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The Process of Putting on a Show

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The Process of Putting on a Show

Tommy Coleman

Intro to Theater Process

Kimmika Williams-Whitherspoon

Greek Comedy and

The Process of Putting on a Show

In The Poetics, comedy is defined as “a representation of an action that is laughable, lacking in magnitude, complete, [in embellished speech,] with each of its parts used separately in the various elements of the play; represented by people acting and not by narration.” (Aristotle, pg. 43) Therefore a play that does not adhere to this definition is not considered funny, nor does it produce laughter, which is highly essential to the genre.


When Kimmika told me that I was going to be doing a Satyr piece, I was devastated. I was so confident that I would be doing a musical piece in some shape or form. I would’ve even enjoyed opera, but not Satyr (of all genres) to do a project on. I was intimidated by the genre for my lack of knowledge about it. I was also fearful that my production would not add up to the caliber of the one I saw last spring semester, which followed all the rules, it seemed, of what a Greek comedy was supposed to be. With such anxiety eating at my psyche, it was difficult to move forward confidently with this project. On top of that, I was in the middle of rehearsals for Jitney, so I was not sure that I would pull my weight for the project. What is funny is that for the most part, my fear should’ve been the same fear as my partners who did not do as much as I did for this project at all.

Firstly, as far as meeting with my group members was concerned, that idea was cute in the beginning. Abbey, Phuong and I met during classes and discussed ideas for a possible Greek play. Then we suggested ways to come up with concepts and bring them back to each other. However not too long into the duration of the project, communication became non-existent. The only time I talked to my group members was during class time in Theater 011. Outside of class, there were no meetings. There was an attempt at one, but we got our times scheduled wrong.

For me, it was impossible to meet during the evenings due to rehearsal for “Jitney” by August Wilson, performances of “Jitney”, and then rehearsals for a fashion show that I was a part of. But because there was no communication between any of my group members by e-mail or phone, it was quite a shocker when I realized that one of my group members (Abbey) had dropped the class and forgot to let Phuong and I know. So adding to the fiasco was Abbey’s absence, leaving the bulk of the work to either Phuong or myself. And since it did not seem as if Phuong was going to take initiative and write the script, I was designated/volunteered. I guess the reason I was so proactive about writing the script is because no one else decided to take action, so I stepped up to the plate. What a bad decision that was.

When I said that I would take on the task of writing the script for the Satyr piece, I had no idea how draining and challenging it would be. I tired to convince myself that I would enjoy this assignment regardless of what it demanded. So first, I tried to think of a concept. Considering all the things making headlines in the news at the time, I decided to draw my inspiration from recent events. So the only thing that seemed even worthy of comedic authorization was Michael Jackson’s trial. Everything about it gave me material that I could possibly use. Besides, I was always curious as to why this trial was so important when issue like racial profiling, teenage pregnancy, and drugs are still a problem in our country. I also wondered how zany Michael and his family must seem in person. So I decided to put my imagination to work and set this scenario in ancient Greek times.

Without the help of my group members, I initially came up with a blueprint as to what was going to happen. Upon beginning, I knew that my setting would be a courtroom-like area. I also knew who the characters would be (this is where my group members put their two cents in) There would be Michael, his mother (since she is the most important person in his life), his sister, Janet, a Judge, and the family who was accusing him. I didn’t know who the Pan character would be, but I knew the chorus would be workers inside of the courtroom. At first, the chorus was supposed a bunch of reporters commenting on the trial, but later that idea was changed; as was the idea to delete Janet from the cast list.

I began to write the script after Jitney was over. Trying to write the script during the show would’ve worn me out and my body shuts down when I over exert myself. What I soon realized is that writing the script was still a hassle even after the show. On

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