Tristan & Yseult by Kneehigh Theatre Company
· Practical and discussion work on Theatre to entertain or Theatre to educate. Link to Brecht and Stanislavski Theatre models. Designing staging for Stanislavski and Brecht.
Task1: Social, Cultural & Historical Context of the play, Interpretation& Practitioner.
Director Emma Rice’s introduction to the play projected up. Students working in two groups to create a short scene using movement and sound but no words, interpreting Rice’s memory of her teenage loves.
Discussing the pieces and the themes.
HWK: Students to write up the session.
· Reading the play.
HWK: Researching the story of Tristan and Isolde – tracking the development of the story through time.
· Working as a whole group on section one of the story (see attached). Bringing it to life using sound, movement, image and creating between 2 – 6 lines of original dialogue for the performance.
· Students given one section of the story to plan. They write the 2-6 lines of original dialogue and direct the rest of the group to realise their interpretation of their section of the story.
· Working through the sections and finding a way of making them flow as one performance.
· Discussion about the process: Interpretation / Adaptations.
Linking this to the Kneehigh process – reference to Emma Rice’s introduction.
Discussion about the various contexts of the play.
HWK: Students to draft their Context notes.
Task 2: Language, Voice, Characterisation & Practitioner.
· Brainstorming the types of language used- Referring to the play’s introduction where Emma Rice writes about how she asked the two playwright’s to take up particular styles for particular characters.
· Exploring the language of the court by working on King Mark’s introductory speech. Students working in groups of three to annotate the speech, drawing out the qualities of the language: heroic; nationalistic; formal; archaic; colloquial and harsh.
Students experimenting with the speech to bring out these different aspects. Using voice and movement to communicate the character clearly to the audience.
HWK: Writing up notes on King Mark’s character and language.
· Exploring the poetic language of the heart-broken by looking at Brangian’s speech in Scene 10. Exploring the excitement and fear communicated in the language through the sounds used and the questions asked. Students working in groups of three to annotate the speech and realise it to communicate the character clearly.
HWK: Writing up notes on Brangian’s character and language and how she contrasts with King Mark.
· Exploring the use of foreign language used by Tristan and Yseult – what does this communicate to the audience?
Rehearsing Scene 5 – exploring the impact of using the foreign speech.
HWK: Students to write speech for either Tristan or Yseult in this scene which is English but complements the style language they use throughout the play.
· Exploring the use of this new language – what does it tell us about the character’s / what is the impact of removing the foreign language?
HWK: Notes on Tristan & Yseult’s characters and language.
Task 3: Characterisation, Voice, Interpretation, Language, Non-Verbal Communication, Visual, Aural & Spatial Elements & Practitioner.
Brainstorming the purpose and status of the Chorus – link to Kneehigh’s use of Chorus in other plays.
Exploring how we can physically show their lack of self worth on stage.
Splitting into two group, each group given either the opening of Act one or Act two to choreograph the movement.
Discussion about their movement and language.
HWK: Students to decide how they would direct the Chorus in Scene 13.
· Exploring Scene 13 as a group. Looking at how the Chorus intervene in the main action of the play. – Playing the prelude to Wagner’s Opera as the Love Spotters move into position – analysing the effect for the audience.
HWK: Notes on Non-Verbal Communication, Voice, Character & Language added to.
Task 4: Visual, Aural & Spatial elements, Interpretation & Practitioner.
· Creating a timeline of locations of the scenes and drawing out the difficulties.
· Practically exploring the stage directions in Scene 4: “Tristan build his boat and sails away…Tristan lands in Ireland” and Scene 6: “The boat is built around them – the red sail is hoisted.”
1. Research into the production Costume, Set, Staging, Music, Sound.
2. Designing their Set, Costume and Sound for the final scene. Deciding how they would direct the actors in this final scene to realise their interpretation of the play and in particular of Whitehand’s character.
Work-shopping the various interpretations.
Creating their own Stage, Set, Costume, Lighting & Sound for 3 key scenes.
Researching Kneehigh Theatre and making notes on their unique style.
Task 5: Practitoner & Interpretation.
Discussion about the Kneehigh style of theatre.
Overview of all notes done in draft.