Theatre History II Review II
Theatre History II Review II TH 3321.251
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Date Created: 05/04/16
Theatre History II Review for Exam #2 Spring 2016 Beginnings of Modern Theatre Wagner Cesamtkunstwerk Artist as mythmaker Unity of productions Allpowerful director “mystic chasm” complete illusions Total empathetic response opera Bayreuth Festpielhaus (1876) o Orchestra covered1` o Democratic seating SaxeMeiningen powerful director attention to detail increased historical accuracy and research director determines costume Costumes and props made of authentic material Avoided symmetry and lines in blocking Ibsen (career, influence/style, Doll’s House) “Father of modern drama” Wrote 25 plays Art should provide insight and create discussions Major traits: o Themes duty to self vs others struggle for integrity o Influence of heredity and environment o Refines wellmade play o More natural exposition, eliminates soliloquies and asides o Contemporary issues, shocking subject matter Zola Therese Raquin (first performance of play) about aunt who has stroke and daughter and man cheat her out of a ton of money, not real time GOAL: “put a natural man onstage, taken from reality, analyzed scientifically, and described without on lie. Let him act according to his race (hereditary dispositions), moment (acquired momentum created by race and milieu when the play begins), and the milieu (external surroundings) Characters are predestined towards the ending of the play Action isn’t the plot it is in the resolution of the inner conflicts of characters o Psychology of the character, still and experiment, scientifically examine social problems o Freudian influence, Darwin Naturalism (drama + staging) Calls for freedom from one place and wants sets. That way characters can actually live in the play instead of just acting in it Problem with costuming: fear of simplicity in costumes. Costumes very much inform the character so they need to be more realistic to the people of that social class. Everything is linked, realistic sets, costumes, diction (rather than declamation) Conscious artistic movement ‘slice of life’ as opposed to Realism which is an illusion of life Setting is the environment which helps determine character G.B. Shaw Subverted melodrama Uses comedy to challenge traditional values Prop up popular view and then undermine it Major Barbara, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Saint Joan Independent Theatre Movement (France, Germany, London, + legacy) “private performances” on a subscription basis Evades censorship FranceAntoine and the Theatre Liber o Antoine founded in 1887 to stage Therese Raquin o Linked drama to new staging o Controversial plays with naturalistic acting and design o Comedies rosses o Darkening lights making theatre like the laboratory GermanyFeie Buhne o Founded in 1889 by group of writers and critics including Otto Brahm o First play Ghosts o Vehicle for new plays but not new staging (think the photo of painted drop) o Leads to “people’s theatre” for working class o Hauptmann: the Weavers, which features group protagonist and won the Nobel Prize for Literature EnglandIndependent theatre Society o Kate Santleybecame manager of Royalty Theatre in 1877 o Allowed for theatre society to use her stage o Storms of protest after Ghosts and people called for her license to be revoked o Legacy: Develops nonmainstream audience Encourages new playwrights Links new drama with new staging Leads to ‘art’ theatres Establishes precedent of little theatres launching innovation ________________________________________________________________________ NonRealism Symbolism (philosophy + staging) “word creates the décor” (vague, minimal scenery and scrim) Exaggerated unnatural gestures Colors evoke mood not accuracy Dialogue often chanted Nonrealistic subject matter Characters are mysterious Maeterlinck Most important symbolist playwright Believed Realism’s interest in the accidental was an obstacle to deeper expression A “drama of silence” Jarry Ubu Roi Yeats in audience Prefigures surrealism and theatre of the absurd Later wrote an essay on “petaphysics’ (imaginary solutions) Freud Basic human instincts are aggression and sexuality Socially unacceptable instincts/feelings are buried in subconscious Emphasis on dreams Strindberg Portrays humans are tortured and alienated First to make extensive use of subconscious Complicated characters subtext meandering dialogue Later moves form psychological realism to reshaping reality according to subjective vision “Father of Expressionism” THREE PHASES; 1. r/n Plays: The Father, Miss Julie 2. INFERNO 3. Dream and Chamber plays: A Dream Play, The Ghost Sonata Wedekind Critically bourgeois attitudes especially towards sexuality Spring’s Awakening The Lulu Plays (The Earth Spirit and Pandora’s Box) Highly influential on symbolism, Expressionism, and Brecht English Aestheticism Realism didn’t come to England until the 1890s Art doesn’t have to be useful it is valuable itself, art for art’s sake Wilde wrote Salome & Importance of Being Earnest very symbolist in plays Irish Renaissance (Abbey Theatre, Yeats o Interested in preserving Irish myths, legends, culture o Irish Literary Theatre sought an ‘imaginative audience trained to listen by its passion for oratory0 and freedom to experiment o First Irish person to win Nobel Prize for literature Lady Gregory o Organized Irish language studies in 1893 and collected stories and myths o Wrote 19 plays o Usually realistic with a domestic theme Synge o Bridges realistic and nonrealistic o Makes mythic familiar and familiar mythic o Playboy of the Western World o Riders to the Sea Horniman o met Yeats at the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn o Provided funding for the Abbey Theatre o Required English Director (B. Iden Payne) Appia & C Appia aig Influence: o Originator of modern lighting theory Pushed designers toward o Used light to unify productions a simplified, flexible o Stressed importance of rhythm of the text décor o Identified 3 elements: Directional lighting Horizontal floor Vertical scenery Evocation rather than representation Actors (light is equally important) Craig o Stressed visuals (popularized Appia’s ideas) o Experiments with mobile settings o Power, rather than realism o Height and grandeur o Radical ideas Eliminate the text/playwright Replace actors with ubermarionettes The "isms" Realism/naturalism Symbolism Expressionism(19101930) Materialism and industrialization dehumanize the individual Truth is subjective Truth is located within each person’s soul We must externalize the internal subjective truth After WWI sought regeneration of humanity Staging: o Distortion o Lighting sharp contrasts with extreme angles o Nightmare visions Drama: o Message centered o Christlike protagonist on quest o Other characters are ‘type’ o Episodic o Telegraphic dialogue (everything inessential pared away. Phrases or repeated words) U.S. expressionist plays o The Hairy Ape (O’Neill) o The Adding Machine ( Rice) o Machinal (Treadwell) Futurism (19091930) Marinetti was a key figure Break with past, ‘destroy museums, the libraries, every type of academy” “we will glorify war the world’s only hygiene, militarism, patriotism and scorn for woman.” Staging: o Provoke audience o Variety shows o Extremely short plays o Simultaneity o Other form of theatre touch, smell, aerial o Influenced movements in the ‘60s Dadaism Began in Switzerland Antiart Replace logic and reason with madness, irrationality, and chance Sound poems, chance poems, hoaxes Tristan Tzara, The Gas Heart Surrealism Truth is located in subconscious We find truth through illogical associations metaphorical thinking and dreams Models are madmen, primitive, and children Dada was total rejection of logic, Surrealism is targeted attack Familiar characters in unfamiliar situations Emphasize associations, not logic Seemingly unrelated scenes juxtaposed Use dreams and automatic writing Guillaume Apollinaire o The Breasts of Tiresias o Coined term “surrealism” to describe this play o Therese decides to become a man o Is gender a construct? Make love not war? Cocteau Reworked mythological stories Orphee Directors + Russian Theatre From 17001800 mostly imitates European practices on a small scale 1750 first ‘professional’ acting company Strict censorship Nikolai Gogal (The Government Inspector) Leo Tolstoy (The Power of Darkness)production forbidden until 1902 Moscow Art Theatre Founded 1898 To stage naturalistic theatre instead of melodramahigh quality, but for common people Venue for Stanislavsky’s experiments Leading playwright: Anton Chekhov (1896 performance complete disaster, Chekhov hid backstage and Vladmir NemirovischDanchenko convinced Stanislavksi to produced Seagul at Moscow Art Theatre) Copeau Wanted to get rid of overlyornamented deisng and ham acting on French stage to stage classic and modern works “director’s primary task is to be faithful to the text” “Twelfth Night” Dominates Western staging between WWI & WWII Reinhardt Director, believed in no single approach to the appropriatesuit it to the play, audience, and production Stanislavsky Actor/director Formed Moscow Art Theatre in 1898 with Vladimir NemorovichDanchenko Psychologically based approach to acting with inner justification Methods: o ‘magic if’ o ‘emotion memory’ o ‘given circumstances’ through detailed textual analysis o ‘objectives o ‘throughline’ o Ensemble acting o Illusion of the first time o Most influential approach to acting in 20 century Meyerhold Director/actor/producer Left MAT in 1902, worked with symbolism Staged classical plays in innovative ways Explored commedia archetypes Avantgarde, experimental 1926: The Inspector General Methods: o Theatre should not mirror reality but transcend it o Nonnaturalistic o Grotesque o Mask o Rhythm o Formalism (purely visual) o Denied pirmacy of the text Chekhov Studied Medicine The Seagull Uncle Vanya Three Sisters The Cherry Orchard Pattern: o Monotonous life of landowners in rural Russia o Aspire to but don’t achieve a better life o Stripped of illusions, anxieties revealed o Indirect action (details of daily life) o Unifying mood and sharp characterization Komissarzhevskaya Nina in disastrous opening of Seagull Opened her own theatre in St. Petersburg in 1904 Employed Meyerhold Hedda, characters had stylized poses Ballet Russes Formed by Sergei Diaghilev in Paris around 1909 Never performed in Russia Designers include: Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Coco Chanel, and Matisse Music by Stravinski, Debussy Stylized scenery and costumes enormously influential Stalin European Theatre Between the Wars Pirandello Plays, Six Characters In Search of An Author, Henry IV, Appearance vs. reality Perceptions is relative, unstable nature of reality Giradoux Often uses myths and legends Tries to reconcile antithesis The Madwoman of Chaillot Anouilh Conflict between integrity and compromise Antigone in 40’s France Lorca Love vs. honor, poetic and passionate Blood Wedding, Yerma, House of Bernarda Alba Ghelderode Witkiewicz British theatres + staging practices End of actor/manager system Old Vic starts doing English Classics Tyrone Guthrie Director, famous for new interpretations of plays John Gielgud Top actor/director, faithful to text Coward Sophisticated, witty comedies Private Lives Eliot Poet/playwright Murder in Cathedral (symbolic Beckett murder) O’Casey Writes about Dublin working class Early plays for Abby Theatre Artaud Theatre like a surgeon, ‘drain abscesses collectively’ Problems lie in subconscious, so a visceral response is necessary The Theatre and it’s Double Theatre of Cruelty violent , physical determination to shatter the false reality Theatre of Cruelty: Nontraditional spaces Donut theatre Sound: great variety Language: addressed to sense rather than mind Lights; Strobes Costumes: symbolic, not realistic Scenery: symbolic Actors: 20ft puppets Spectacle and gesture more important than work Myth as subject matter Psychic cruelty Brecht: Against illusionistic theatre All is constructed, thus changeable Realism resolves problems superficially Empathy creates passive, uncritical spectators Only offers passive escapism Perpetuates myth that human nature is unchangeable statusque
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