The use of acting exercises in the actor scoring process: Directing David Mamet's Oleanna
Wilson, Teresa Lynn
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With each new play selection a director must decide on what approach to the script he or she will make. Every play has different requirements. A Neil Simon comedy does not require the same background research as a Shakespearean classic. A play by Samuel Beckett requires different rehearsal techniques than a play by Arthur Miller. Whatever the style, it is the text itself that guides the director to the important decisions of approach and methodology. The text becomes a living entity that sets the director on the course that he or she needs to take. In writing a living text, no playwright is more effective than David Mamet. He is a master of the manipulation of the English language. Every detail of a Mamet script contains clues for the actors and director. The placement of pauses and overlapping dialogue hints at characterization concepts. The use of punctuation and capitalization gives clues to intended line readings. Mamet uses the language itself not only to tell the story, but also to guide the actors and director and, ultimately, the audience to his message. Although each play has its own point to make, the analysis of any Mamet script can lead the director to the path that the playwright has taken, and that path will determine the approach to rehearsal and performance.