Vaughan’s Vocabulary

Don Vaughan provides infrequently used words to strengthen your vocabulary.

My students and I practice techniques by Stanislavski (1863-1938), whose objective in performing was to represent the truth of behavior through representational means. Stanislavski’s approach was to work from the inside out. Action that doesn’t have an inner justification is mechanical. Anything you do in a scene must be justified by the character’s internal need.

Meyerhold (1874-1940) developed a theatre that didn’t focus on the psychology of behavior, but on what stage action should look like. Meyerhold’s approach was to work from the outside in. His “Biomechanics” used body training to connect mind and body.

I compare the antipodal approaches to two ways of using words. Sometimes activating an advanced word sounds natural; other times they’re used in ways that sound as though they were used for the sake of using a big word.

[1.] antipodal (an-TIP-uh-dul)

A. similar

B. opposite

C. movement of the feet onstage

D. special use of the voice onstage

[2.] jettisoning (JET-uh-suh-ning)

A. throwing off something that is a burden or obstacle

B. proving something to be true

C. proving something to be untrue

D. moving fast onstage

No. 1 is B. “The Creative Conflict Between Stanislavski and Meyerhold and a Possible Fusion of Their Systems” by Buzalkovska points out that although the methods of S and M are antipodal, each started with the same absolute dedication, and with a love for the theatre. No. 2 is A. The essay pointed out that there’s an attempt at a fusion of these methods, which could bring about a jettisoning of techniques which aren’t useful.

[3.] disparate (DIS-per-it)

A. giving no ground for hope

B. moved by despair

C. distinct in kind, essentially different

D. crossfire

[4.] bourgeois (boo-r-ZHWAH)

A. dominated or characterized by materialistic pursuits or concerns

B. of, relating to, or characteristic of the social middle class

C. capitalistic

D. dominated by commercial and industrial interests

No. 3 is C. Anita La Selva pointed out that the two are from “disparate schools of acting.” “Repeatedly, Meyerhold,” La Selva wrote, “condemned Stanislavski’s System and Naturalism as being old antiquated forms that reflected a bourgeois culture of illusion.” A, B, C and D are correct for bourgeois.

[5.] verboten (ver-BO-ten)

A. script

B. acting guidelines

C. not allowed, especially forbidden by dictate

D. the ingénue’s lines

Verboten, last week’s mystery word, means forbidden, prohibited. No. 5 is C.

This week’s mystery word is one you’ve recently seen, but it isn’t pronounced the same way when referring to a size of type. Its last syllable has the sound of the name of an author.