1st Choose a theme
2nd Create a plot
3rd Write lines
A play director and up to six participants form a class.
The ETA process proceeds with discussion among participants while the director leads them to continue speaking.
The play that participants prepare is not a short and childish skit, but a high-quality one that can be sold immediately on commercial markets.
According to the duration of the process, 1-6 stages can be applied separately.
For a week class, we only do the 1st and 2nd stage; Choose a theme and create a plot.
The full process of ETA.
1st stage Choose a theme
● Starting with the director, each participant presents the theme and plot of the novel or movie they watched before in turn. (Each one should be ready before the first meeting.) The theme must be expressed in a sentence like EVERYTHING DEPENDS ON MIND. And then, each describes the plot that can explain the reason why this sentence was chosen as the theme.
● Here is an example.
● I chose King Lear William Shakespeare. The theme is that You will confront a huge catastrophe if you don’t catch the truth. Here is the story. There is a King named Lear who has three daughters. He wants to inherit his land to them. On his birthday, he asks his daughters to say how much each one of them loves him. The more love, the more land. The first and second daughters say that they love their father more than anything else in the world, but the third refuses to say it saying that true love doesn’t depend on saying. Furious, Lear expels her and inherits all the property to two daughters. However, they are not so loyal to their father, and they drive him out. The third daughter comes to join his father abandoned in the desert. After meeting her father, she goes to see her sisters ask them to be loyal to their father, but she is killed them, and because of the conflict between them, they kill each other. Lear who encounters this scene of murder dies from unbearable pain. Because of Lear who didn’t know what the truth was, his whole family goes into ruins.
● Instead of the above, a subject can be given organizers such as FAMILY IS THE BASIC OF EVERYTHING. In this case, each participant talks about what s/he experienced, read, saw, heard, or simply thought about the given subject.
● When talking, there must be WHO WHEN WHERE WHAT WHY, and HOW, 5W1H. In other words, what each one talks about must be long and detailed, not short and summarized.
● The director leads the discussion and writes what they talk about. (In FLETA, the director corrects when participants make errors in language.)
● (In FLETA) if there’s a play director among participants, the teacher-director just supports the team with the language. In this case, the whole process can be led the participant-director and the teacher-director just corrects and writes.
● The director will write everything and when writing, it should be as detailed as possible because all the stories talked about here can be used again to create a new story.
● Once everybody completes talking, participants will be divided in two and start to discuss again.
● The goal of the second discussion is to choose one theme that everybody agrees to be the most important or useful in life. Through discussion, each team chooses a theme.
● Once each team has chosen a theme, they merge and start a new discussion.
● Finally, one theme will be chosen.
● You must remember (in some ETAs) that the real goal of the discussion is not to choose a theme but to mull the theme over, talk about it, listen to others and say what each one thinks through in-depth discussion. In the discussion, you can say anything you have experienced, read from books, or heard from others. When you say, it is always asked to say as detailed as possible. All the stories and characters everybody said can be used again when creating a story.
● Don’t forget the rule of 5w1h.
● The theme doesn’t need to be moral always. However, it is not necessary not to be moral voluntarily.
2nd stage Create a story
● There are some details to remember to create a story.
1 Being in a conflict between two good sides is better than between a bad side and a good side.
2 Being in a conflict between three sides is better than two sides.
3 Exposition, complication, crisis, climax, and resolution, are the basic components of a story.
4 There must be conflicts and disclosures, and twists are the best way to give taste to a plot.
5 The story itself should be interesting and not childish, and it should not be too short but long enough.
6 It’s good to have fun in the middle and be touched at the end.
● If a story is too simple and/or childish, it is impossible to create a high-quality script. For a story to be filled with conflicts, reveals, and twists, it must be long.
● If a scene of a story is too short, the continuity can be broken. A scene must last at least 10 minutes.
● Naming a scene can help clarify the objective of the scene.
● The starting point to begin to create a story is all the stories talked about so far. Analyzing, mixing, or extracting these stories can be a good starting point. However, they are just references. Participants are completely free to create a new story.
● Finding attractive characters from the stories already talked about can also be a good starting point.
● A point that should be considered is the relativity between the theme and the plot itself. For example, the theme of Shakespeare’s Lear may be related to the truth. However, the story is about the family. In the story of King Lear, there is no connection between the theme and plot. It means that you don’t need to try to synchronize the plot to the theme.
● Each one creates his/her own story and presents it. When you create a story, you always respect the 5W1H principle. And the story should be complex. You have to introduce conflicts, reveals, and twists. With the mixture of these, the story can be complex, and it can be a long and attractive story.
● The story should have a logical flow and there should not be any point that people reject and, no jumps.
● You can develop and create a new story from an event or a character. Everything is allowed. Presenting, discussing, and developing stories to create a new story through collective work is the process.
● A story can come from crashes of characters with different needs. That’s why having clear characters can help to create a good story.
● There is (a) protagonist(s) and the others having different goals. The story will be developed around the protagonist having different relationships with others.
● First, choose the main character and make different relationships with him/her. Talk about what happens among them and add or change the story debate.
● Each one chooses a role to play when the story is created. Anyway, during the debate, roles will be distributed according to each one’s preference. Now, it is time to write a detailed story.
● Before participants write a detailed story, they will write biographies of all the roles. Of course, fictional biographies. They will talk about them and should agree on the characteristics of all the roles.
● Once a story is created with 5W1H, roles are distributed and their characteristics are decided, they should decide what happens in each scene as detailed as possible.
● EXPOSITION usually is the introduction of characters. You have to clarify who appears in this play and what’s their relationships. In this stage, their basic characteristics and tendencies should be revealed.
● In COMPLICATION, usually simple events come out. These are kinds of baits to develop the main plot. Maybe different techniques can be used to lead people in a bad direction to hide the main story. In this case, the story can be more complex, and twists can be inserted. Different events, not so important, can occur.
● In CRISIS, conflicts among characters become more serious. The crisis will be strengthened just before the explosion.
● CLIMAX is the explosion after all the conflicts faced each other. The audience doesn’t know who are allies or enemies so far but after the explosion, everything will be clear.
● RESOLUTION means arranging these relationships. There will be relationships cut or restored. If the relationship cuts, it will be a tragedy and restored, a drama. Through changes in relationships, everybody will face the truth, and this is the theme.
3rd stage Write lines
● Lines will be written in units of scenes. Once, the actors get together, it is enough for them to speak according to the scene. Of course, they must be there as their role to play in the script. Talking with others, that’s lines. Actors and the director should write their communication and correct it when necessary.
● One of the key points in writing lines, a character should keep consistency. An outgoing character should always be outgoing. This character should not be changing in the middle of the story. If the character can’t keep this consistency, the audience can get confused.
● Lines written at a meeting will be sent to everybody email. Everybody will check it and think more about it and, if necessary, talk more at the next meeting.
● One thing to think about is “If I.” If I were this person, what would I do in this situation? And then, talk.
● Lines should not be childish and avoid using vulgarism and slang as much as possible. These expressions look fun but are not good not only for the language itself but for the quality of the script.
● Probably, when writing finishes, everybody almost memorizes all the lines.
● It is the director who completes the script. Every day the director should send all the things mentioned in the meeting to all the members. The director will give the last touch on the script to complete it. If there is a participant-writer, s/he can do it.
● Once lines are completed, in another word, the script is ready, and it is time to have rehearsals.
4th-5th stage Reading and Blocking
● Rehearsal is not all about memorizing. Rehearsal is not the process of assembling things that the director already decides. Each of the participants can have their own opinions. If there is any disagreement among them, that should be resolved discussion as well. Rehearsal is the process of resolving different disagreements discussion.
● Rehearsal will be led the director who is focused on creating a good show. Participants must keep in mind that they are actors. The goal is to create a show that can be sold immediately on the commercial market.
● Human beings have instincts. One of them is expression. In another word, anyone can be an actor.
● Actors start memorizing lines, not only his/her own lines but all the lines of the script. A script of 60 minutes can contain about 1,500 sentences.
● Who acts? Actors. Acting depends on the actors. And then what the director does? S/he decides the direction. Actors decide how to say, move and use which gestures. It is the director who decides where to move and how to compose the play according to the 5 stages of EXPOSITION COMPLICATION CRISIS CLIMAX and RESOLUTION.
● The more an actor develops his/her own role, the more direction the director can create.
● One of the most widely used techniques in rehearsal is “If I”. If I were this person, what should I do in this situation? This is called Magic If and this is the very basic way to be an actor.
● The first stage of rehearsal is to read the script while sitting. This stage is called Reading. Blocking is all process of rehearsal after reading. Actors move without looking at the script.
● It is the director who decides how long the 4th stage lasts.
● It is necessary for the actors to do personal preparation before the rehearsal including memorizing. Rehearsal is the process of checking one’s acting with others to know if there are kind of inconsistencies or shortcomings. If there is the case, it is the director who interferes. The director gives directions to the actors. The rehearsal is the stage where actors and the director communicate continuously to reach the best results. The final decision is up to the director. Even though there are points where actors don’t agree, they should accept the director’s proposition.
● The director will ask more and more things because the goal is to prepare a good show. The director will let actors learn how to move and/or play, which is one of the jobs of the director.
● Creative works should be done at the same time. Set design, lighting, wardrobe, makeup, music and/or sound. Each participant can do it according to their will. If there is nobody who wants to do these, it is the director who resolves
● If there’s a participant who can make music or song, a musical play can be prepared. Of course, the director should know how to prepare a musical show.
● All the participants can encounter unplanned situations where they have to agree with others and change their acting or persuade others.
● A language isn’t just words. Words contain all the surroundings. Rehearsal creates and recreates those surroundings again and, at the same time, imprints them inside the actors who create them.
● (In FLETA, while writing a script is a process of opening a mouth speaking, rehearsal is the one where language will be imprinted inside actors-participants. Through this process, speaking a language will become a habit.)
6th stage Show
● The show will be held in a theatre and other teams become the audience.
● The sound and lighting controls at the show will be done the directors.
● Anybody can be in the audience because the show is open to the public, and participants can invite people as well.
● The show is not free but affordable.