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Friday, June 19, 2009


12 June 2009

There are four kind of theatre namely Arena theatre, Shakespearean theatre, Ampi theatre and Proscenium theatre. He spoke mostly about the proscenium theatre.

A proscenium theatre is like a peeping from a window to someone’s house or
In this the actor’s right is the stage right. There is to be total silence and darkness in the audience. Three sides are closed.

The stage is divided into nine parts Upper Right (UR), Upper Centre (UC), Upper Left (UL), Centre Right (CR), Centre Stage (CS), Left Centre (LC), Down Right (DR), Down Centre (DC), Down Left (DL).



There are various parts of the stage.

Cyclorama is the white screen behind the stage. To give the effects of shadow, sun, moon, etc.

Wings- decide the opening of the acting area used for hiding the actor and the backstage. It is covered by black or blue cloth. Wings depend on the length of the stage.

Apron-is the front stage.

FOH - front of the house

Stage light- from the top of the stage.

Side light- gives 3D effect

Frills- covers the lights to hide the source of light from the audience.


Realistic theatre- with normal emotions.

Stylised theatre- comedy, song, drama, exaggeration.

Absurd theatre- without connection.


The organisation of a play has two functions - the aesthetic function and the commercial function. In the aesthetic function we have a Playwright and a play reading committee.

Playwright- executes the theme by words. He constructs various themes and sub themes, out of which the director decides the main theme of play. The playwright evolves a character but does not give meaning to the character. Director gives the meaning to the character. He gives the posture, mannerism, expression, movement and so on.

Under the play reading committee comes the director under whom works the set designer, technical director , costume designer, light designer, music composer, assistant director and the stage manager.

Stage manager- is the link between the director and the actor and the rest of the crew. He is the most powerful person in the group. Even the director is answerable to him/her.

Set design- is done in a 45 degrees axis. Diagonal lines are powerful on stage. Parallel lines and angles are always avoided. In the diagonal angle, three fourth of the actor’s body is seen by the audience. The furniture and props are also placed in a 45 degree axis so that it does not merge with the cyclorama. Props must not obstruct the movement of the of the actor. It should not hide the actor and must be in the corners.

There is also a symbolic set in which the theme is conveyed in a symbolic way using symbols and paintings and other props.

Technical director- finances the set and costumes and holds and organises meetings.

Costume- costumes are designed taking account of the time period in which the play is set. Use of primary and secondary colours.

Light designing- there are three important lights namely, key light (more intensity and illumination), fill in light (gives the 3D effect) and back light. If the key light is 1000 KW then fill in light must be 500 KW and the back light must be 250 KW.

Filters and frost are used to give different effects of lighting. General area lighting is divided into 6 parts . Use of halogens and flood lights as their intensities cannot be controlled. Para lights or spotlights are used as they can be dimmed as per requirement.


There are three acting theories

Iff theory- Actor prepares in 27 steps to transform himself/herself into the personality of the character that he/she is playing. This theory works very well for that particular play but has a somewhat permanent effect on the actor and therefore is not prescribed.
Method acting- in this the actor undergoes a training in the situations that he has to face. For example if he/has to play a role of a blind person he/she goes and stays for some days with the blind people.
Simultaneous acting- this that type in which the actor in his daily life has already observed the situations and hence does not need an extra training.

Mr. D’souza says that if someone is interested in theatre he/she must read and watch more and more plays.

In the afternoon session there we started with some games. The first game was “Tom says”, in which we were supposed to do what Tom says and nothing else. If we did some thing that Tom did not say and we were out. Suppose Mr. Walter said ‘ lift your left hand’ we are not supposed to lift our hand, but if he says ‘Tom says lift your left hand’ then you are supposed to lift your left hand.

He even promised a return ticket from Singapore and hotel fare, but unfortunately no one won it.

The main point of this exercise was to inculcate absolute concentration into the actor. That he has to do whatever Tom says, and he must not pay attention to anything else at all. It applies to an actor on stage who must not be distracted by anything or anyone in the audience or anywhere else. His absolute concentration must be on the stage.

Then we played a game in which we were supposed to move randomly in a space and as soon as he said a number we were supposed to form groups of the same number. And whoever failed to form that number was out.

After doing this several times he asked us to be in groups of six and gave a theme ‘Cave’ in which we had to form a still scene where the theme was portrayed . Two more similar exercises were done with themes of Marriage and Mourning House.

Then after the lunch break we had voice training session in which everyone’s pitch was discovered. Before that we did some breathing exercises. In the voice exercise we needed to say all vowels loud and check our pitch.

D'Souza, Walter. Class Lecture. Theatre Training Workshop. Christ University. Bangalore, India. 12 June 2009

13 June 2009


The day started with learning about make-up. “you should know what you want and be able to tell the designer or the make-up person what exactly you want.

There are two kinds of make-up, character make-up in which mythological characters are depicted on the face and the other is straight make-up which is a realistic play make-up. For example beard.

In straight make-up, to highlight certain face muscle pan cakes are used.

Then comes the age factor. Using this wrinkles can be made on the required areas. Now on that if a moustache or a beard is required crape hairs are used.

Crape hairs are of two kinds the American and Indian. The American crape hair is first comes in knots which needs to be opened and soaked in water. When it is dried it becomes pulpy. Then the ends are cut. It now looks like hairs. Spirit gum is applied on the skin and hair is pressed on it with a wet cloth. Then the desired shape is given. In the Indian one the hair does not get pulpy at all, and 2-3 coats of hair are required to be applied, with high chances of the layers falling off on the stage!

For greying of hair, in theatre Zinc powder is used and in TV aluminium powder is used. There are different effects that you can gain by different ways like, to show a fallen teeth spirit gum is applied on the teeth and let dry, then kajal is applied on the area.

Putti make-up is used to enlarge nose or for other facial distortions. First spirit gum is applied and then latex.

Egg make up can also be used to bring wrinkles. The white of the egg is applied on the face and let dry, it produces wrinkles.

Spirit gum is water and oil friendly. There for can easily be removed by cream or oil.

There are a few things that one must remember. First of all I think everyone knows, make up must always be put after the putting on the costumes and one of the most important things is that when make-up is on, actor must not leave the green room.


There are two kinds of rehearsals

Scheduled rehearsal- it starts from act 1 till the end and requires everyone to be present at the practice.

Break-up rehearsal- the practice is carried on in a segmented way in which only the actors participating in that act needs to be present.


To get into National School of Drama in started in 1965. It initially started for a one year course then built on to 3 years degree course. It had one seat for every state and five seats for foreign students. Now it has 18 seats for scholarship with stipend.

The minimum requirement to enter is to have atleast ten years of experience in theatre, a bachelor’s degree worked in atleast 10 productions and a recommendation by two passed out NSD students.

NSD in Bangalore is also starting.


Mime originally evolved though church. The church was initially against theatre but somehow decided to use the theatre for to serve its own purpose. They had three parts in which the holy body would be at the centre with minimum movements, the angels at the right with restricted movements that were only to praise the holy one and on the left side was the evil one showing lot of movements and instability.

Since the movement in the left side was free people kept improvising and putting in more and more varieties. It was made more interesting to make the audience sit for the whole thing and not get bored. But slowly they got so good with their different professional abilities on the left side that people would only come and watch that part and leave. So the purpose with which the church brought theatre in was not fulfilled. Therefore ultimately the left side team was thrown out of the church. Now these people did not know anything but theatre so they started putting up there shows outside in the commercial places. Since they did not have any money for the props they started miming. That is how mime started.

Points to remember for mime

Lot of practice required

Arms and legs must be strong.

Good imagination and creativity is required

Always remember what you have created, as the audience is keenly keeping a check on your mistakes.

Observe day to day activities and learn from them

Miming does not mean that you are acting like a speech impaired person, you can move your mouth but not say anything.

Exaggeration of expression and action.

Timing must be perfect

Costumes must be relative to the background, for example if the background is black costume must be white and vice versa.

Mime is not only for comedy but also for tragedies.

D'Souza, Walter. Class Lecture. Theatre Training Workshop. Christ University. Bangalore, India. 13 June 2009

14 June 2009

Today each grout was supposed to enact the scene given to them using creative props. Some groups had a scene from Girish Karnad’s ‘Tughlaq’ while the other groups were given a scene from his play ‘Hayavardana’.

Once all the performances were over he showed us where we went wrong and what were our strong points.

He ended by speaking about Street Theatre.

The experience was entirely thrilling! And we are extremely thankful to all the teachers whose efforts were into keeping five seats for us undergraduate students.

D'Souza, Walter. Class Lecture. Theatre Training Workshop. Christ University. Bangalore, India. 14 June 2009

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