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Intro to Masterpieces of Drama

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Introduction to Masterpieces of the Drama
(by Alexander W. Allison, Arthur J. Carr and Arthur M. Eastman)

1. “The implications of such natural playacting are vast, for good and for ill – for good, because individual and social happiness depends on right acting; for ill, because misrepresentations, deceit, mischief, and falsehood can also be learned by imitation.” "Much of what we know we learn by imitation, by acting parts, by practicing what we shall say or do." Language, for example, is taught by making the learner repeat what has been said. Filipino children exposed to English cartoon shows tend to become fluent in the language used. Those who are exposed to violent shows like wrestling become aggressive, as a result of idolizing the characters involved. People tend to "copy" what they observe in their environment. What makes drama vast is the fact that "the essentials of drama not only inhere in social experience; in basic ways they determine it." Materials of drama were used, including music, dancing, and the reenactment of important deeds and occasions.

There are five epochs in which drama flourished, namely The Greek Classics, The Middle Ages, The Elizabethan Drama, The Neo-Classical French Drama and The Modern Drama. Looking back at the history of drama, it can be seen that each of these epochs has its own contributions to the modern drama.

The Greek Classics was the epoch in which drama has begun. The most influential playwrights were Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles who wrote for tragedies. Another playwright known during this period was Aristophanes, who, on the other hand, wrote for comedies. Drama in The Greek Classics started out with one actor and developed until there were three.
In medieval ages, there were no names of individual playwrights. Dramatic entertainments were prohibited during this time because of the discouragement of the Church. Sequences of plays dramatizing for popular audiences the famous Biblical stories have developed and have been known as the "mystery plays.”

The Elizabethan drama was a sustained burst pf literary activity. It had notable authors such as Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, and Shakespeare.

In the Neo-Classical French drama, Pierre Corneille and Jean Racine have created works of lofty tragedies. Molière, on the other hand, has made elegant comedies. Modern drama had Ibsen, Strindberg, Chekhov, Shaw, and Pirandello as its most influential playwrights. The plays during the modern period were performed in independent theaters which were free of supervision and censorship.

2. Each period of drama has a distinct plysical and architectural conditions and social conventions. The Greek plays were performed by daylight in a large outdoor amphitheater and in front of a façade that represented a palace or a temple. The actors entered from central gates or from the sides. They wore elevated boots to increase their stature and masks to accentuate the dominant traits of the characters they portrayed. The area of the amphitheater was a large “orchestra." Entering the orchestra and remaining until the end of the play was a chorus of about 15 men. Their chants were accompanied by dance steps with style.

The medieval period consisted of plays that may have been performed on a movable stage called a “pageant. ” A procession of such pageants could carry individual plays from one location to another, or for plays composing a cycle on a given subject, such as the Noah and the Flood or the Nativity of Jesus, the pageants might be arranged around the sides of a market place or in open fields. Actors and audiences were not necessarily separated by barriers so there were interactions between the performers and the spectators.

During the Elizabethan plays (such as Othello and Volpone), dramas were usually performed in a theater derived from the plan of an inn that enclosed a sizable courtyard with a large stage. Spectators gathered in an open area around the stage. Little use of scenery was observable in the theaters, but stage effects and costumes were often quite elaborate. Actors were all men, and the roles for women were played by adolescent boys.
The modern period was the time when vast improvements in terms of theatrical staging and technology were seen. Use of full curtain and artificial illumination has made the theater look filled with powerful kinds of illusions. The stage can accommodate a variety of effects.

3. The five main trajectories in which theorizing drama tend to move go to various directions. Some are aimed at observing actual practices, some at prescribing desirable or even ideal forms and subjects, some at the question of origins, some at harnessing drama to social or religious programs, and some at emancipating from them.

The three parts of the so-called tripartite scheme are exposition, complication, and resolution. An exposition contains the essential information and will eventually to a complication. The complication is a string of events that gradually rises to a turning point. From that, the resolution begins. The complicated string of events will now slowly be unraveled until the story reaches the end.

The terms “crisis” and “climax” often spark a debate because the “turning point” is quite a vague concept. Are they different? Are they synonymous? Crisis is defined as a difficult or dangerous situation that needs serious attention. Climax is defined as the most exciting and important part of a story, play, or movie that usually occurs at or near the end. So they are most likely not synonymous since they have different definitions. They are, although, interconnected and both are needed in drama. A crisis is the complication in the plot. It is where forces diverge and oppose and there could be more than one crisis in a story. Throughout the story, the crisis will be shown until it reaches the peak where it becomes too much and something ground breaking must occur, and that is the climax. The climax is the summation of all the actions done regarding the crisis.

4. According to Aristotle, a perfect tragedy should imitate actions which excite pity and fear. It should follow that the change of fortune presented must not be a spectacle of a virtuous man brought from prosperity to adversity nor a bad man passing from adversity to prosperity. It possesses no single tragic quality. It does not satisfy moral sense nor calls forth pity and fear. Nor does it exhibit the downfall of the utter villain.

The tragic hero must be “a man who is not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortunes is brought about not by vice or depravity, but by some error or frailty” because these types of people are evoke tragic at its finest. They have the capabilities to live well and prosper, but they brought the tragedy amongst themselves, It may be because of pride, ego, and other personal qualities that have affected their decisions and brought the negative events to come. Plus, their quality of being “not eminently good and just” holds a promise of what they could have been and what they could become. A hero who is good or bad at the beginning of the story will only have predictable outcomes. A hero who is not eminently good and just is complex. There are various facets to him. His decisions become more interesting to watch unfold. He may not be against killing, yet he may be loving and loyal to his family. He may want to claim power by treason, but he may have a good reason for it. You cannot label him as good and just nor bad and unjust. He simply is his own person. He creates his own mistakes through his decisions and not some outside force. That makes a very interesting tragedy and that is why a tragic hero must be like that.

Critical theory is useful in the elucidation of drama since it highlights features one by one in particular plays. Its relevance vary upon experience. Theory is secondary necessity in drama. Drama cannot be contained to theory. It takes a distinct shape of its own, even if it seems to have a recurrent form, which makes it all the more interesting to study but harder to theorize.

What is Philippine Drama
(by Nicanor G. Tiongson)

1. Whether a theater is “legitimate” or “crude”, drama is drama because of the principal elements of mimesis—an actor imitating actions of real life. According to Aristotle, this is the sine qua non of drama. Evaluating the Philippine-ness of a play is not black-and-white—either completely Philippine, or not Philippine at all. The Philippine-ness of a play should fulfill at least one of the following criteria: 1. that it reflects the Filipinos’ culture, 2. that it answers the need of the Filipinos at a given time, and 3. that it works for the good of the many. The third criterion is what makes a play truly and intensely Filipino. If a play works for the greater many—which are peasants and workers make up more than 80 percent of the Philippine population—and if it leads to the liberation of the masses, then it is, truly, a Filipino play. 2. Rituals, dances, and customs of Early Filipino tribes are the indigenous dramatic forms of the Philippines. These happen on various occasions of a person’s life; birth, courtship, marriage, death, etc. because all these imitate actions from real life. They reflect the culture of the Philippine tribes because it is about what happens in their tribe and how they live—hunting, fighting, courting, dressing, etc. And because all these rituals, dances, and customs reflect tribal life, it is what they have in common. They work for the welfare of the many and fulfill the basic needs of the tribes. 3. During the Spanish Colonial Regime, secular dramas such as the komedya, playlets—like the Panunuluyan, Pastores, Tatlong Hari, Osana, Via Crucis, Siete Palabras, Salubong, and Moriones—and religious plays and dramas like the Tibag, and the Sinakulo. The most salient characteristics of these secular and religious colonial dramatic forms are: they should highlight important Catholic liturgical feasts and seasons, and that they should attest to the importance of Catholicism. Almost all these dramatic forms center on the life of Christ or Catholicism/Christianity.
The komedya made the Indios look up to the Spaniards as the more beautiful specimen of humanity, as the species favored by the gods, and as the superior race. It made them idolize, imitate, obey and respect the Spaniards. The enemies of the Spaniards were their enemies too, keeping the division between the Christian and Muslim tribes intact. Meanwhile, the Sinakulo made Christ the model of a good colonial, accepting all the sufferings dealt by his oppressors. Thus, the Indios should also accept all the oppression caused by the Spaniards in hope to ascend into heaven.

4. Two of the most popular dramatic forms during the first few decades of the Early American Occupation were the dramas and the sarsuwelas. A typical sarsuwela often focuses on love stories between members of the upper class, usually spiced up with a comedic episode coming from love stories between the servants. It also incorporates subtexts and satirical attacks on usurers, Americanized Filipinos, corrupt politicians and lazy husbands who waste their time on vices; these help add relevance to the plot and performance of the drama because shows the real life experience of people during that time.
Revolutionary Dramas were labeled “seditious” by the Americans because of its rebellious nature against the government. This type of play was used to expose and attack the resistance of Filipinos towards the American Colonizers. The purpose of the play was usually presented through an elaborate system of symbols and allegories in order to mask its anti-American messages. Romantic drama, on the other hand, is a complete opposite of the former. Rather than anti-American subtexts imbedded within the play, it plays “safe” by making use of life struggles and love stories to entertain its audience. Despite their differences, revolutionary dramas and romantic dramas are both essential because it represent an important aspect of Filipino life, culture and issues. 5. Two of the most important dramatic forms that the Americans brought to the Philippines are the bodabil or stage show and the legitimate plays. The reason why it was claimed as a “potpourri of sorts” is because it does not entirely present a story but rather a simple imitation of what was “in” and popular in America during that time. Therefore, Filipinos simply imitate stories, artists, songs or dance that are American originals.
As for the legitimate plays, its effects were rather lasting and compelling. Due to the widespread of this type of drama, Filipinos try their hardest to imitate the accent and voice of American artists without realizing that they are veering further away from their own culture. Also, the introduction of this play also led to the successful colonization of the Philippines since the culture and traditions of the Filipinos were immensely altered because of this type of drama. Just like today, theater companies such as Repertory Philippines and Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) adapt western plays in order to educate the taste of the masses rather than promoting our very own.

6. Because of promise of prestige and the need for plays of semi-professional groups, playwriting contests helped encourage the Contemporary modern Filipino play, thereby affecting dramatic productions. It paved way to the birth of the modern Filipino play as a distinct reality. These playwriting contests influenced various theatre groups and companies in creating a whole aspect in terms of production in the modern era.
There have been several revivals of indigenous theatrical forms, these include the “modern senakulos” performed by the Babaylan theater group which specialized in the study and revival of old traditional forms. More have been successfully revived by many contemporary writers and playwrights: Sarsuwela by Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio who have made several notable plays, American Bodabil by Manuel Pambid which was reinterpreted in Canuplin, and Panunuluyan by Rody Vera, Al Santos and Alan Glinoga and the “seditious” dramas by nationalist playwright Aurelio Tolentino which were revived and reinterpreted to highlight the suppression of urban workers as well as the continuing dominance of the American Imperialism during the contemporary period.
During this time, several playwrights have made a lot of significant contribution to this form of drama; along with the ones stated above we have Wilifrido Ma. Guerrero and Nick Joaquin for their outstanding psychological studies of characters, Bienvenido Noriega Jrs’s psychological realism and Bertolt Brecht’s expressionistic plays which greatly influenced folklore plays.

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...Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking LỜI NÓI ĐẦU Chào các bạn, xuất phát từ nhu cầu bản thân muốn học môn speaking cho bài thi tiếng anh IELTS, chúng tôi nhận thấy cuốn sách này có giá trị rất tốt cho việc tham khảo. Tuy nhiên, các bản sách điện tử đang tràn lan trên mạng Internet hiện nay có chất lượng rất thấp, kèm theo đó là việc có thêm tiếng Trung dẫn tới lãng phí về giấy in, tiền bạc, thời gian. Hiện nay, cuốn này này đã được một nhà xuất bản tại Việt Nam mua lại bản quyền từ tác giả Mat Clark, và đã xuất bản tại Việt Nam, chúng tôi khuyên các bạn nên mua cuốn sách này để sử dụng, nhằm tôn trọng giá trị của cuốn sách này, cũng như tôn trọng tác quyền của tác giả cũng như nhà xuất bản. Chúng tôi gõ lại cuốn sách này nhằm mục đích duy nhất là để học tập, nghiên cứu, không hề mang bất cứ mục đích kinh doanh nào. Mọi hành động thương mại liên quan tới bản gõ lại này là không hề liên quan tới chúng tôi. Mong các bạn tôn trọng tác giả và tôn trọng ý muốn của chúng tôi. Trong quá trình gõ và biên tập, do trình độ không chuyên, không thể tránh khỏi có sai sót. Xin cảm ơn, chúc các bạn học tốt. 1 Mat Clark – IELTS Speaking IELTS SPEAKING – MAT CLARK Preface During my 5 years as an IELTS examiner in China, I have seen thousands of Chinese IELTS candidates perform OK in the speaking interview. Most people would agree that an OK score in speaking is 5 or 6. Many students now realize that a score of 5 or 6 for speaking is not enough for their study......

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