First I want to use this post to clarify and ask a question about what we talked about on Thursday. We talked about plays having a beginning, middle, and end, and the definition of a "beginning" based on our discussion is something I still don't quite grasp.
I think we said nothing can come before the beginning, but a beginning has to lead up to something (the middle and end.) We gave an example of a play starting with someone breaking a leg on a train. Then someone said that to break their leg on the train, they would have to board the train. But somehow that was not a great example of a beginning, it was whoever said "the character's alarm clock ringing" was a better example. I don't understand because I think unless the character is a newborn baby, he will always have some part of their life that happens before the play starts. And why is an alarm ringing significant? This beginning sounds a little boring to me. Why couldn't the story have begun as the character was having a nightmare the night before his leg broke?
Is the idea that the most important part of the character's life should be the climax of the play, and the beginning should be what must lead up to this climax?
Now I'll change the subject--
While Aristotle has some great ideas, I find it odd that we listen to a scientist to help us define what makes art "good," then again, most things are both science and art, so in a way, where would we be without a scientific mind like his? I suppose if he hadn't classified it, someone else would.
I am on board with his admiration of tragedy, I know the best plays and movies I have seen feature many sad and serious events. I think it's therapeutic to see other people's trials and how they overcome or succumb to them. They make sense of our lives for us and make us feel less alone. Still, I'm not sure I want to write tragedy in this class, and I think other genres can be equally effective in moving an audience...
I don't exactly agree with how he ordered Plot, Characters, Diction, Thought, Spectacle, and Melody because sometimes a song moves me more than a spectacle. I've seen characters on a screen doing nothing more than talking, and with the background music added, the scene takes on new life--life that it would not have with some sort of spectacle. I think sometimes the song can be a spectacle as well, even though no examples of this are jumping out at me.
And to go back on what I've just written, I realized that one part of my notes says melody comes before spectacle, and another part says melody comes after spectacle, so maybe that last paragraph does not apply. (The internet is similarly confused about this order.)
In the middle of her Chekov post, I think Lily wrote exactly what I was trying to write about what good theater is to me--"In our privacy, in our music, in movie theatres, in dance halls, and, yes, of course, in theatres, we lose ourselves, find ourselves, and go to the most amazing places." So thank you, Lily!