This project all started with an inspiration I received in answering a question posed to me by my post-graduate student. After discussing with him what constituted the major director’s functions, I came under this conviction that more people rather than these students only may benefit
from script understanding, analysis and interpretation. And to make this vision realizable, other colleagues majorly from Nigeria and Ghana, had to be brought in to present their intellectual stances. Any director worth his or her name, would readily admit that in a setting that is performance is based on a script, (because there are performances that are not based on a
script), reading and re-reading the script to attain full understanding is primarily and sanely the starting point if performance success is desired. Of course analysis is a product of clear understanding, while interpretation can only be achieved on the premise of the earlier duo, namely, understanding and analysis.
These “facilities” are fundamental to a director’s concepts and their ultimate transpositions via performance. Gillian Bartlett, writing on the stage director Colin Taylor, states, “But most important, he reads the script for the play many times. .. to get the full measure of what the author is trying to say“. Oscar Brockett and Robert Ball put it succinctly, “A full understanding of a play usually requires some form of analysis”. For understanding of the script to be attained, Brockett and Ball acknowledge that directors have to “read the play several times to become familiar with its overall qualities“. While “there is no standard way to analyze a script“, there is thus no debate over the indispensability of understanding, analyzing and interpreting a script that is routing towards the stage for performance.
Analysis may involve asking some crucial questions such as, what are the given circumstances? What are the major themes and their relations to the dramatic action(s)? What constitute the dominant con?icts and how are they resolved, if resolved? At other times, analysis could take the forms of generic exempli?cations. ls it a tragedy, and that, old or modern? If old, does it have tragic heroes/heroines, tragic circumstances, tragic irretrievability? Does the tragic hero accept responsibility for his actions? Or is it a heroic drama whose ending, though sad, yet upholds an optimistic world view? ls it a melodrama that camps characters on two opposing sides and at the end good is rewarded while evil is punished? ls it a farce with humorous possibilities and exaggerations but without intellectual pretensions? Or is it a satire because of the use of wit, irony and exaggeration fused as a weapon of attack or exposition of evil and
Yet at other times, analysis could take a total philosophical or ideological or theoretical bent. It could be premised on psychoanalytical thrusts, Marxist polemics, feminist persuasions, deconstructivist constructs or structuralist structures.
In this book, many styles of analyses will be seen as to what forms individual contributor’s fascinations. Please, keep at the back of mind that plays are primarily written to be performed. Long before such scripts tarried longer in the realms of literature for reading, they were meant for performance. It is in performance that a script’s essence is genuinely attained. It may read pleasurably alright, which is why it cannot be said that any script is “dead”. The apparent warmth and glow and provable pulsating energy in a script notwithstanding, it is the stage platform that a script relishes in its ultimate fulfilled status. And for that to be, script analysis and interpretation are quintessential. Even the art of blocking, another unavoidable activity in the process of a performance moulding, would be meaningless without concrete structures and anchorages of understanding, analysis and interpretation. If blocking is like block work for a building, analysis and interpretation are like architectural designs of the building.
This book also accommodates interesting chapters on interpreting a music score for performance. Like a theatre script for drama performance, “excellent music performance rests upon vital pillars which include understanding, analysis and a good interpretation of the music score”. Note values, notation, dynamics, time signature, phraseology, text, mood and structure, comprise some of the ingredients in music that necessarily come to reckoning in terms of analytical and interpretative penetrations toward performance success. Encoded emotions by composers of music need interpretation and translations by conductors, music directors and performers to real life performance. To attain this goal, “a synergy of corroborating knowledge sources (knowledge of musical theories, history, psychology, emotion theory, context of performance. . . ” is simply inevitable. Special lens is contextually used to frame xylophone music among others into close-up examination. Believe me, the entries are exciting.
Of note is the contribution “From Script to Screen…” in which discourses are held to accent the import of understanding, analysis and interpretation for success-attainment. “Most programmes on television go through the process of idea generation to post-production. Without adequate understanding, interpretation and analysis of scripts, it would be difficult if not impossible to achieve success and efficiency in the production of creative ideas on television”.
An interesting chapter even analyses script for stage lighting. Rather canonically put, “ln theatrical design in general and stage lighting in particular, script analysis is regarded as the bedrock on which the works of the different designers of the theatre lie”. Designers “must brood and ruminate” over the script as there is an established or “irrevocable relationship between the script and the designer’s work”. So proud I am that this book has turned out like this. Patience, though very trying, is good, as it has allowed for all contributors to ultimately make representations in this volume. Congratulations folks!
Professor Effiong Johnson
CHAPTER ONE: Directing: Script Understanding, Analysis and Interpretationby Effiong Johnson and Margaret Akpan.
CHAPTER TWO: Interpreting Encoded Emotions in Musical Scores for Performance: A synergy of Corroborating Knowledge Sources by Eric Otchere
CHAPTER THREE: Subverting Audiences’ Expectation: Stage Interpretation of Osofisan’s Dramaturgy in Aitine’s Wrath by Promise Nyatuame and Madinatu Bello.
CHAPTER FOUR: Understanding, Analysis and Interpretation of a Music Score for performance by Isaac Udoh
CHAPTER FIVE: Hinges as Unhinged: An Exploration of Structural Violence in Play Analysis Using Post-Modern Poetics by Etop Akwang
CHAPTER SIX: From Script to Screen: ASynthesis of Artistic and Technical Skills by Charles Obot.
CHAPTER SEVEN: Production Preparation: Script Analysis for the Production of Ola Rotimi‘s Our Husband Has Gone Mad Again by Ubong Nda.
CHAPTER EIGHT: Joe de Graft And his Sons and Daughters: A Play That defends the Creative Arts by John Djisenu
CHAPTER NINE: Through A Theory Clearly: Re-processing J.C. de Graft’s Through A Fiim Darkly by Effiong Johnson
CHAPTER TEN: ScriptAnaIysis of A One-Man Theatre: A Playwrights Challenge in Mbajiorgu’s The Prime Minister’s Son by Stephen Inegbe and Miriam Inegbe.
CHAPTER ELEVEN: Analysing Scripts for Stage Lighting: AnAppraisaI of Ef?ong Johnson’s Install the Princess by Udofot Jacob
CHAPTER TWELVE: Analysis and Interpretation of J.C. de Graft’s Through A Film Darkly and Sons and Daughters by Martin Owusu.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN: Script Understanding,Analysis and Interpretation or Performance: Correlation Between Notating and Performing the Dagaaba Gyile (Xylophone) Music by Mawuyram Adjahoe
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Directing Pathways: Script Understanding, Analysis, Interpretation and Working with Actors by Olympus Ejue
CHAPTER FIFTEEN: A Scene by Scene Analysis of ‘Zulu Sofola‘s Wedlock of The Gods for University of Cape Coast Theatre 2009: A Director‘s Concept by Xornam Owusu
CHAPTER SIXTEEN: Script Analysis And Creative Intervention In Playmaking: My Experience In Directing and Stagecraft by Ofonime Inyang
Prof Effiong Johnson
Questions and Answers
You are not logged in