disappointed for his own sake. Pinchwife exits, and Sparkish invites Horner to dine with him and Pinchwife. Horner accepts, on the condition that Margery will be invited.

In the next scene, Margery thinks longingly of Horner and sits down to write another letter to him. Pinchwife enters, reads the letter she is composing, and is about to commit a violent act upon her when Sparkish walks in and puts a stop to it, leading Pinchwife off to dinner.

Act V.

After dinner, Pinchwife directs Margery to finish the letter to Horner as she had intended. Margery cleverly finishes it in Alethea’s name, suggesting that Alethea, not she, is in love with Horner. Pinchwife warms to the idea of marrying Alethea to Horner instead of Sparkish. Meanwhile, with Lucy’s help, Margery concocts a plan to get to Horner’s lodging: she will impersonate Alethea, who ostensibly wishes to meet Horner and discuss the matter with him but who is so ashamed that she must wear a mask in order not to face Pinchwife. Pinchwife falls for this ruse, and soon he and the disguised Margery depart for Horner’s lodging.

In the next scene, Pinchwife delivers the disguised Margery to Horner and then departs to find a parson who will marry Horner and Alethea. Sir Jasper then enters to inform Horner that Lady Fidget and her friends will soon be arriving.

In the next scene, Pinchwife, in Covent Garden, presents Sparkish with evidence that Alethea has written to Horner and intends to marry him. Sparkish is incensed over this insult. Soon Alethea enters, and Sparkish says such nasty things to her, including an avowal that her only attraction for him was her money, that Alethea concludes that she was deceived all along about his good nature.

In the next and final scene, Lady Fidget, Dainty Fidget, and Mistress Squeamish all carouse with Horner in his lodging. (Margery is concealed in a nearby room.) The ladies speak openly of their frustrations with the upper-class men who neglect them and of the hollowness of “reputation.” Lady Fidget then makes a reference to Horner’s being her lover; this admission elicits surprise from the other two ladies, who apparently have also availed themselves of Horner’s services. The three ladies quickly agree not to fight over him, however, but rather to be “sister sharers,” all keeping each other’s secrets.

Sir Jasper enters, and then the group receives notice that Pinchwife and others are approaching. Horner sends his guests into another room, then calls forth Margery and tries in vain to persuade her to go home before Pinchwife finds her. Margery, however, has resolved to leave Pinchwife and take Horner as her new husband. Horner sends her back into the other room as Pinchwife and the others enter.

Pinchwife, accompanied by Alethea, Harcourt, Sparkish, Lucy, and a parson, wants Horner to attest that Alethea has visited his lodging. Horner lies, in order to protect Margery, and affirms this. Alethea, baffled and aware that she is dishonored by this slander, avows that she regrets the loss of no one’s good opinion but Harcourt’s. Harcourt declares that he believes her; he then tries in vain to get Horner to clear the matter up. The two men have reached a stalemate when Margery pokes her head in.

Margery gives her opinion that the parson should marry Horner to her rather than to Alethea. Pinchwife, suddenly undeceived, draws his sword on Margery; Horner objects, and Pinchwife turns to threaten him instead, then is restrained by Harcourt. Sir Jasper, entering, inquires what is going on and is amused by the notion of Horner’s cuckolding anyone. Pinchwife’s seriousness, however, instills in him a fear that Horner may be virile after all.

Lucy intervenes, claiming that Margery’s coming in disguise to Horner’s lodging was not an indication that Margery loves Horner but rather part of Lucy’s plan to break up Sparkish and Alethea. Margery objects, however, that her love for Horner is genuine. Pinchwife makes more threats.

Suddenly The Quack walks in, to the relief of Horner, who calls upon him to attest to his impotence, which The Quack obligingly does. Sir Jasper readily accepts this medical testimony. Pinchwife is more suspicious and requires to be assured that all of London believes in Horner’s impotence before he will accept the idea. Margery continues to dissent, but the ladies overwhelm her testimony with expressions of their confidence in Horner’s deficiency.

Among the concluding remarks, Harcourt indicates his impatience to be a husband, the Pinchwifes each indicate their distaste for their marriage, and Lucy insists to Pinchwife that Margery’s expression of love for Horner “was but the usual innocent revenge on a husband’s jealousy.” Margery reluctantly confirms this lie, and Pinchwife resigns himself to accepting the story, though it does not convince him: “For my own sake fain I would all believe; / Cuckolds, like lovers, should themselves deceive.”

Character List

Harry Horner

A notorious London rake who, in order to gain sexual access to “respectable” women, spreads the rumor that venereal disease has rendered him impotent. In the course of the play he manages liaisons with several of the female characters. Horner is the most insightful of all the “wits” in the play, often drawing out and commenting on the moral failings of others, but in his sexual conduct he is the most depraved.

Jack Pinchwife

A middle-aged London man, newly married to the rustic Margery. A rake before his marriage, he is now the archetypal jealous husband: he lives in fear of being cuckolded, not because he loves his wife but because he believes that he owns her. He is a latent tyrant, potentially violent.

Margery Pinchwife

The attractive young “country wife” of the title, Margery is newly married to Jack Pinchwife and is visiting London for the first time to see Alethea’s wedding. Unaccustomed to city ways, she is largely guileless and not overwhelmingly bright but perhaps not so incapable of intrigue as she first appears. Her unrefined sexual vitality and all-around naturalness contrast with the hyper-civilized corruption of the Londoners around her.

Alethea Pinchwife

The younger sister of Jack Pinchwife, who wants to marry her off for financial reasons. She is engaged to Sparkish, whom she values because he appears incapable of jealousy; in the course of the play, however, she attracts the amorous attentions of Harcourt, whom she begins to value for his intelligence and gallantry. Alethea is the most straightforwardly admirable person in the play: her residence in London and enjoyment of the pleasures of the town have sharpened her wits but not dulled her morals.

Frank Harcourt

A rakish friend of Horner, Harcourt meets Alethea early in the play, flirts with her in front of Sparkish, and soon falls in love with her. His devotion to the meritorious Alethea bespeaks his basic good nature, and in the course of the play he is converted to a vision of marriage based on mutual love and esteem.

Mr. Dorilant

A rakish friend of Horner and Harcourt.

Mr. Sparkish

A shallow and foolish playboy who considers himself, wrongly, a “wit.” He is engaged to Alethea, attracted primarily by her money. He appears to Alethea incapable of jealousy, but this is true only insofar as the envy of other men increases the “value” of his prospective wife, whom he thinks he owns.


Alethea’s clever and sensible maidservant. She is skeptical of her mistress’s plans to marry the vapid Sparkish, and she is resourceful in coming up with schemes to encourage a match with Harcourt.

Sir Jasper Fidget

A man of business who derives no end of amusement from the rumor of Horner’s impotence. He is happy to entrust his wife, Lady Fidget, to Horner’s company, on the theory that the presence of the supposed eunuch will keep her occupied and discourage the advances of other, more potent men.

Lady Fidget

The wife of Sir Jasper Fidget, she is much younger than her husband and a leading figure in “the virtuous gang.” Utterly hypocritical, she piques herself on her virtue in public and avails herself of Horner’s physical charms in private. Late in the play she articulates a defense of the hypocrisy of high-born ladies.

Dainty Fidget

The unmarried sister of Sir Jasper Fidget. Like Lady Fidget, she is a member of “the virtuous gang” and secretly a conquest of Horner’s.

Mistress Squeamish

A young unmarried woman related to the Fidgets. Like Lady Fidget, she is a member of “the virtuous gang” and secretly a conquest of Horner’s.

Old Lady Squeamish

The grandmother of Mistress Squeamish; she strives in vain to preserve her granddaughter’s purity.

The Quack

The doctor whom Horner enlists to spread the rumor of his impotence.

The Boy

Horner’s servant.

In-Class Assignment for Monday, Oct. 22nd

You will be watching a masterclass that Simon Callow (a GENIUS in the realm of Restoration Acting) gave to a bunch of actors who were rehearsing a production of The Relapse, a Restoration comedy. Please carefully watch the clips as the sub plays each section, then when the DVD is paused, you will need to respond to the questions I've posed below. There are five sections of the video and you will have 4 responses to make in your Theatre Journal. Please copy and paste the questions below into your wiki journal and respond after watching each section.

Response to Section 1: If you were to sum up your character into a noun, what would that noun be? WHAT is your character?

Response to Section 2: For whatever you decided your character IS, what examples support this in the text? Where do we see examples of this in the lines you are speaking?

You do not have to write a response to Section 3.

Response to Section 4 : In a few sentences, can you summarize what Simon Callow was talking about in regard to Edith Evans and how one must be 'intellectually engaged' while speaking the text of a Restoration comedy?

Response to Section 5 (last clip of the DVD): Please make some general, final comments in response to what you saw and what Simon Callow said about acting in a Restoration Comedy. How will this help you with your scene? What struck you or surprised you about what he said about this style or genre?

In-Class Assignment for Wednesday, Oct. 24th

1. Watch the following clips of the scenes that we are doing in class, paying particular attention to the scene you will be performing, then follow the directions below.

Mrs. Pinchwife/Alithea/Pinchwife scene (Jane, Kate, Arnold) -this is actually the 2nd of the 5 scenes...

TCW Scene 1 from Erica Cali on Vimeo.

Mrs. Pinchwife/Alithea/Pinchwife scene (Razan, Jerica, JongHyun) actually the first of the five scenes

TCW Scene 2 from Erica Cali on Vimeo.

'Ned Harcourt' or "Alithea gets ready for her wedding" scene (Sara, Kate, Andy, Edward)

TCW third scene from Erica Cali on Vimeo.

The Letter scene (Carol, Sam)

TCW 4th scene from Erica Cali on Vimeo.

Last group's scene to the end of the play (Jenny, Cindy, Sung Joon)

TCW 5th and last scene from Erica Cali on Vimeo.

2. Please record a video of yourself to be uploaded to (or linked to) your Theatre Journal (your individual wikipage), responding to the following questions:

a) What did you think about the BBC portrayal of your scene? Did you agree with the artistic choices? Why or why not? Did you like it?

b) In what way did the actors in these scenes exhibit appropriate examples of period movement? (Please use specific examples)

c) Is there anything that surprised you about the way in which your scene was portrayed?

d) Is there anything you would like to steal from this scene to use in your own? (now that you've already blocked and staged your scene, it's ok to use one or two of the BBC actors' (or director's) choices, if there's anything that really struck you that you weren't already doing in your scene and that will assist in effectively communicating what's going on for the characters...

e) How did you think you and your group did with your scene, now that you have seen how the 'Pros' chose to perform it?


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Realism in the last half of the 19th-century began as an experiment to make theater more useful to society. The mainstream theatre from 1859 to 1900 was still bound up in melodramas, spectacle plays (disasters, etc.), comic operas, and vaudevilles.

But political events—including attempts to reform some political systems—led to some different ways of thinking. Revolutions in Europe in 1848 showed that there was a desire for political, social, and economic reform. The many governments were frightened into promising change, but most didn’t implement changes after the violence ended.

Technological advances were also encouraged by industry and trade, leading to an increased belief that science could solve human problems. But the working classes still had to fight for every increase in rights: unionization and strikes became the principal weapons workers would use after the 1860s—but success came only from costly work stoppages and violence. In other words there seems to be rejection of Romantic idealism; pragmatism reigned instead. The common man seemed to feel that he needed to be recognized, and people asserted themselves through action.

The Emergence of Realism

3 major developments helped lead to the emergence of realism:

  1. **August Comte** (1798-1857), often considered to be the "father of Sociology," developed a theory known as Positivism. Among the Comte’s ideas was an encouragement for understanding the cause and effect of nature through precise observation.
  2. **Charles Darwin (1809-1882)** published The Origin of Species in 1859, and creators a worldwide stir which exists to this day. Darwin’s essential series suggested that life developed gradually from common ancestry and that life favored "survival of the fittest." The implications of Darwin's Theories were threefold:

    1. people were controlled by heredity and environment
    2. behaviors were beyond our control
    3. humanity is a natural object, rather than being above all else.

  1. **Karl Marx** (1818-1883) in the late 1840’s espoused a political philosophy arguing against urbanization and in favor of a more equal distribution of wealth

These three stated ideas that helped open the door for a type of theatre that would be different from any that had come before.

Even Richard Wagner (1813-1883), while rejecting contemporary trends toward realism, helps lead toward a moderate realistic theatre. Wagner wanted complete illusionism, but wanted the dramatists to be more than a recorder—he wanted to be of "myth-maker."

True drama, according to Wagner, should be "dipped in the magic founding of music," which allows greater control over performance than spoken drama. Wagner wanted complete control over every aspect of the production in order to get a "gesamtkunstwerk," or "master art work."

Because Wagner aimed for complete illusion, even though his operas were not all realistic, many of his production practices helped lead the way for realism. For instance the auditorium was darkened, the stage was framed with a double proscenium arch, there were no side boxes and no center aisle, and all seats were equally good. Further, he forbade musicians to tune in the orchestra pit, allowed no applause or curtain calls, and strove for historical accuracy in scenery and costumes. Therefore, even though Wagner’s operas are fantastic and mythical, his attempts at illusionism helped gain public acceptance for realism.

Beginnings of the Movement:

Realism came about partly as a response to these new social / artistic conditions. The "movement" began in France and by 1860 had some general precepts:

    1. truth resides in material objects we perceived to all five senses; truth is verified through science
    2. the scientific method—observation—would solve everything
    3. human problems were the highest were home of science

Art—according to the realist view—had as its purpose to better mankind.

Drama was to involve the direct observation of human behavior; therefore, there was a thrust to use contemporary settings and time periods, and it was to deal with everyday life and problems as subjects.

As already mentioned, realism first showed itself in staging and costuming. Three-dimensional details had been added by 1800. By 1850, theater productions used historically accurate settings and costumes and details, partly as a result of romantic ideals. But it was harder to get realism accepted widely.

The Duke of Saxe-Meiningen helped unify productions; Richard Wagner wanted theatre to fuse the emotional and the intellectual, though his operas were highly mythical and fantastic.

Writers of Realism

In France, to Playwrights helped popularized the idea of realism but both clung to two inherent traditional morality and values:

**Alexandre Dumas** **//fils//** (the fils stands for "son," and designates the "illegitimate son of Alexandre Dumas") – (1824-1895)

His novel, Camille, was dramatized in 1849. About a "kept woman," the play was written in prose, and dealt with contemporary life. Eventually, he wrote "thesis plays," about contemporary social problems.

**Emile Augier**(1820-1889) also wrote plays about contemporary conditions.

In Norway: **Henrik Ibsen** (1828-1906) is considered to be the father of modern realistic drama. His plays attacked society’s values and dealt with unconventional subjects within the form of the well-made play (causally related).

Ibsen perfected the well-made play formula; and by using a familiar formula made his plays, with a very shocking subject matter, acceptable. He discarded soliloquies, asides, etc. Exposition in the plays was motivated, there were causally related scenes, inner psychological motivation was emphasized, the environment had an influence on characters’ personalities, and all the things characters did and all of things the characters used revealed their socio-economic milieu. He became a model for later realistic writers.

Among the subjects addressed by Ibsen in his plays are: euthanasia, the role of women, war and business, and syphilis.

Some of Ibsen's Plays:

  • Ghosts—1881—dealt with the concept of the sins of the father transferring to the son, resulting in syphilis.
  • Pillars of Society – 1877 – dealt with war and business.
  • Hedda Gabbler – 1890 – a powerful woman takes her life at the end of the play to get away from her boredom with society.
  • A Doll’s House – 1879 – Nora leaves her husband Torvald and her children at the end of the play; often considered "the slam heard around the world," Nora’s action must have been very shocking to the Victorian audience.

Later in life, Ibsen turned to more symbolic and abstract dramas; but his "realism" affected others, and helped lead to realistic theatre, which has become, despite variations and rejections against it, the predominant form of theatre even today.

Other writers of realism:

**George Bernard Shaw** (1856-1950) – in England

Uncommon for his witty humor

Made fun of societies notion using for the purpose of educating and changing. His plays tended to show the accepted attitude, then demolished that attitude while showing his own solutions.

  • Arms and the Man (1894) – about love and war and honor.

  • Mrs. Warren’s Profession – prostitution.

  • Major Barbara (1905) – a munitions manufacturer gives more to the world (jobs, etc.) while the Salvation Army only prolongs of the status quo.
  • Pygmalion (1913) – shows the transforming of a flower girl into a society woman, and exposes the phoniness of society. The musical My Fair Lady was based on this play.

**Anton Chekhov** (1860-1904) – in Russia

Chekhov is known more for poetic expiration and symbolism, compelling psychological reality, people trapped in social situations, hope in hopeless situations. He claimed that he wrote comedies; others think they are sad and tragic. Characters in Chekhov’s plays seem to have a fate that is a direct result of what they are. His plays have an illusion of plotlessness.

  • The Seagull (1898).

  • Three Sisters (1900) – we did the show here last year; about three sisters who want to move to Moscow but never do.

  • The Cherry Orchard (1902)

Again, his realism has affected other Playwrights, as did his symbolic meanings in the texts of his plays and in the titles of his plays.

Other Movements

Two other "movements" that developed concurrently with realism warrant our attention, Naturalism and the Independent Theatre Movement. Each of these had an influence on the developing realist movement.

Note: For the purposes of this class, however, we are going to focus on Chekhov's plays, because they help us learn how to successful employ the acting techniques developed by Constantin Stanislavski.

(from Lindsay Price's article on
Constantin Stanislavsky (or Konstantin Stanislavski) was born in Moscow, Russia in 1863. He started out as an actor (Stanislavsky is actually his stage name) and moved on to become a director and teacher. He co-founded the Moscow Art Theatre in 1898; the company was the first to produce Anton Chekhov's The Seagull. This is where he developed a new approach to acting, using the company as a lab and trying ground. It took years of experimenting to get to what is now known as the Stanislavsky System.

As an actor, Stanislavsky saw a lot of bad acting - what he termed as artificial. Stanislavsky wanted actors to work on characters from the inside (instead of the outside) and thus create more of a "true" or "real" (i.e. not artificial) performance.
He also wanted to address how actors can keep a role fresh performance after performance after performance. It's not something an actor can leave to luck - there has to be some sort of technique involved.
Stanislavsky's thought process toward acting differed greatly from the way actors traditionally approached their roles. In fact, it changed actor training forever.

Stanislavsky developed a number of processes such as Emotional Memory, Objective and Super Objective, and the Magic If. All of which are taught in drama classes and theatre schools to this day. They have also found their way into other techniques such as Method (Stanislavsky's System is often confused for Method Acting) and Meisner.
Stanislavsky developed his program over a period of years. It was forever changing; aspects such as Emotional Memory, which were important in the beginning, became less so as the process evolved.

The System is outlined in three books: An Actor Prepares, Building a Character, and Creating a Role. Stanislavsky also wrote his own biography: My Life in Art.

The Process**
What is it?
The Stanislavsky System is an intense character development process that strives to make a performance "real" and not artificial. In order to achieve this realism, the system is used to:
  1. Bring an actor's experiences into the role.
  2. Expand an actor's imagination.
Stanislavsky believed that in order to make a character true, the character must be approached from the inside. That means drawing on the real inside life of the actor, most specifically drawing on memories. The actor also has to create the inside life of the character: the character has to have inner thought, back story, beliefs, and so on, just as a real person does. When the actor answers questions about the character, they should speak in the first person. "I am…" "I want…"
The use of the imagination is very important: the system is not about working out your problems on stage as therapy! Stanislavsky always focuses on the art of the process: "Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art."
How do I use it?
The System has a set vocabulary of terms. These terms represent specific exercises to be used as the actor works on the script. The exercises are appropriate for any character and any script.

The Terms
There are many, many more components to the process than what we will go through here. (but here's a start).

The given circumstances are the character details in the script - the facts the playwright gives the actor. They are unchangeable. Focus attention on the Geographical, Social and Historical elements in the script.
Sample questions to ask:
  • Where am I?
  • What is my specific location?
  • What year is it?
  • What relationships do I have?
  • What has happened before the play begins?

This is also referred to in some books as the SUPER TASK. The Super Objective is the main theme of the play. The subject of the play. Everything drives toward the Super Objective.
Some examples:
  • The Glass Menagerie: True Escape is impossible
  • Hamlet: Revenge
  • The Crucible: Good vs Evil

This is also referred to in some books as the TASK. Once the overall theme of the play is established, break the script down into sections. The objective is the goal for your character in each section. It's what the character would like to see happen at the end of the section; what they want.
This is not necessarily what happens , but this is what the character is striving for . It is the actor's job to focus on the objective and strive to complete it, no matter what stands in the way.
Click here for an Objective Worksheet.
The Objective Worksheet is divided up into Section (Opening line/Closing line), Objective (complete the sentence "I want…", use verbs), and Action (define what you're going to do).
For each section you should know what your character wants and what action they are going to take to get that want.

Your character is in a specific situation. The Magic If answers the following question: "What would I do if I were in the same situation?"
The "If" is very important. Again, this about your real life experiences, in combination with your imagination. The situation is not real, and the system doesn't assume you have ever been in that situation. But knowing yourself, what would you do? How would you act? Take the imaginary situation and make real life decisions as to how you would behave.
It's crucial to determine the "do" in the question. What action would you take?
Exercise: You are in a play that takes place at a bank. As your character is finishing up with the teller, a bank robber enters and shoots a gun into the air.
If you were in a similar situation, what would you do? Would you be a coward or a hero? Would you yell? Would you hide behind someone? Would you run out? How would this information help in your character development?

This is also called AFFECTIVE MEMORY. In the system, the actor does not "act" emotions. You don't act sad, or happy, or mad. With Emotional Memory the actor remembers a situation when he/she felt the same, or similar, emotions as their character. Recalling the situation leads to emotion.
What's important about this exercise is that the actor must not force a memory, or bring up something hurtful. It's a play, not therapy. It's important not to, as Stanislavsky says, "assault the subconscious." Past memories are used (as opposed to present situations) because they are more controllable.
The actor can also use situations they were not directly involved with - it could be a something they saw, read about or heard about.
Sense Memory is an offshoot of Emotional Memory. The actor recalls a memory, and tries to put all five senses to the memory. What did you see, hear, taste, touch, smell?

Also referred to as SUBTEXT. These are the character's thoughts. What's going on inside the character during a scene? Creating the subtext is part of developing the inner life of the character.
Exercise: Take a scene, preferably a two-hander. Have the two actors in the scene face each other. A third person sits with the script and reads out the lines for both characters. After they hear their line, the actor speaks aloud the subtext for the line. To do that, the actor completes the sentence, "I want to…"

Stanislavsky Speaks
Here are a few quotes from Stanislavsky himself about acting and creating a character.

"In the creative process there is the father, the author of the play; the mother, the actor pregnant with the part; and the child, the role to be born."

"Love the art in yourself, not yourself in the art"

"What does it really mean to be truthful on stage? Does it mean that you conduct yourself as you do in ordinary life? Not at all. Truthfulness in those terms would be sheer triviality. There is the same difference between artistic and inartistic truth as exists between a painting and a photograph: the latter produces everything, the former only what is essential; to put the essential on canvas requires the talent of a painter."

"Put life into the imagined circumstances and actions until you have completely satisfied your sense of truth."

"If you know your character's thoughts, the proper vocal and bodily expressions will naturally follow."

"When we are on stage, we are in the here and now."

"One must not confuse the 'theatrical' with what is truly theatrical. The theatre undoubtedly demands something special that is not to be found in life. So the task is: to bring life to the stage, while avoiding the 'theatrical' (which destroys life) but at the same time respecting the nature of the stage itself."

"Imagination creates things that can be or can happen."

"Create your own method. Don't depend slavishly on mine. Make up something that will work for you! But keep breaking traditions, I beg you."


"There are no small parts. Only small actors."


Our scenes are from the following plays by Chekhov. Since realism and the Stanislavski Method is all about character analysis and development, you will need to read through the entire play that your scene is taken from, with everyone else who is doing a scene from that play, in order to truly understand your character and begin the in-depth process of character development.

The Three Sisters Study Guide:
3 Sisters study guide

Three Sisters full text: (copy and paste)

UNCLE VANYA link: (copy and paste)
Uncle Vanya Study Guide
Vanya Study Guide: characters

Seagull Study Guide
SEAGULL: copy and paste this link to make it work

character list:
Seagull character list
More notes on characters

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Chekhov Scene Performances

Jerica, Razan, Cindy & Andy and Ed

Yena and Jimmy

Arnold & Jenny

Sara & Jong Hyun

Carol & Kate

Sam & Jane