Imagine and describe 2 original theatre productions – one for a nontheatre building, and one for an outdoor setting. Do not chose plays from the standard repertoire (a Shakespeare play; DEATH OF A SALESMAN, for example), but invent your own.
When considering a nontheatre building site, use the “unusual structures as they are, with their original architectural elements intact”. In other words, don’t gut the inside of a barn and make it into a traditional space. Use the barn as is, use a restaurant as is, use an abandoned factory as is– altho you will need to create acting areas and audience viewing areas within the space.
For an outdoor location, you can choose from “neighborhood theatre”, “guerilla theatre”, or any other area or style you’d like to explore. Make sure the audience is close enough to hear the characters. What won’t work, for example, is an audience on a cliff top, and the characters in the ocean on surf boards.
Describe what your play is about, and how it takes place in your chosen space. Include the location of the acting areas and audience areas. Your audience can be whatever size fits your ideas and locations- from a handful of people, to a large group. Your play can move from one location to another as long as the audience can follow along.
Be specific and descriptive in your responses.
XAMPLE OF AN ORIGINAL PLAY IN A NONTHEATRE BUILDING:
A zany musical about shopping, dysfunctional work environments, and relationships. The location is a busy shoe department in a large department store. The small audience sits scattered around inside the shoe department, and along the wide aisle that borders it. The characters are employees and customers. The action of the play is the interweaving of several comic scenarios and characters. There are scenes of dialogue– some written, some improvised– and musical numbers in which the characters sing and dance in solos, duets and group numbers. The characters include:
Two employees are a couple that are breaking up. One wants the break-up, one doesn’t.
Two customers meet and fall in love, except that both have their partners with them.
An annoying boss that hounds his employees and sneaks snorts of cocaine when he thinks no one is looking. He wants to get together with the employee who doesn’t want the break-up.
A confused employee that can never get anything right. She brings the wrong styles, sizes, colors.
A customer that is never satisfied and insists on seeing everything in many sizes.
A shoplifter who keeps trying to steal but can’t seem to do it.
An employee who treats an audience member like a customer and keeps bringing them shoes to try on.
At the climax of the piece, there’s a giant shoe fight that ends with everyone sorry about what they did. The ending is a group musical number about love, peace, happiness and the importance of finding shoes that fit.
EXAMPLE OF AN ORIGINAL PLAY IN AN OUTDOOR SETTING:
A serious play about homeless people, set alongside the San Lorenzo River by the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. The 10 actors play 6 homeless people and 4 police officers. The play takes place around a campfire. The small audience sits in beach chairs and the characters sit with and walk around them. The characters interact with each other, but only rarely with audience members. The characters might ask someone in the audience for a cigarette, or to throw a log on the fire – that sort of thing.
The action of the play starts with the homeless people telling how they became homeless and of the difficulties they face. The main conflict in the play happens when the police come and ask them to leave the riverside. Conflict builds between the police and the homeless people, until one of the police officers recognizes his long-lost brother among the homeless. In a crisis of regret and love, the police officer decides to stay with his brother, and convinces his fellow officers that he’s got it covered. The police stay on the periphery of the circle, watching and occasionally interjecting their thoughts and opinions, as do the other homeless people. The brothers struggle with the wounds of their past, and come to a resolution of hope and healing. The police officer invites the homeless people to his house for the night. Some decide to go, some don’t. They all drift off into the night, leaving the audience alone around the campfire, with a bag of marshmallows to roast.