BEGINNING, MIDDLE, END
Aristotle's simple conception of dramatic narrative is an overlooked tool in shaping drama. The beginning - Things that happen before anything is known. The middle - Things that happen because of things that happened. The end - Things that finally happen because of things that happened and require nothing else to happen afterwards.
The concept of the "turning of fortune's wheel." Reversal. Change, the opposite of what is expected.
The idea that oppositions exist and in fact can be reconciled to solve problems, resolve conflict, even predict the future (Marxist Historical Dialectics)
A manifestation of the above, where a proposition and its opposite combine to create something new.
A staged moment in time where a permanent change in the circumstances and relationships occurs due to actions and counter actions. The key purpose of any dramatic scenario is to present dramatic events resulting from conflict.
By combining Aristotle's poetics of drama and the principle of Dialectics, one can practice dramatic creativity in the rehearsal room by placing elements of a given text, characters, situations, staging concepts, images and compositions, design idea or even thematic conceits in a framework of questions.
1. What are the dialectic elements?
By definition, drama consists of opposing actions that result in conflict. Can you clearly identify them?
2.What is the proposed Synthesis of the oppositions?
Does the piece propose a synthesis, or does the fundamental thesis or antithesis overcome its opposition?
3. How does Peripeteia factor in? If there is either a determined outcome of a thesis, its antithesis or a new synthesis, did this conclusion arrive through the principle of peripeteia? If not, the piece will seem "inevitable" and the central dramatic event will lack impact or resonance. This is because the unexpected outcome of an action and consequence is always more meaningful than an expected outcome.
4. Event: do the elements involved lead to a dramatic event, and does this event situate itself in relationship to the structure of beginning, middle or end?
5. Are all the elements involved in the scenario contributing to a tension of oppositions in a dialectical capacity? Character action? Staging? Image? Costume? Prop? Ground plan? Scenic design? Lighting design? Sound design? What is each elements relationship to the Aristotelian Dialectics?
6. What is the relationship of the elements to Time and Space? Are they unfolding in a coordinated manner (form) that takes into account the three dimensional, "live" reality of the theatrical experience?
7. Has the extraneous been discarded?
8. Has the essential been ordered correctly?
9. Can further compression occur? (Relates to the core concepts of beginning, middle, end. Nothing belongs that does not contribute to the essential whole)
10. How does each element in the drama align with one side or the other of the proposed dialectic?
11. How does the dialectic arrive at dramatic events?
12. All drama should be a crucible of dialectical oppositions and the dynamics of the oppositions should form the whole within an efficient structure.