Theatre History II, FINAL STUDY GUIDE
Theatre History II, FINAL STUDY GUIDE THEA 24200
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This 9 page Study Guide was uploaded by Hannah Levine on Tuesday May 10, 2016. The Study Guide belongs to THEA 24200 at Ithaca College taught by Dr. Chrystyna Dail in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 43 views. For similar materials see History of Theatre II in Theater Arts at Ithaca College.
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Date Created: 05/10/16
Hannah Clarke Levine’s FINAL EXAM STUDY GUIDE SPRING 2016 This took several hours to complete in addition to the 40+ pages of notes I took in class; please don’t share this study guide with people without talking to me first! PLAYS AND THEORIES: As with last semester, I have no information on the plays or theory readings, just class notes. Sorry! That said, be sure to look below under “PEOPLE” for some info on the people who wrote the theory readings. Best of luck! From Morn to Midnight Blood Wedding Trifles Mother Courage and Her Children The Strong Breed The Bald Soprano Edward Gordon Craig Adolphe Appia Karel Brušák F.T. Marinetti Tristan Tzara Alain Locke W.E.B. DuBois Antonin Artaud Bertolt Brecht Wole Soyinka Eugene Ionesco PEOPLE: F.T. Marinetti (1876-‐1944) wrote the first Futurist manifesto; son of a wealthy businessman; educated in Italy and Franch; had tons and tons of expendable income and really didn’t want to work, so he decided to start his own arts movement Tristan Tzara, Rumanian born, was one of the six founders of the Dadaist movement in Zurich Max Reinhardt (1873-‐1943) most effectively brought Georg Büchner’s plays to 20 th century audiences well after Büchner had died; one of Brecht’s major influences (Brecht worked as his assistant for two years); arguably the most prolific stage director of the 20 th century; eclectic in form and content; forced to flee Germany in 1933 then began directing in the US; he was also an actor and put together a late-‐night cabaret in Germany called Sound and Smoke, which later became the experimental Kleines Theater before he became the director of the Deutsches Theater in 1905 (a 1000-‐seat mainstream theatre) and then purchased the 300-‐seat house next door for the experimental Kammerspiele theater, thus making “Art Theatre” popular for the first time; his cabaret also heavily influenced Cabaret! Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-‐1949), one of the major French Symbolist writers, wrote Princess Maleine, an overnight success considered by some to be more beautiful and tragic even than Macbeth or Hamlet which also contains repetitive dialogue and huge pauses; he believed that “Great poetry is made up of three principle elements: first, verbal beauty; then, the contemplation and passionate portrayal of what actually exists about us and within us, that is to say, nature and our sentiments; [something about enveloping the whole work in an atmosphere proper to it]. I have no doubt that this last is the most important”; often had blind or elderly protagonists; created static drama, in which the action and dialogue are less important than the silences (so there was a lot of muttering, chanting, and repetition) Erwin Piscator (1893-‐1966) studied under Reinhardt and produced in Germany, Moscow, and the US; arguably the most significant named influence on Brecht; he developed the theory of “Epic Theatre” and believed that the stage is a “play-‐machine that operates as an arena for battling ideas”; every single theory he developed was adopted and perfected by Brecht; his theatre was mainly a mix of expressionism and agit-‐prop (The Political Theatre, 1929); also started the school of theatre at the New School Mei Lanfang (1894-‐1961), a very well respected dan performer from a long line of Beijing Opera actors, noticed that female actresses were being treated poorly and advocated on their behalf; refused to perform during the Japanese occupation; toured in the 1930s and was a huge inspiration to Meyerhold and Brecht when he performed at the Moscow Art Theatre Georg Kaiser (1878-‐1945) wrote From Morn to Midnight and was one of the most significant Expressionist playwrights Emmy Hennings, German born, is one of the six founders of Dadaism Bertolt Brecht had many named influences (Victor Shklovsky, Mei Lanfang, Georg Büchner, Max Reinhardt, Erwin Piscator, and early German Expressionism) but even more unnamed influences aka his side hoes – he would travel, find a new female partner, sleep with her, co-‐write at least one play with her, and then fucking leave and take all the credit; evolved Piscator’s idea of Epic Theatre (see below for description); wrote several successful plays (Mother Courage; The Good Person of Setzuan; etc.) Helene Weigel, (1900-‐1971) was Brecht’s wife as well as the actress who originated roles like Mother Courage and several other leads in Brecht’s works. Vsevolod Meyerhold, an avant-‐garde, Russian communist, was the first director to be the People’s Artist of the Republic. Heavily influenced by Frederick Winslow Taylor’s theories on how to industrialize labor (Taylorism), he developed biomechanics (see definition in “terms” below); saw the actor as being no different from the laborer and wanted to pair proletariat ideals with theatre; believed in using the physical to achieve the emotional; also known for constructivist design (machine-‐like setting, moving sculpture, steps, platforms, ramps, actors in uniform coveralls, etc.); favored director of Mayakovsky; despite having been the Communist party’s golden boy for a while, he was accussed of Formalism when he directed Maykovsky’s The Bath House in 1930 (also he’d been writing avant-‐garde pieces under a pseudonym and held his own ideals over those of the state); arrested in 1939 when Stalin decides that only socialist realism is acceptable; executed in 1940 (as was his wife). Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-‐1930) was loved and respected by both pro-‐ and anti-‐ Stalinists and is one of the most controversial and popular playwrights in Russian history; led the avant-‐garde movement; known for The Bedbug (1928); worked often with Meyerhold; died playing Russian Roulette. Antonin Artaud competed worldwide with Brecht for domination as theatre theorists; he suffered from many severe mental illnesses (namely schizophrenia) and lived only to be 53); equal parts set designer and actor; was with the surrealist movement for two years before being kicked out by Breton for being too spiritual, then formed Théâtre Alfred Jerry; heavily influenced by Balinese dance, eastern religions, and occult sciences; best known for writing The Theatre and its Double (1938); hospitalized in 1937 and died of cancer; developed Theatre of Cruelty (see below); into spirituality; saw characters as archetypes; Wagnerian belief in a singular Creator manning the helm of any show; existentialist, optimist, but doesn’t believe in digestible theatre; believes that theatre has the potential to change the world if done right. Jean Genet (1910-‐1986), one of the primary Absurdist writers, was born an illegitimate child abandoned to foster care; he spent most of his early life in French prisons and grew to believe that good and evil are both extremes; he found the absurd in extreme evil; believed that we are always wearing masks and can never get to any true essence; wrote The Blacks; theatre, like life, “should be a hall of mirrors where man is trapped by an endless progression of images that are merely his own distorted reflection.” Samuel Beckett (1906-‐1989), another of the primary Absurdist writers, is best known for Waiting for Godot (staged 1953), which conveys “sense of mystery, bewilderment, and anxiety when confronted with the human condition, and despair at being unable to find a meaning in existence”; born in Ireland but spent his life in Paris; was in James Joyce’s close personal circle; didn’t believe in habit, routine, or social intercourse and felt that artists need solitude (that said, he was totally married and had friends so maybe he’s just pretentious); wrote in his second language, French, because he thought it needed to be a struggle. Albert Camus (1913-‐1960), originally an Existential theorist but ultimately the founder of Theatre of the Absurd, ditched Sartre when he joined the Communist party saying that rather than choosing the lesser of two evils, they should just not choose evil at all; wrote The Myth of Sisyphus, the essay that influenced Absurdity; guiding principles: humanity has no rational foundation and the divorce between man and his life constitutes the feeling of Absurdity; “In order to be a man, refuse to be a god,” (read: basically, live and let live). Jean-‐Paul Sartre (1905-‐1980), an Existential philosopher and theorist, wrote nine plays introducing the guiding principles of existentialism (read full explanation of existentialism below); joined French Communist part; guiding principles: rid oneself of guilt for defying authority, the only failure is not choosing to act, and engagement is inherently dangerous; “Man is condemned to be free.” Eugene Ionesco (1909-‐1994) is the third primary Absurdist writer; Rumanian born but grew up in France; wrote his first play as an assignment in an English class and fell in love with it; his first several plays (The Bald Soprano and The Chairs) failed; attempted to eradicate any reference to theatrical tradition; completely against didactic theatre (didn’t want to teach the audience anything), especially Brecht; truth means the absence of commitment because the minute you commit to something, you fall into conformity; anti-‐ cliché, ideology, and materialism Susan Glaspell helped found the Provincetown Players and wrote Trifles; everything else about her we learned with the playwright-‐to-‐playwright project instead of in class, soooo I hope you remember that stuff! Wole Soyinka (b. 1934) is considered the “greatest living African playwright”; educated in Nigeria and England; explores parallel plans of past/present/future, the need for sacrifice, role of artists in society, and Ogun (Yoruba god); wrote The Strong Breed (1962) and Death and the King’s Horsemen (1975); was imprisoned for two years; won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. Athol Fugard was a member of the Black Consciousness Movement in 1960s-‐70s South Africa; focused on assertion of black cultural identity; made devised theatre (i.e. Sizwe Bansi is Dead in 1972) with John Kani and Winston Ntshona. Georg Büchner (1814-‐1837), proto-‐expressionist, is one of Brecht’s major named influences; wrote Danton’s Death and Woyzeck and other socially th conscious/gritty/episodic/fatalistic plays; rediscovered during the early 20 century by Reinhardt and never actually saw his own plays produced; used parataxis (a technique of using short, simple sentences). Tony Pastor’s Fourteenth Street Theatre revolutionized Vaudeville when it opened in 1865; came at a point in time where the middle class had expendable income post-‐war, so women became a target audience; addressed the need for clean, family-‐friendly entertainment with no smoking, alcohol, or sexual references; introduced practical raffles, etc. to keep female/family audiences interested. Federico Lorca (1898-‐1936) wrote Blood Wedding and is one of the creators of Theatre of the Grotesque; highly influenced by Surrealism (befriend Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, but especially Salvador Dali, who he also had a ~thing~ with); banned during the Spanish Civil War and for most of Franco’s regime; “The theatre is a school of weeping and laughter, a rostrum where men are free to expose old and equivocal standards of conduct, and explain with living examples the eternal norms of the heart and feelings of man”; he was a poet first and studied law in Grenada and Arts in Madrid in 1919; raised on music; highly influenced by NYC (specifically Harlem) and appreciated having a place where he could be open with his sexuality; executed by firing squad in 1953 under Franco regime for being associated with the Libertarian movement and for having a Socialist brother-‐in-‐law Andre Breton (1896-‐1966) broke with the French Dadaists in 1924 and with lots of influence from his buddy, Freud (whose theories of psychoanalysis he introduced to France), created Surrealism, which is named after something in Apollinaire’s play, The Breasts of Tiresias Hugo Ball is a German-‐born founder of the Dadaist movement Edwin Christy and the Christy Minstrels shaped the Minstrel Show art form (see below for full explanation of Christy’s Minstrel Shows) MOVEMENTS/STYLES/TERMS/THEATRES: German Expressionism first emerged in 1901 in French painting; emphasizes inner feelings about objects/life and the belief that beauty resides in the subjective mind; anti-‐ industrialism and technology; into the exploration of the subconscious; wanted to artistically respond to/address social problems; aggressively anti-‐realist; belief that we as a society have the choice to move toward complete anarchy or complete harmony (destructive/utopian/mystic/activist); fundamental truth is found within the spirit, desires, visions, and soul of humanity; had very few strong female characters other than the femme fatale (leading a man to something evil); Reinhard Sorge’s The Beggar in 1912 was the first published Expressionist play and it was uncannily similar to the plot of Pippin; most significant playwrights were Ernst Tolle and George Kaiser (who wrote From Morn to Midnight); very message centered; typically features a search or pilgrimage in which we travel through the protagonist’s eyes; dialogue is telegraphic (short and sweet; parataxis); events are strongly subjective; characters are generic; focus on gesture and pantomime; basically, think Beetlejuice or, like, anything Tim Burton has ever done. Futurism emerged mainly in Italy and had a huge impact on every field in the arts; violent, aggressive, pro-‐war, pro-‐machine, and misogynistic; “We wish to glorify War – the only health giver of the world – militarism, patriotism, the destructive arm of the Anarchist, the beautiful Ideas that kill, the contempt for women”; anti-‐glorification of the past (i.e. museums and libraries); under Marinetti’s theories/influence, consisted of Art of all kinds (picture-‐poetry, kinetic sculpture, Bruitisme [dynamic sound], Sintesi [synthetic drama; extreme brevity, discontinuity, abstraction, alogicality, and simultaneity]); consisted of Serate performed in evenings in cabarets, galleries, etc. which included manifesto readings, poetry, music, art, exhibits, and Sintesi; typically abstract, simultaneous, and ending in violence from the audience, which was encouraged and actively provoked; innovations include: attempt to rescue theatre from its museum-‐like atmosphere, direct confrontation/intermingling between audience and performers, embracing of modern technology and multimedia performances, simultaneity, multi-‐focus, anti-‐literary/alogical, and breaking down distinct separation of the arts. Dada is, by definition, indefinable; most likely the name came from the founders opening a French dictionary and pointing randomly to the French word for “hobby-‐horse”; founded by Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings, Richard Huelsenbeck, Tristan Tzara, Marcel Janco, and Hans Arp; aggressively anti-‐war (largely an active response to the war, which is why they went to Zurich); largely influenced by the aesthetics but resembles Futurism in that it began as a literary movement and embraces simultaneity, noise poetry, etc.; the first Dadaist theatrical piece premiered in 1916 at the Cabaret Voltaire and then really began to emerge in 1920s Paris; very similar to Futurist theatre but a better blend of nonsense with humanity; finally performance, in Paris in 1924, was called Relâche; no artistic innovations of their own since most of it was also Futurist, but specific theoretical innovations include the appreciation of the process of creation and the appreciation of artists as individuals of unrestricted freedom, combatting madness Surrealism focuses on extreme exploration of the subconscious, expression of thought without the filter of reason and morals, automatic writing and painting, intermingling of familiar and strange, alienation, juxtaposition, alogicality, and discontinuity; achieved much more successfully in painting and film (i.e. Un Chien Andalou , Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali); lots and lots of drugs; see André Breton above for more information on the founding theories of the movement Biomechanics, developed by Vsevolod Meyerhold, refers to the idea of factory labor as actor training; relies on the absence of unnecessary and unproductive movements; rhythm is essential; focus on body’s center of gravity and general stability (actors lifted, did acrobatics, etc.); wanted bodies to operate like machines and respond accordingly to anything thrown at them; believed in using the physical to achieve the emotional Theatre of Cruelty, developed by Antonin Artaud, is essentially an inverted Aristotle; privileges the mise en scène over the written text; prefers adaptations and conglomerations of a wide range of texts; claims that theatre is a drug for the audience to sooth them of their pity and fear (i.e. we go to the theatre to be anesthetized/lobotomized); “Violent physical images crush and hypnotize the sensibility of the spectator”; belief that people are inherently bad and more likely to always choose cruelty; theatre should show audiences what it is they’re choosing by reflecting their inherent, internal, subconscious cruelties; the spectacle was the performance, rather than the text; ideally, spectator would be at the literal center and surrounded by the spectacle Theatre of the Grotesque comes from an Italian Renaissance form of painting known as chimera (sp?); grotesque came to mean “fantastical,” at first, and then something disturbing in the 19 century; about characters always on the verge of physical or psychological transformation (think Caliban); rides the delicate balance between laughable and horrifying; according to Victor Hugo, in life, and therefore in the theatre, “the ugly exists there beside the beautiful, the deformed next to the graceful, the grotesque on the reverse of the sublime, evil with good, darkness with light”; main players in Spain were Federico Garcia Lorca and Ramon Maria del Valle-‐Inclan (who wrote Divine Words, the one where the guy gets his face eaten off by a herd of pigs), and in Italy were Luigi Chiarelli and Luigi Pirandello (who wrote Six Characters in Search of an Author and believed that you can never have an accurate depiction of reality or of a person because we always perform somewhat inaccurately); use of elaborate metaphor; ultimately hopeful and positive; existential optimism; multiple truths and realities exist simultaneously Epic Theatre, also referred to as dialectal theatre, was developed by Erwin Piscator, despite often being credited to Brecht, who fleshed it out; purpose is to “democratize the theatre”; relies largely on alienation (see below); uses historical events for plots structure; purpose is to alter the audience’s consciousness Alienation Effect, used in Epic Theatre, is the idea of being brought to the point of catharsis/climax and then being cut off immediately in order to think about why you were cut off; actors should show and objectively comment on a character; rehearsal process (and sometimes the play itself) includes speaking in third person/past tense and/or speaking stage directions; gesture used to indicate inner feelings; direct address used regularly; should be in as open a space as possible; what you see is what you get; no symbolism or illusion; set changes should be visible to the audience and lights should always be up; central character expresses the dialectical debate (i.e. Shen Te/Shui Ta); the audience should always be reminded that they’re watching a play (using mixed media, often); music should actively oppose the emotional moment; audience should be able to judge what’s happening as it happens; should be both didactic and enjoyable Masquerade is a form of African Indigenous performance in which the spirits enter the human world via the mask; also included in Nigerian Total Theatre Existentialism rides on the basic tenant, “who I am defines what I am,” and asks the question of what it means to exist, asserting that people are defined entirely by their actions; a person doesn’t exist unless consciously and freely choosing to act upon their choice; every choice you make will impact someone else and is, therefore, a political act; non-‐conformist; reject labels; see Jean-‐Paul Sartre above Symbolism is the first anti-‐Realist movement and developed in some form in many European countries; inspired largely by Wagner, Baudelaire, and Edgar Allan Poe; based in John Morás’ 1885 manifesto, though the first explicitly symbolist manifesto was written by Gustave Kahn in 1889; instead of finding truth in reality, they were into the “sixth sense,” the ability to ascend mentally and spiritually through art that we all have but only some actually explore; belief that everything is subjective; truth is in the subjective, the spiritual, and the mysterious forces at work in the world, and as a result, truth can only be reflected in symbols and moods; drama itself is a sacred and mysterious rite; considered a subversive assault on morality and the government; akin to anarchism; goal to achieve a spiritual and mental transcendence in the audience; major players include Paul Claudel (The Satin Slipper; considered the greatest Symbolist playwright; known for impossible to stage plays), Paul Fort (formed Théâtre d’Art; audiences were aggressively split between huge fans and people who came to heckle), Aurélien-Marie Lugné-Poë (formed Théâtre de l’Oeuvre, which was much more professional and began every show with a crucial explanatory lecture), and Maurice Maeterlinck (see above) Theatre of the Absurd rides on the notion that a person becomes lost and their actions senseless if they are separated from what they know; absurdity is defined as “out of harmony with reason or propriety; incongruous, unreasonable, illogical”; abandoned all theatrical rules; achieved anti-‐conformity in form and content; influenced by mime, clowning, the grotesque, dad, and theatre of cruelty; unlike the existentialists, they never believed the world would see real positive change; see Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, and Jean Genet above Minstrel Shows were more popular in the North than the South; there was a precedent in American theatre already for shows mocking certain cultures (Jews, Irish, Germans, etc.) that led to the popularity of blackface (“blacking” or “corking” up) by 1832; began with TD Rice and his “Jump Jim Crow” character; minstrel shows didn’t become popular as a full night of entertainment unto itself until the 1840s-‐early 20 century; they are the first uniquely American theatrical form; Edwin P. Christy and the Christy Minstrels shaped the art form, which consisted of the following: Act One (sat in a line with Tambo and Bones on either end and Mr. Interlocutor [the “straight man”] in the middle, told lots of jokes, banter, etc., and ended with a walk-‐around), Act Two (called the Fantasia or Olio; individual comedy numbers full of racially-‐driven comedy and lots of cross-‐dressing), Act Three (the Burlesque, aka the parody, which parodied a popular cultural event or figure); black minstrel performers came to exist, though even they corked up Vaudeville (1860s-‐1930s) is defined as a show consisting of unrelated acts following one another in succession; began in its most common form at Tony Pastor’s Fourteenth Street Theatre (see above); Benjamin F. Keith and Edward F. Albee (not that Edward Albee; his grandfather) formed their own Vaudeville theatre in 1887 and took over their own circuit, called the Keith circuit; Keith got old, Albee took over, and he started charging artists 5% booking fees; standard Nine-‐Act Bill consisted of the following: 1. The Dumb Act (okay to trickle in, you didn’t really need to hear it), 2. The Crowd Seller (usually a male and female singing duet), 3. Wake Up The Audience (sketch), 4. Corker (first big punch and some secondary names), 5. Big Act (headliner or dance number), intermission (at which point raffles could be entered), 6. Famous Comedy Dumb Act, 7. Headliner Playlet, 8. Chief Attraction (major solo headliner, 9. Tech-‐Heavy Act (animals, etc.); often had ridiculous four-‐show days; essential legacy: first cheap/family-‐friendly entertainment, relatively non-‐ discriminatory, and provided excellent training Burlesque (1860s-‐1939) didn’t used to be sexy and was once defined as a plot-‐based, fully composed parody or spoof; Lydia Thompson and her British Blondes first sexualized burlesque with the first all-‐female burlesque that was more about clothing than plot and introduced leg shows; Michael Leavitt and the Rentz-‐Santley Shows (1869-‐1879) truly originated American Bulesque and had more women in tights than actual burlesquing (usually starring Mable Santley); the format was as follows: 1. Candy Butcher’s spiel, 2. Opening chorus number, 3. Monologues/songs/dances/etc., Intermission (now with alcohol!), 4. Another Candy Butcher spiel, 5. Specialty number, 6. Added Attraction (aka strip tease), 7. Finale; the Golden Age of Burlesque came from 1900-‐1910 with the real popularity of the strip tease; the strip tease was primarily monologue, posing, strutting, dancing, singing, and occasionally bumping and grinding (the final piece of clothing wasn’t removed until the last second, after which she would run off-‐stage; there were maybe five seconds of nudity in a ten minute act); the Minsky’s (1920-‐1939) introduced the bump and grind and fully turned burlesque into stripping, until Mayor Fiorello and the supreme court fully banned them and burlesque in general Beijing Opera formed after performers from Anhui province bring pihuang music system to Beijing in 1790; pihuang consists of erhuang (serious) and xipi (happy) music styles; incredibly simple set (nearly bare stage plus a curtain on the upstage wall) but richly symbolic; companies were initially all-‐male but all-‐thmale companies formed later, followed by mixed companies in the 20 century; four types of roles [male (sheng), female (dan), painted-‐face (jing), and clown (chou)] each of which is subdivided and further identified by melodies/pitches/etc.; most actors start in a certain type of role by age 6 or 7 and stay there their entire lives; two types of plays: civil (wen) and military (wu), which are further subdivided into serious (daxi) and comedic (xiaoxi); see Mei Lanfang above Post-‐Colonialism refers to the period in Africa following the Berlin Conference (1884-‐85) which disbanded the European colonies in Africa; in South Africa, this presented as black theatre in the Western Style (i.e. The Girl Who Killed to Save, 1953, which was written in English and performed by black performers) and the Black Consciousness Movement (see Athol Fugard above); in Nigeria, the most populous African country which had an economic surplus from an oil boom and impressive infrastructure and education as well as government funding of the arts, post-‐Colonialism led to Total Theatre (see Wole Soyinka above) Avant-‐Garde, a movement led by Vladimir Mayakovsky and Vsevolod Meyerhold (see above) Eurhythmics is a kinesthetic system of learning rhythm developed by Emile Dalcroze and used by Adolphe Appia, who saw light as the visual equivalent of music and was the first to design a multidirectional light Dialectic is defined literally as, “the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions” or “inquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their solutions”; contextually, it refers largely to the work of Bertolt Brecht
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