CTI Textual Studies Q & A

Film, Media, &
Performing Arts

Q Could you give me details of some of the resources currently available for computer-assisted drama and theatre studies?

A I have detailed some of the resources currently available under the following headings:

General Theatre Studies

Title: DisPlay

Platform Windows

One of three applications developed by the 'CAL in the Humanities' TLTP Project (the other two are InVerse for the study of poetry, and ReScreen for the study of film) designed for the study of dramatic scripts. DisPlay offers a range of multimedia tools to enable students to perform various investigations upon a section of play text (with particular emphasis on examining the relationship of the play as written text and as performance). The sections include the ability to breakdown a script into its individual speeches; a bird's eye view of the stage enabling the arrangement of actors, props, and lighting; an essay workspace; text search can search for words uttered by specified characters; and a context section which involves tagging the text for themes, ides etc.

Availability: Jon Cook or Michael Allen, Centre for Creative and Performing Arts, School of English and American Studies, University of East Anglia, Norwich NR4 7TJ. Tel: 01603- 592783. E-mail: j.cook@uea.ac.uk.

Title: The TheatreGame

Platform Macintosh

The TheatreGame is aimed at allowing users to simulate directing a play. Options allow the design of the stage, and the placing of props and extras. Users are then offered the choice of including 'actors' drawn from the characters of Hamlet which can be placed on the screen, moved accordingly, and their actions recorded and played back. There is the further facility to synchronize the actions of several actors. Using MacPaint extra props and stages can be designed.

This product is distributed by Intellimation Software for the Macintosh (in the UK by Capedia Limited, Norwich. Tel: 01603 259900. Fax: 01603 259444). For further details contact the developer, Larry Friedlander (friedlander.l@applelink.apple.com) The TheatreGame is part of The Shakespeare Project, a brief description of which is available at http://lummi.stanford.edu/Media2/pix/www/ASD_homepage_icons/Shakespeare.html


Platform DOS

The ACTORS computer program processes the electronic text of a play, and, based on entrance-and-exit stage directions, it provides information about which characters are on stage simultaneously. Such information can inform dramatic performances, and it can indicate errors and omissions in the text. Specifically, ACTORS provides three kinds of information: (1) listings of the characters that are on stage simultaneously - generated each time there is an entrance or exit - identified by act, scene, and beginning line number; (2) a table indexed for each character showing which characters appear on stage at least once with the indexed character; and the converse, a table showing which characters never appear on stage with the indexed character, and (3) a listing of possible doubling of roles for a performance of a play.

Available from Eric Johnson (Dakota State University) Email: johnsone@jupiter.dsu.edu. See further Eric Johnson, "Project Report: ACTORS: Computing Dramatic Characters that Are on Stage Simultaneously," Computers and the Humanities 28.6 (1994), 393-400.

Playwriting Software

Title: Dramatica Pro 2.0

Platform Macintosh, Windows

Dramatica Pro is a story creation and analysis tool. Its central function is the asking of questions relating to character, plot, theme, and genre. The story editor shows the impact of changes made on other sections of the story. Characters can be defined by motivation, methodology, purpose, and means of evaluation. Characters can also be represented by icons. The package includes an online book which discusses the theory of story creation (Melanie Anne Phillips and Chris Huntley, Dramatica: A New Theory of Story) and a tutorial on the writing process. On completion of the story structure Dramatica can create a series of reports including a main character analysis report.

Dramatica Pro comes with around 36 example stories which can be displayed in Dramatica's Story Engine. Stories include To Kill a Mockingbird, Bull Durham, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, When Harry Met Sally, The Godfather, Casablanca, Reservoir Dogs, and Blade Runner. Further volumes of stories may be purchased for use with Dramatica Pro.

Screenplay Systems also publish Scriptor software for formatting screenplays, television episodes, and stage plays.

Screenplay Systems Inc. have a WWW site at http://www.well.com/user/dramatic/ Further information may also be obtained by email from Dramatica-webmail@Screenplay.com.

Distributed in the UK by The Writers Software Company, 7-8 Kendrick Mews, South Kensington, London SW7 3HP. Tel: 0171 584 7705. Fax: 0171 584 7705. Screenplay Systems, Inc., 150 East Olive Avenue, Suite 203, Burbank, CA 91502-1849, USA. Tel: 818 843 6557. Fax: 818 843 8364. Email: ssi@screenplay.com.

Multimedia Performances

There are a number of plays on CD-ROM. I have mentioned two which are better suited, perhaps, for examining the performance as well as the text of a play.

Title: The Crucible on CD-ROM

Platform Macintosh

The Crucible CD-ROM is an extensive multimedia resource. The CD-ROM contains over 1,600 screens of textual and pictorial material supported by eighty minutes of QuickTime movies. This includes the cast of the Youth Theatre of the Young Vic talking about the play and their roles, as well as extensive interviews with Arthur Miller. Historical background to The Crucible is given (both Puritan New England and the McCarthy era), plus critical readings of the play.

Available through Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ. Tel: 0171 416 3000. Fax: 0171 416 3060. More information from http://www.penguin.com/usa/electronic/crucible/

Title: The Voyager Macbeth

Platform Macintosh, Windows

The Voyager Macbeth is a multimedia presentation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The text of the play is supplemented with an introduction, information on the characters, scene by scene commentaries, and a selection of essays. In addition, there are excerpts from the films of Akira Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, and Orson Welles. The edition of the play is one edited by A. R. Braunmuller. The tools section of the package includes a record of the editorial changes made whilst preparing this edition of Macbeth, and a concordance index of the spoken words. The text is supplemented by a complete audio performance (RSC) with which the text scrolls synchronously. Interactivity with the text takes on an additional meaning in this presentation with the inclusion of the Macbeth Karaoke (two scenes, playing either Lady or Lord Macbeth).

Available from The Voyager Company (http://www.voyagerco.com).

WWW Sites

Comprehensive directory of Internet resources for the study of theatre.

Voice of the Shuttle which are Mirror pages for Drama and Theatre Studies. Index of resources slightly annotated.

Glasgow University's page of theatre/drama-related Internet resources. This includes the Catalogue of the National Review of Live Art Archive. The Faculty of Arts at Glasgow now has the performing arts service provider for the Arts & Humanities Data Service (http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk:80/PADS/index.html)

Email Discussion Lists

To subscribe to a discussion list send the following command to the appropriate subscription address:

subscribe listname Your Name

For example: subscribe ICWP-L Dorothy Sayers

Name: ASTR-L
Topic: American Society for Theatre Research discussion forum.
Subscription Address: listserv@vmd.cso.uiuc.edu

Topic: A discussion forum bringing together playwrights, directors, theatre technicians, composers and librettists for the purpose of creating collaboratively new scripts for performance.
Subscription Address: sas14@psu.edu

Name: ICWP-L
Topic: International Center for Women Playwrights list gives women in theatre, playwrights in particular, the opportunity to converse with one another concerning all aspects of their craft.
Subscription Address: listserv@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu

Topic: Information and discussion relating to Live Art, Performance Art and New Performance.
Subscription Address: mailbase@mailbase.ac.uk

Topic: Broad discussion of 'performing' including theory, criticism, metaphysics, as well as down-to-earth performance observations and questions.
Subscription Address: listserv@acfcluster.nyu.edu

Name: REED-L
Topic: Records of Early English Drama discussion forum.
Subscription Address: listserv@vm.utcc.utoronto.ca

Further academic discussion groups can be searched for at http://www.n2h2.com/KOVACS/

Institutional Projects

Stanford University
The Virtual Theater Project

The University of Warwick
Didaskalia for the study of Greek & Roman theatre

Royal Holloway & Bedford New College
Dr Christie Carson has a fellowship working on multimedia and performance, in conjunction with Cambridge University Press, currently concentrating on King Lear. She can be contacted at Department of Drama, Theatre and Media Arts, 103 Sutherland House, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX Tel. 01784 443922.

Open University
Dr. Elizabeth Goodman is working on the Shakespeare in Performance project, which gives users control over their own version of 'live' theatre, using CD-ROM technology. King Lear and As You Like It are the first two plays to be addressed.


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Document created: 12 May 1997
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