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Jacob Badding

Paul Mockovak

Musical Theatre Styles I

March 24, 2017

Technique VS. Style

As performers we train for years to perfect and hone our talents. But

obviously talent alone is not enough so we must train to acquire a solid technique, a

way or process of performing. One could say there is style, how it is done, and there

is the technique to perform the style. Thats what I understand the difference of

these two terms to be.

The four basic styles of theatre are as such comedy, tragedy, melodrama and

drama. The style is how the types of theatre are defined. More of what we are

working with today as actors is realism. Its the idea that the play or theatrical work

is as real as this reality. The costumes are authentic to the time period, the

characters believable, and the settings are based in reality. More people tend to

identify with realism because it is just like every day. However this realism trend is

very new to our world of theatre and although effective to audiences, I think that it

doesnt challenge people in the way that some other style such as Brechtian or Epic

theatre would. Another style of theatre is Naturalism. This is the heightened and

extreme realism in the theatre that likes to place its focus on subject matter that is

typically not explored on the stage. With movement that is theatrical, characters

subjected to their own circumstances and done in real time with the plot moving in
time with real time. These are styles of theatre and subsequently one could say that

the style informs the technique. What I mean by this is that one could use particular

techniques that not only work for them, but also work for the style.

Style and technique can overlap, intertwine and support each other. The first

thing that comes to mind is the style of Shakespeare. You could say that one uses a

classical acting technique to perform Shakespeare, but I think that the style of

Shakespeare should be performed in a specific way in ode to the writing. When you

break down Shakespeare you can see they style that he wants. Iambic pentameter

informs the style. Style is broad, and there are many various techniques that can

help execute the style in a direct way. For example modern dance is a style of dance,

but there are many techniques that derive from the style of modern dance. The style

of modern dance generally looks like modern but the technique adds specific

nuances that inform the audience of how the performer is articulating the style. To

elaborate the technique is the practiced application of process that applies to

accomplishing the task of style. Without the style to apply technique to the

technique is just that, but when you add it to the style it is performed in the most

efficient way for each individual person. We practice technique in the studio,

whether it be breaking down how to turn the correct way, or going through an

acting technique process. Style is already intrinsically there, however we can learn

the style by studying it. Specifically in Pirates of Penzance the style is specific to

Gilbert and Sullivan.

Pirates of Penzance is a fast paced comedy that parodies itself. The

characters are over the top melodramatic but fully immersed in their own world.
Tom has said over and over again to not comment on the style. This is imperative in

Pirates of Penzance because if you comment on the style the joke is lost.

Commenting on the style in this instance would be for example switching out a

sword for a rubber chicken, and brining attention to it by noticing it. The funny

aspect of this style is that the characters are given certain bits that only the audience

is supposed to notice; the characters all think its normal. The technique used in

Pirates is that of melodramatic over the top acting and sung with a classical

technique (open throat, soft palate lifted unless for comedic effect, and turned over

lofty sound).

Style and technique go hand in hand. There is no conflict between the two, it

is just the practical method (technique) of performing the how it is portrayed or

done. Style can exist without technique and vice versa, but the real magic in theatre

happens when they are co-existing.