Live Theatre Production: form

Live Theatre Production: form

Understanding ‘Form’

  • Understanding ‘form’ is crucial as this relates to the structure and style in which a live theatre production is presented.
  • Each form requires thoughtful consideration of design elements including set and costume, lighting, sound, and makeup.
  • The form should interact harmoniously with the content of the play. For example, the themes, character development, and plot progressions should all be influenced and supported by the chosen form.
  • Remember, understanding ‘form’ enhances your analytical skills when evaluating live theatre. You can comment on how the selected form has enhanced or detracted from the overall impact of the production on the audience.
  • Lastly, understanding ‘form’ can help you appreciate the richness and diversity of live theatre, recognising how different forms can offer different experiences for the audience.

Types of Form

  • Various forms exist, including plays, musicals, opera, pantomime, physical theatre, immersive theatre and devised theatre.
  • Different forms may also be mixed together to create hybrid productions. For example, a play might incorporate elements of physical theatre or a musical might include moments of tragic drama.
  • Audiences have different expectations depending on the form. Recognising and addressing these expectations is a key part of creating a successful production.

Characteristics of Different Forms

  • In a play, the form can be either comedy or tragedy, while in a musical it can blend drama, song and dance.
  • Operas rely heavily on musical narration, while pantomimes often blend music, comedy and dance with a strong emphasis on audience interaction.
  • Physical theatre is a form that incorporates movement and choreography to complement the narrative, whereas immersive theatre often disrupts the traditional spectator relationship and places audience members within the performance space.
  • Devised theatre is created collaboratively, often by the ensemble, and tends to be highly experimental.
  • Form affects the pace and rhythm of a production. For example, a farcical comedy will have a fast-paced, snappy rhythm, whilst a tragedy may have a slower, more sombre rhythm.

Role of the Creatives

  • Directors, performers, and designers work together to select a form that best communicates the themes and narratives of the production.
  • Detailed knowledge of different forms and their characteristics can inspire more creative and effective decisions in theatre-making, from scripting to performance, and from scenery to lighting.