Hosted by the University of Iowa, October 12-13, 2001
Theater, Not Theatre (by Frank Swoboda [Iowa]) 1. “The plot, then, is the first principle, the soul of the tragedy; character holds the second place. Third in order is thought, and fourth among the elements of tragedy enumerated comes diction and language, the expression of the meaning in words.” This work, the ultimate definition of what makes for good theater has influenced drama well after its 335 BC writing, despite the fact that its author was not a playwright and its title refers to another form of literature. FTP name this Aristotelian work. Poetics (accept “elements of drama” or “elements of tragedy” on an early buzz; prompt on Aristotle) 2. Based on the works of Theophrastus, it was first performed around 1550 near Tuscany. Brighella, who sometimes goes by the name Scapino, schemes to take advantage of his employer, Pantalone, who goes to Dottore for advice. Other characters enter into the satirical performance, often to perform acrobatics or raunchy jokes, but without the masks of the main characters, they grew less important as this Renaissance form spread throughout Europe. FTP name this style of performance, which later became Punch and Judy shows and is most famous for the mischievous masked character, Harlequin. Commedia dell’Arte 3. A world-weary mime at the age of 21, she decided to spend three months in Indonesia. Her vacation ended up lasting four years, during which she wrote Way of Snow. Her later works drew on her experiences in Asia, as well as her “memories of air and grass” from her Martha’s Vineyard childhood. 1997’s A Carnival Mass lost out at the Tonys to Titanic: The Musical, but she triumphed the following year with her biggest success yet. FTP name this puppeteer, writer, performer, and director, the creator of the film Titus and the blockbuster musical The Lion King. Julie Taymor 4. In the playwright’s attempt to depict a century of African-American life, this represents the 1950s - characters, on the brink of the civil-rights movement, are aware of inequality but not sure how, or whether, to fight it. Rose seeks solace in religion. Gabriel fought in World War II but ended up brain-damaged. Cory seeks to make a way for himself in the white world by playing college football, but his father, Troy, forbids him, restricting his family to his own domain, which extends no further than his own Pittsburgh backyard. FTP name this August Wilson play, winner of the 1987 Pulitzer. Fences 5. A bare stage with few props. Disconnected episodes, presented as a random montage without any larger structure. Films projected on a screen above the stage; large posters that tell the audience how the play ends before the first scene has begun. No attempt to hide lights or ropes from the audience. An anti-Stanislavsky acting style that seeks to separate performer and character. The end result: theater without any bourgeois illusions and an audience alienated from the performance, forced to think critically instead of feel mindlessly. FTP name this theory of drama and performance, devised by Bertolt Brecht. Epic theater (someone may buzz in early with the name of a Brecht work, which is acceptable so long as they know that Brecht wrote it) 6. The name is the same. The first doesn’t actually appear in Shakespeare’s The Two Noble Kinsmen, but he is important in getting events going. He also plays a role, albeit a small one, in Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus. The second appears in the first scene of Euripedes’ Medea, but here he is the king of Corinth, whereas the first was a Theban nobleman in two of Sophocles’ best-known works. FTP identify this character, a supporting role as Jocasta’s brother in Oedipus Rex but the protagonist of Antigone. Creon 7. Characters include Ceprano, a bass, and his wife, a mezzo; the governess Giovanna, a mezzo; Maddalena the hooker, an alto; and Monterone, a baritone. When it opened in 1851, audiences in Venice were wild about the music - the father-daughter duet Ah veglia, o donna, Gilda’s lovestruck Caro nome, and of course the Duke’s La donna e mobile - as well as the melodramatic storyline borrowed from Hugo’s Le roi s’amuse. FTP name this opera, Verdi’s most famous, the story of a hunchbacked court jester. Rigoletto
8. Writing in the Restoration mode, she produced 15 plays after spying in Antwerp and a stint in debtors’ prison. Perhaps a result of her unusual political escapades, many of her works explore the relationship between sex and power; many at the time accused of her dealing in smut. Nonetheless, Virginia Woolf held her up as a possible “Shakespeare’s sister” and modern readings of plays like The Forced Marriage or The City Heiress focus on gender and class issues in 17th-century England. FTP name this female playwright, England’s first, best-known for 1677’s The Rover and the 1688 novel Oronooko. Aphra Behn 9. Distinguished characters like Pope Leo X and Emperor Charles V appear onstage, as does a man’s torso, impaled on a dangling blade, and a lot of time is spent talking about the main character’s constipation, sexual frustration, and Oedipal issues. The play opens in an Augustinian cloister in 1506 and also ends there, 14 years later, by way of Rome, Augsburg, Worms, and Wittenberg. As the title character, Albert Finney damned the man, not with Erin Brockovich, but with 95 theses, in, FTP, this 1961 John Osborne drama, revived last month at the National Theater. Luther 10. “The Breakfast Cup,” “The Unbroken Line,” and “The Magic If” are introduced in this work, presented as a diary of a rehearsal process. The focus is twofold: on the exercises and on the resulting breakthroughs the actor reaches as he draws on what is termed “emotional memory” to develop personal affinity with his character. The exercises themselves, first developed at Moscow Art Theater, are universal, used to draw any character’s “inner life” out from the situations in any play. FTP identify this work by Konstantin Stanislavskii, the foundational text of Method acting. An Actor Prepares 11. In a 2001 issue of Harper’s magazine, an essay of his analyzed the 2000 election in terms of a national dramatic performance, tracing American political history back as theater. Seeing American society through the lens of drama is not new for him; in a 1949 essay, “Tragedy and the Common Man,” he asserted that playwrights should redefine the model of Greek tragedy when creating heroes, making them middle-class instead of upper. That same year, he produced a work in which an American Everyman undergoes a hero’s fall. FTP name this playwright, most famous for Death of a Salesman. Arthur Miller 12. Its first scene takes place atop the royal palace, where a guard fights to stay awake. Its final scene takes place in Athens, where Athena, having just preceded over a trial, enjoins the Furies to transform themselves into forces of grace - symbolizing the power of democracy and justice over vengeance and retribution. In the middle of it all, a man kills his cousin, a wife betrays a husband, a daughter mourns her dead father, and a son kills his mother and her lover. If only they’d listened to Cassandra. FTP name this Aeschylus trilogy, comprising “Agamemnon,” “The Libation Bearers,” and “The Eumenides.” The Oresteia (accept Agamemnon until “Athens”) 13. Some see him symbolizing romantic idealizations of marriage, family, and morality; although his wife constantly indulges in unseemly behavior, even to the point of almost ruining him, he always forgives her.“I’ll guide you and teach you,” he says in act 3; “I wouldn’t be a man if this feminine helplessness didn’t make you twice as attractive to me.” But his wife rejects him and his sentiments after this speech, at the same time that Ibsen rejects the romantic view of female propriety. FTP name this character, the epitome of bourgeois injustice against women and the husband on whom Nora slams the dollhouse door. Torvald or Helmer 14. His father was a composer, and he studied music for three years, giving him the ability to work more closely with composers and conductors. Stravinsky said his work on Balustrade was “the most satisfactory visualization of any of my works.” He was also praised for his blend of classical ballet - which he studied beginning at age nine in St. Petersburg - with the modern styles he encountered in Western Europe and America. But it was for his work on The Nutcracker that he is most famed. FTP name this Russian émigré, founder of New York City Ballet. George Balanchine 15. Rue McClanahan, Swoosie Kurtz, Ruthie Henshall, Katharine Helmond, Ricki Lake, Julie Kavner, Ana Gasteyer, Gina Gershon and Alanis Morissette have all appeared at the Westside Theater to ask the all-important questions, “What does it smell like? What about hair? If your vagina got dressed, what would it wear? If your vagina could talk, what would it say?” FTP name this Eve Ensler work, the winner of the 1997 Obie. The Vagina Monologues 16. In November 2000, Robert Wilson and Tom Waits produced a version of this opera, orchestrated for instruments including banjo, guitarophone, and toy piano in order to achieve what Waits calls “music of the subconscious.” Its original version, a Georg Buchner play based on a soldier’s murder of his lover in 1821, was published in 1879
but not performed until 1913; 12 years later, its most famous incarnation was produced. FTP name this work adapted by Alban Berg into the world’s most famous atonal opera. Wozzeck 17. The author of this play intended to satirize the “new education” represented by the Thinkery; the moral being that if Athens would follows the route of endless metaphysical discourse, neglecting its needs for martial advancement, it would end up like the two characters “Philosophy” and “Sophistry” - two garish roosters in gold cages, engaged in ongoing, pithy abusive, remarks. Or else, Aristophanes implies, it would lose all touch with the real, material needs of the world. Thus, at the end of the play, Strepsiades sets fire to the Thinkery. FTP identify this comedy, most famous today for its depiction of Socrates as living in a basket hanging magically in the air. The Clouds 18. She may be the most famous graduate of the College Formerly Known As Beaver, which she attended before moving on to writing. In the early 1980s she began her “On the Road” project of interviews with a cross-section of society on what it means to be American. The interviews are then developed into mini-monologues, which she performs herself, and woven together into thematic performances. Outside Looking In explores race in San Francisco; Gender Bending studies gender and politics at Princeton. FTP name this contemporary American performer, best-known for Twilight, devised in the wake of the 1992 Rodney King riots. Anna Deavere Smith 19. Even though he is the best pitcher his town has ever seen, he only aspires to take over his Uncle Luke’s farm after he leaves school. Nonetheless, Emily tells him, he’s become “awfully conceited and stuck-up” since his baseball successes began. When he asks what that means, Emily begins to cry and he buys her a soda to cheer her up. This scene is presented as a flashback in Act II, “Love and Marriage;” the next time we see him onstage is Act III. FTP identify this character in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, the beau, husband, and widower of Emily Webb. George Gibbs 20. Her Broadway debut was in a 1938 showing of The Seagull; her career included 22 Broadway parts, including Desdemona opposite Paul Robeson’s Othello. She followed Jessica Tandy as Blanche duBois, winning acclaim for recreating the rold, and won a Tony in 1963 for creating a role in her own right - Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? However, she shied away from pursuing her acting career further, opting instead to teach; her pupils have included Jason Robards, Geraldine Page, and Matthew Broderick. FTP name this “grand dame of the American stage,” the originator of the “Respect for Acting” and “Nine Questions” exercises. Uta Hagen
21. Madame Pace - the only named character, but not one of the title group - speaks with a ludicrous Spanish accent, which the Producer decides to keep in the final production to add “a touch of comedy to a rather crude situation.” That situation is the heart of the unnamed play that momentarily supplants The Rules of the Game in rehearsal. Eventually, however, The Rules of the Game resumes the stage, the actors, crew, and Producer having all become fed up with the insistence of their visitors on attaining reality. FTP identify this metatheatrical play written in 1925 by Luigi Pirandello. Six Characters in Search of an Author Bonus Questions 1. FTSNOP give the term being defined from Greek theater. 5: For Aristotle, the whole damn point of tragedy was this emotional climax, when we feel pity for the hero and simultaneously fear that, there but for the grace of the gods go us. Catharsis 10: Literally meaning “downturn,” it marks the point in the play in which the hero has fallen most tragically and terribly; all the characters leave the stage and the chorus performs the final song and dance. Catastrophe (not peripeteia)
15: Tragedy is believed to derive from the Greek festivals where a man “wit-stricken by the thunderbolt of wine” led thousands of Athenian men in noisy dancing and singing of hymns. This performance later became a contest over who could be noisier and more poetic in their praise of Dionysus, and eventually evolved into the plays we know today. Dithyramb 2. FTPE, identify these practitioners of guerilla theater, aka “performance art.” 10: In “St. Valentine’s Massacre,” a scene from We Keep Our Victims Ready, she smeared herself with chocolate and bean sprouts, moaned “My life is nothing but shit,” covered her body with tinsel and candies, and lost her NEA funding for being indecent. Karen Finley 10: His autobiographical monologues in the 1970s and 80s - like Rumstick Road and India and After - led to the filmwork for which he is best known: Swimming to Cambodia and Monster in a Box. Spalding Gray 10: She once stood on large block of ice in New York City, playing until the ice melted. This was before her big break, 1982’s album Big Science and the eight-minute “O Superman,” which became a hit single in Britain. Laurie Anderson 3. 30-20-10, identify from songs the musical from the days of old. Or 1999. 30: Always True to You; Tom, Dick, or Harry
20: So In Love; We Open in Venice
10: Brush Up Your Shakespeare; Wunderbar Kiss Me, Kate 4. Given a setting, name the Tennessee Williams work set there FTSNOP. 5: A New Orleans duplex - A Streetcar Named Desire
15: A touristy hotel on the coast of Mexico - TheNight of the Iguana
10: Big Daddy’s estate - Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 5. FTSNOP, identify the theatrical genre given some plays typically categorized thusly. 5: Krapp’s Last Tape, The Bald Soprano Absurdism or theater of the absurd 10: The Castell of Perseverance, Everyman Morality plays 15: Hernani, Die Räuber (The Robbers) Romanticism 6. 30-20-10-5, identify the play from quotes. 30: "The man that hath no music in himself, / Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, / Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils."
20: “All that glisters is not gold.”
10: "The quality of mercy is not strain'd./ It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven/ Upon the place beneath./ It is twice blest:/ It blesseth him that gives and him that takes."
5: "I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions?" The Merchant of Venice
7. In this form of theater, one of the world’s oldest, performers don’t act the story but rather suggest the essence of the tale through their appearances and movements, usually capping the night off with a dance and some quiet music. Japanese audiences referred to the dramatic medium as “talent” or “skill.” FTP, we call it this. Noh In 1956, this author published Five Modern Noh Plays, part of an attempt to reconnect modern Japanese society with traditional Japanese culture. FFP, name this author, better known for Confessions of a Mask. Mishima Yukio For a final 15, this is the best-known of Mishima’s modern Noh dramas, in which a “real Prince Genji,” at his wife’s bedside in hospital, revisits his affair with Mrs. Rokujo. The devils conventional in Noh are recast as psychological demons which reappear from the past, eventually killing the title character. Lady Aoi 8. Before his first MFA class at NYU, he found a phone booth, called home, and came out to his parents. A few years later, he wrote a scene in which Mormon lawyer Joe Pitt comes out to his mother from a Manhattan phone booth. FFPE, name this playwright and his most famous work, an ambitious two-part epic dealing with AIDS, politics, religion, and American society. Tony Kushner, Angels in America Now, FTPE, give the names of each part of Angels in America, each of which won a Tony, in 1993 and 1994 respectively. Yes, they have to be in the right order. Millennium Approaches, Perestroika 9. The French have done beaucoup for theater. FTSNOP identify these French exports to the world of the stage. It is the best-known French-language opera, despite being set in Spain. F5P, identify this Bizet opus dealing with shifty cops, loose gypsy women, and swarthy toreadors. Carmen 10: His tragedies Andromaque and Phaedra are regarded by many as the pinnacles of French neoclassicism for their passion, psychological insight, tightly constructed plots, and masterful French poetry. Jean Racine 15: Because the stage is a bourgeois trap that represses humanity and makes us all sick and twisted, Antonin Artaud proposed this theory. It holds that theatrical works should use shocking effects and audience involvement in primitive rituals to liberate mankind. Theater of Cruelty 10. FTSNOP name the standard ballet position or movement being described. 5: The arms remain immobilized in front of the torso to provide momentum as the dancer sustains a spin, or series of spins, on one leg. Pirouette 10: Standing in profile, the dancer extends a leg back at a right angle to the other leg; arms should be stretched harmoniously to lengthen the line from the fingertips to the toes. Arabesque 15: Literally meaning “thrown step,” the dancer transfers weight from one leg to other while brushing the working leg into the air. Jeté pas 11. If contemporary theater is any indication, then postmodernism is right: there is nothing left to say. FTPE identify these modern dramatic pieces, updated versions of classic theatrical works. A) This 1931 Eugene O’Neill work, the tale of the Mannon family, sets Christine, Ezra, Lavinia, and Orin’s actions in a small American seaport village, which the author terms “the New England House of Atreus.” Mourning Becomes Electra B) Not only did David Henry Hwang scavenge a Puccini opera for the plot of this award-winning 1988 play, an exploration of gender and politics in the West’s relationship with Asia, he also set his work’s opening scenes in Beijing performance of that opera. M. Butterfly C) This 1978 work by East German playwright Heiner Müller opens with an actor in whore’s makeup announcing, “I was Hamlet.” In the fourth section, blood oozes from the refrigerator, and Marx, Lenin, and Mao appear as three naked women. The play ends underwater with a quadriplegic Ophelia being wrapped in gauze during the Ice Age. Hamletmachine 12. Given an opera, name its composer, FTP. If you need a better-known opera by the composer, you get 5 points. 10: Sadko
5: The Snow Maiden Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov 10: The Turk in Italy
5: William Tell Giaochino Rossini 10: Gloriana
5: Peter Grimes Benjamin Britten 13. While Chicago spent the summer reading To Kill a Mockingbird, the best of New York turned out in Central Park for a free and star-studded version of Chekhov’s The Seagull. Identify some of the cast members given stage work FTP, or FFP if you need movie roles. 10: As Arkadina, she played an over-the-top, middle-aged actress. Back in 1976, not yet middle-aged but already over-the-top, she won a Best Featured Actress Tony for 27 Wagons Full of Cotton.
5: Other over-the-top roles for this middle-aged queen of over-the-top-ness include Francesca Johnson, Karen Blixen, and Sophie Zawistowska. Meryl Streep 10: As Masha, she appeared in scenes with a nerdy schoolteacher played by Stephen Spinella. Back in 1993, she also appeared in scenes with Spinella - only he was in drag and she was hepped up on Valium in Angels in America, which got her a Best Featured Actress Tony.
5: Playing Lee Krasner in Pollock, she won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2001. Marcia Gay Harden 10: Best-known for his TV and film roles, he enjoys returning to the stage for supporting roles like Shamrayev, or Mitch in Streetcar Named Desire.
5: Gale Snopes, Delbert McClintock, Big Dan Teague, Walter Sobchak. I’m not saying anything else. John Goodman 14. Apparently, disfigured Frenchmen who haunt operatic soubrettes makes for good drama. Answer the following FTSNOP. F15P: The Phantom of the Opera was first and foremost a 1911 novel by this man.
Gaston Leroux FFP: The most famous incarnation of the story is, of course, a 1988 musical by this man. Andrew LloydWebber Arthur Kopit and Maury Yeston also have a version of the story, which was written before Lloyd Webber’s but debuted in 1991. For a final 10, name it. Phantom 15. 30-20-10, identify the play from characters. 30: Nepommuck, Clara
20: Mrs. Pearce, Alfred, Freddy Eynsford-Hill
10: Col. Pickering, Higgins, Eliza Pygmalion 16. A bonus about Kabuki. You’re either perversely pleased by this or rightfully aggravated. Answer the following FTPE: A) This is the leading actor in the Kabuki company. Tachiyaku B) This passionate highpoint of the performance, in which actors strike a pose (there’s nothing to it, really), is underscored by stage hands knocking woodblocks together. Mie C) Sometime in the 1700s, this bridge was added to the stage, extending to the rear of the auditorium. (Imagine a runway full of yowling drag queens.) Hanamichi 17. Not all musicals can be as successful as Cats or Rent or The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, even. FTPE, identify these awful shows that flopped mercifully early; A) This 1997 musical explored the relationship between twin sisters Daisy and Violet Hilton, celebrities in the 1930s, and garnered high critical praise in the process. Why’d it flop? They were Siamese twins, which apparently put some would-be theatergoers off. Side Show B) The promise of smart political satire attracted audiences; the oblique cultural references and barrage of gags - including Uncle Duke driving a bulldozer onstage to wreck the Walden College commune - turned them off from this Garry-Trudeau penned bomb. Doonesbury C) Although it played to great success in Moscow, its move to Broadway in 1986 ended after 5 performances. Apparently the story of a rag doll coming to life to help her owner, a little girl whose daddy is a drunk and whose mommy died and who needs a new heart, failed to catch on. Raggedy Ann 18. Given a Tony Award category, name the show that won that category in 2001, FFP. FTP, name the person the award was given to. Best Actor in a Musical: The Producers (Nathan Lane)
Best Score of a Musical: The Producers (Mel Brooks)
Best Actress in a Play: Proof (Mary-Louise Parker) 19. Identify the Irish playwrights on a 10-5 basis.
10: A Woman of No Importance, An Ideal Husband
5: The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde 10: Molly Sweeney, The Communication Card
5: Dancing at Lughnasa Brian Friel 10: Within the Gates, The Silver Tassie
5: Juno and the Paycock Sean O’Casey 20. 30-20-10, given characters, name the Marlowe play. 30: Alexander the Great; Raymond, king of Hungary; Dick