In Anne Bogart’ book/manifesto And Then, You Act, she divides her focuses into eight chapters. Her first chapter, context, is such a central idea to theatre (particularly modern theatre thought) and is very important. However, in terms of chapters we should look at for class first, I believe we should start with her second chapter about articulation.
As I was reading this book, I found myself envisaging each chapter as an element of a house (I’m a visual learner). In it, I found context makes the walls of the house but it is articulation that are the bricks. From the beginning of the chapter, it is clear that the use of words is powerful. I find that the first sentence of this chapter personifies this power: “One of the most radical things you can do in this culture of the inexact is to finish a sentence” (17). What a statement! I find this truth really hits home to our generation, where ‘like’, ‘um’, and ‘yeah’ are frequently used to break up or muddle sentences.
Bogart defines articulation as “expression, communication, speaking pointing, verbalization, clarification, and enunciation” (18). Such a broad definition requires articulation not only to perform a wide variety of jobs but to encompass many niches. For example, articulation is a form of definitive action found in multiple ways including metaphors, symbols, and (I argue) silences. Articulation must also creating framing which is structure for our thinking (25). So articulation not only has us use words in multiple forms but also as the building block for framing and clarity. Articulation really requires us to take the text (the base of theatre) and bring clarity to all the other aspects mentioned in later chapters (context, intention, attention, magnetism, attitude, content, and time). Since, in my opinion, text/words are the root of theatre, I think it is important to talk about articulation first because it both explores this root and creates connections between the other chapters of Bogart’s manifesto.