Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dramatic Structure

I'm visiting my mom and she has crappy internet, so this is more of a seed post for me to hopefully come back and grown more answers later.

All those screenwriting books and blogs, and movies, and even western novels, can easily trace their roots back to Aristotle's Poetica and his 3 act structure. What I have been curious about is what is the inherent, unquestioned, dna foundation of stories in other non western cultures that don't directly trace back to Aristotle.(granted ancient greece was at the center of a huge empire and the hub of a huge trading center so it's influence was wide spread.) Specifically I am curious how that manifests itself in modern cinema from other places. (Kurasawa for example, he's obviously aware of Western story conventions but he grew up with a different cultural history.) In other words the 3 act structure is so ingrained in the telling of stories that I'm used to that it's like water to a fish, so I am curious what other flavors of water there are.

So it occurred to me to start at Aristotle and see if I could link out from there to the field of study. That got me to dramatic theory which got me to Natya Shastra which is a very interesting start. (attributed to Sage Bharata) The Nātyashāstra delineates a detailed theory of drama comparable to the Poetics of Aristotle. Bharata refers to bhavas, the imitations of emotions that the actors perform, and the rasas (emotional responses) that they inspire in the audience. He argues that there are eight principal rasas: love, pity, anger, disgust, heroism, awe, terror and comedy, and that plays should mix different rasas but be dominated by one.

Each rasa experienced by the audience is associated with a specific bhava portrayed on stage. For example, in order for the audience to experience srngara (the 'erotic' rasa), the playwright, actors and musician work together to portray the bhava called rati (love).

so definitely have some leaning to do (once I'm on a better connection.)

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