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meiningen players

meiningen players


School: Ithaca College
Department: Theatre
Course: History of Theatre II
Professor: Chrystyna dail
Term: Spring 2016
Tags: Theatre History
Cost: 50
Name: Theatre History II, MIDTERM STUDY GUIDE
Description: Midterm Study Guide
Uploaded: 03/01/2016
8 Pages 8 Views 8 Unlocks

Ms. Ernie Fisher (Rating: )

Great notes!!! Thanks so much for doing this...


What did Andre Antoine formed?

Mid-Term Study Guide

Spring 2016

Hannah Clarke Levine

*I know this looks like a lot of text, but the big chunks are actually lists of facts  separated by semicolons because it makes formatting nicer* 


Andre Antoine (1858-1943) formed Théâtre Libre with amateur actors in Paris; started with the goal of producing works by banned  authors; wrote a series of well received short plays in 1887 then quit his day job and started the theatre (see Théâtre Libre under  Theatres/Companies for more)

Valery Bryusov (born 1873); Russian writer; major member of the Symbolist Movement

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939); one of the first Western theatre artists to show interest in both Eastern and Western theatre  (specifically in Japanese Noh and several Chinese forms); exceptionally anti-Realism (considered a Symbolist playwright); wrote exclusively in  verse; wrote to move the audience almost to a place of trance; form is more vital than content; protagonists are universal characters of  mythological/historical Irish lore; above all: “True greatness cannot submit to those laws which govern ordinary mortals”; wasn’t the most  popular; his writing went over the heads of most of the Abbey Theatre’s patrons; started writing about two characters fighting over what it  means to be human (each representing a different side of an argument)

Why did they considered Henrik Ibsen as the master of true realism?

Annie E.F. Horniman: producing directing of the Abbey Theatre; provides an annual subsidy; was also Yeats’ unpaid secretary for several  years, which is kinda sketchy We also discuss several other topics like cgs 2060 fsu

Lady Augusta Gregory (1852-1932) most popular playwright of the Abbey; managed finances, translated a lot of Gaelic/Celtic languages  so Yeats could include them in his plays, and served other dramaturgical functions; directed many productions at the Abbey; wrote in a realistic domestic literary style and invented/perfected the Irish folk-history play based on oral traditions of the time

Anton Chekhov: Russian playwright; wrote The Seagull, The Cherry Orchard, etc.; largely inspired by Ostrovsky and Schepkin; hugely  influential at the Moscow Art Theatre, which produced most of his plays; all of his plays are set in rural Russia and focus on what it means to  want vs. achieve; all violence appears offstage and plays end before a complete reversal has taken place; seemingly trivial and mundane but  actually brilliantly nuanced; no villains but instead, normal victims of circumstance; if you do them right, his plays should be comedic  

What is melodrama?

W.G. Fay played the lead in Synge’s Playboy of the Western World at the Abbey; his resignation in 1908 due to frustration with the  politics of the theatre was a major component in the theatre’s decline

Susan Glaspell: one of the founders of the Provincetown Players in 1915

Minnie Maddern Fiske: a popular American actress who thought the Syndicate was dictatorial, used unfair pressure tactics and labor  practices, and debased the art of the theatre by reducing the quality of acting and actor training, discouraging American playwrights, and  encouraging the production of “fluff”; she spoke openly against them Don't forget about the age old question of dr odabasi

Georg II, Duke of Saxe-Meiningen (1826-1914) he was the first to take an outsider’s view of the production – he had no other stakes in  the play or production; he just loved theatre, was an artist, and had a huge understanding of total vision (in other words, he was the first  director); in charge of a small, 8,000-person duchy in Germany; started his own theatre there (the Meiningen Players Theater) (Duke by day,  theatre artist by night!); in charge of casting, set/costume/lighting design, etc. and expected the cast to work on a fully realized set in complete  costumes from rehearsal number one; rehearsal processes were as long as they needed to be (he was really in charge); intentionally cast actors  as leads in one play and walk-ons in the next and dismissed those who dared complain; made sure every single action on stage had a distinct  intention and purpose; instead of auditioning actors, he chose people and molded them into what he needed them to be; big fan of mob scenes  and giant casts on huuuuuge sets We also discuss several other topics like physics 161 umd

Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) is considered the Master of True Realism, but he only actually wrote five plays that can be categorized as True  Realism (The Pillars of Society; A Doll House; Ghosts; An Enemy of the People; and The Wild Duck, all written 1877-1884) (meanwhile, he fathered  an illegitimate child!); he didn’t start or end his career as a realist; often considered “Fated to be misunderstood in two centuries” – too radical  for the 19th and too conservative for the 20th; also often compared to Satan!?!

Alexander Ostrovsky (1823-1886) Russia’s first national playwright; wrote 76 plays between 1846 and 1886 with wonderful female  characters; The Thunderstorm (1860) – female protagonist in a loveless marriage has an affair, shouts it from the rooftops in a thunderstorm,  then ends her own life; founded the first actor training school, the Artistic Circle (1865); artistic director of the Maly Theatre; introduced a  national playwriting competition to fully form a national theatre; highly influenced Anton Chekhov

Walter Pater (1839-1894) founder of the aesthetic movement in England; "Not the fruit of experience, but experience, is the end”;  artists should avoid modernity of form and modernity of subject matter because "it is only the modern that can become old-fashioned"

Mikhail Shchepkin (1788-1863) starred in Gogol’s The Inspector General and is considered to be the actor from whom Stanislavsky  learned to act (aka established Russian acting technique); revolutionized acting as a sincere and potent art form rather than a fluffy pastime for  entertainment; poster child for breaking out of a closed class system; Golden Rule of Theatre: “The theatre is a temple for an actor…It is his  sanctuary! Your life, your honor, everything belongs irrevocably to the stage to which you gave yourself. Your fate depends on those boards.   Treat this temple with respect and make others respect it. Serve it devotedly or remove yourself from it. Don’t prostitute your goddess.” Don't forget about the age old question of the four i's of service

G.B. Shaw (1856-1950) born in Dublin; wrote five failed novels; became a theatre critic in the 1880s; admired Ibsen, etc., and influenced  audience tastes and preferences as a critic such that the type of artist he later came to emulate was already popular; Mrs. Warren was his first  major play in 1937; proceeded to write almost 60 plays in 57 years; won a Nobel Prize for Literature; joined the London Fabian Society, which  heavily influenced his first three plays (his “plays unpleasant”) (the Fabians are a middleclass socialist organization believing in gradual,  incremental change working within the system of electoral democracy); ran for/held public office; was brought up on public indecency charges  and seen as a pseudo-anarchist and peddler of pornography, then reacted by openly mocking officials; appealed to females, the “unhappy  prisoners” of the home; accuses the people of being complicit in prostitution by allowing a world with an immoral minimum wage in which  women live in poverty and are left with no other choice If you want to learn more check out 1 cal w cm

K. Stanislavsky founded Moscow Art Theatre in 1898 in V. Nemirovich-Danchenko; was originally a super dictatorial director because  he thought all the notes in Meiningen’s prompt books were fully planned ahead of time; took his entire life to develop his acting method;  

August Strindberg (1849-1912) realist turned proto-expressionist; wrote Romantic Realism (aka Historical Romanticism); read Emile  Zola’s theories on Naturalism and used them to write Miss Julie, arguably the first truly Realistic/Naturalistic play that didn’t suck; definitely a  misogynist asshole, but definitely also brilliant; his “Preface to Miss Julie” had a huge impact on many European directors, including Stanislavsky;  the play successfully takes place in real-time (90 minutes of action in a 90-minute play) and is written in the vernacular and for a completely  realistic set; he was then institutionalized and went through a tough divorce and stopped writing for a while; he eventually bounced back and  got super into expressionism; wrote The Dream Play in 1902 (and had a huge impact on German Expressionism) which is believed to be his  attempt to put Freud’s theories onstage We also discuss several other topics like kin 200

Romain Rolland wrote essay Le Théâtre du people in advocacy of popular theatre

Richard Wagner (1813-1883) wrote his first opera, Die Feen, at 18; wrote Opera and Drama (1852) and The Purpose of Opera (1871),  both of which heavily influenced realism across Germany (i.e. Ibsen, eventually), but Wagner aggressively hated realism – thought it was too  concerned with the every-day and was more interested in great impulses of an entire nation/community/race (not interested in the subjective  or domestic; more into idealism and the Romantic idea of the artist-genius); he also aggressively hated Italian opera (he thought it was self serving, not historical/nationalist enough, and masturbatory [arias specifically]); shifted the structure (fused aria and recitatives to make the  music continuous and flowing); after the 1848 revolution (supported a classless society), he gets banished and puts together his ideas in 12 years then returns and opens his own theatre; his ideal would be drama “dipped in the magic fountain of music”; his specific innovations include:  musicians hidden under the stage and not allowed to warm up in the pit (thus breaking the audience’s illusion); audiences forbidden to applaud  (including during curtain call because there was no curtain call); house lights lowered during performance; no separation of seating; use of a  steam curtain (series of vents above and below the stage to create a curtain of steam that would either hide scene changes or be used for a  kickass actor entrance); synchronized music/lighting/scenery/acting (aka left nothing to interpretation by the actor); all of the above speaks to  equality amongst entire company and not wanting to break the illusion of the theatre to the audience

Oscar Wilde (1856-1900) saw Realism as a "complete failure"; goal is to be as beautiful as possible; most plays written in the styles of  the day: Romanticism, Pseudo-social problem, French Symbolism; sent to prison in 1895 for sodomy; his theories were closest to being realized  in Importance of Being Earnest; art happens when aesthetics outweigh practicality; difference between being in alignment with the sensual  aspects of life and just interpreting things as being sensual; hose with imagination are in tune with and create the sensual while others interpret

Ludwig Chronegk (1837-1891) a pretty mediocre actor who happened to be exceptionally good at taking in everything Meingingen said  and writing it down; basically the stage manager/production manager; edited promptbooks and managed director and tours

Ellen Franz (1839-1923) Meingingen’s third wife; proposed, adapted, and translated plays; served as speech coach for actors; in today’s  terms, she was more of a dramaturge or literary manager

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852), Father of Russian Realism; Ukrainian born but taken in by Russia; The Inspector General is considered the  first Russian Realist comedy; it reveals the corruption of provincial (local) government and features across-the-board flawed characters

Emile Zola (1840-1902), part of the French Naturalist/Independent Theatre Movement; wrote awful plays but really cool theories

John M. Synge (1871-1909) beloved playwright of the Irish renaissance; Synge really pissed people off because he was anti-Catholic;  used immediately identifiable characters (women especially) and plots that made them transcendent; The Playboy of the Western World (1907)

is seen as the perfectly written short play and brought international attention to the Abbey, as well as leading to “The Playboy Riots,” incited by  the play’s anti-Catholic views and sexualized women, took place over the course of a week

V. Nemirovich-Danchenko founded Moscow Art Theatre (1898) with K. Stanislavsky; was the more seasoned theatre professional;  managed the theatre

Eugene O’Neill, playwright who revolutionized American theatre, was also one of the founding members of both the Provincetown  Players and the Experimental Theatre Inc. (we might learn more about him on Wednesday)

Harold Clurman is one of the founders of the Group Theatre

Lee Strasberg also helped to found the Group Theatre; his method acting exercises contributed largely to the emotional unrest and  ultimate decline of the Group

Cheryl Crawford is the third founder of the Group Theatre


Realism comes from the struggle to answer, “What is the nature and purpose of art?”; result of a series of massive uprisings in Europe in  the 1830s-1850s that led to an attempt to theatricalize events in a relatable scientific way; initially emerged with Auguste Comte in France in  1853; emerges from Positivism (belief in scientific approach to any question), Darwinism, and a loss of religion at the emergence of the  Enlightenment; attempts to provide a truthful representation of the real world based on direct observation and written by an  objective/impersonal/unbiased author; many saw it as avoiding the ideal and being limited to unpleasant/boring subject matter; there is both  true and romantic realism

Melodrama emerged from 1800-1880 and was easily the most popular theatrical form of the 19th century in Europe and the US;  enforces a value system to tell us who the good and bad guys are; episodic and takes place in three acts, the first two of which end in an often  literal cliff-hanger; poetic justice must be served by the end; two forms: providential (1800-1825, developed by Pixerecourt, believes in God,  takes place in a Romantic setting, and is based in the belief that people are essentially good and will be rescued from their problems by God) and  materialist (1855-1880, more popular, developed by Dion Boucicault and more based in reality; brings actual social problems to the stage and  relies of the judicial system instead of god)

Aestheticism, “Art for Art’s Sake,” emerged largely as a response to Realism, Victorian conservative morality, and the Industrial Age;  aesthetes thought putting social problems onstage was dumb art should just be freakin' beautiful, thus devaluing EVERYTHING the Marxists/Industrialists/Realists cared about; against usefulness, industry, practicality, and efficiency; founded in England by Walter Pater (1839- 1894); "Not the fruit of experience, but experience, is the end”; artists should avoid modernity of form and modernity of subject matter because  "it is only the modern that can become old-fashioned"

Naturalism came out of a literary movement in France and focused on the idea that actual everyday life should take place onstage in  real-time, which is super boring and never went anywhere for obvious reasons

Little Theatre Movement (began in 1911) was directly influenced by the Art Theatre and Social Protest theatre of Europe and agit-prop;  small houses (299-500 seat houses) with resident actin/directing/designing company; came out of the break up of the Syndicate; consisted of  the Washington Square Players, Provincetown Players, and The Group Theatre

Monodrama I can’t find any notes on this sorry kids

Independent Theatre Movement led to the Théâtre Libre, Naturalism, and Aestheticism


Abbey Theatre (Irish National Theatre) is the first endowed theatre in all of Europe, founded in Dublin in 1904 by Yeats, Lady Gregory, and Synge (check them out for more info on what the theatre was all about); declines because of the Playboy Riots, then the resignation of W.G.  Fay, then Synge’s death, then Horniman withdrew her funding and Yeats starts writing for other venues

Irish Literary Theatre (1899) founded by Yeats, Gregory, Moore, and Martyn; goal to build up Irish literature that reflects the thoughts  and emotions of Ireland; tried to rise above political context (everyone hated the Irish) and produced a handful of nationalist plays; fell apart due  to money and disagreement over artistic vision

Moscow Art Theatre, founded by V. Nemirovish-Danchenko and K. Stanislavsky in 1897, originally had a company of 39 members who  lived communally; first production was Tsar Fyodor by Tolstoy; turned to Chekhov for help and ended up producing tons of his plays; opened up  their own space in 1902; had been accused of copying the Meiningen Players but Chekhov set them apart; made Russia one of the most  theatrically advanced countries; produced 5-7 classics and 3-5 new works every year; still around  

Théâtre Libre (1887) founded by Andre Antoine with amateur actors in Paris with the goal of producing works by banned authors; actors

spoke in normal, conversational tones and faced fully upstage if necessary; "The front of the stage must be a fourth wall, transparent for the  public, opaque for the player," -Jean Julien; led to more independent theaters (Freie Buhne in Berline [Gerhart Hauptmann, 1889] and  Independent Theatre in London [George Bernard Shaw, 1891]); introduced an interest in the avant-garde

Washington Square Players (1914-1918) inspired by Theatre Libré and the Moscow Art Theatre; splinter group from the Liberal Club in  Greenwich Village on MacDougal, which was a slightly subversive group for “good companionship and exciting discussions about art, literature,  sex, and psychology”; “A meeting place for those interested in new ideas”; young artists disappointed by Broadway/the theatrical scene in  general decide to start their own theatre; all were middle/upper-class artists; rent a 299 seat house on E 57th with a small group of subscribers;  run by committee (moving toward the non-profit model); tickets for 50 cents; subscriptions for $5; New American works and European works  that had been ignored; first production (The Glittering Gate) opened to rave reviews with an entirely volunteer cast and crew; dissolved because  of financial troubles and the start of WWI (all the men got drafted)

Provincetown Players (1915-1929) spinoff of the Washington Square Players; founded by George Cram Cook, Susan Glaspell, Robert  Edmond Jones, and Eugene O’Neil; a bunch of hip, relatively wealthy twenty-something theatre professionals go on vacation together for the  summer and hang out in Provincetown, MA; while there, they decide to start their own company, rehearsing quite literally anywhere they can  until they find a small wharf space and finally produce their first play (casually written by Eugene O’Neill), which is a play about a shipwreck  taking place in a theatre where the sea is literally leaking in and washing over the audience’s feet; eventually move to Greenwich Village; split  into two companies in 1923 (Provincetown Players and Experimental Theatre, Inc.); super into independence buuuut then one of O’Neill’s plays  got picked up for Broadway and George Cram Cook went to Europe; O’Neill and a couple of the others decide, then, to start Experimental  Theatre, Inc.

The Syndicate (1896) (also sometimes called the Trust) monopolizes theatre booking for the next twenty years; legal exchange between  Marc Klaw and Abraham Lincoln Erlanger; Samuel Nixon and J. Fred Zimmerman; Al Hayman; and Charles Frohman; held exclusive booking  control of 500 theatres on the most popular booking routes everywhere; people let them do it because they were so freakin’ organized; it  allowed theatre companies across the country to get the best stars and shows without ever going to Union Square; took 5% of gross receipts  annually; the major downside? Told every theatre artist ever that if they didn’t work with the Syndicate, they’d be fucked. If you tried to rival them, they’d play your season a week earlier to guarantee that you failed aaaaaaand so they took everyone’s money; declined because of The  Shubert Brothers, Vaudeville, film, and decreased price of commercial travel

Theatre Guild (1918-1942) basically just a reimagining of the Washington Square Players (started by the same people) but fully  professional; started a couple months after the end of WWI by a board of seven people (six of whom started with the WSP) ; six guiding 

principles: has an artistic director but is governed by a board of managers; fully professional; produce full-length plays; 500-600 seating capacity;  subscription-based; no plays authored by board members; first show goes well but not super well; their next show was considerably more  successful because AEA had a huge strike right before it opened so it was legitimately the only theatre in New York for a while; had 80,000  subscribers across the country at their peak (1930), as well as an acting school; the board dissolves in 1939 but officially closes in 1942

The Group Theatre (1931-1940) evolved out of the Theatre Guild (as a reaction to them getting kind of boring and European) from a  desire to produce the voice of the US; founded by Harold Clurman, Cheryl Crawford, and Lee Strasberg; one by one, they start bringing in other  members of the Theatre Guild; they escape the city for a summer to Connecticut (to, weirdly, what is now the O’Neill Center) and dump all their  money into the Group; start with 27 group members and their families living communally in a one-house building in Connecticut; first play:  House of Connolly, produced in 1931; most cite it as the most stressful summer ever; imagine a lot of actors living together in close quarters  while simultaneously doing Strasberg’s method exercises; Clifford Odets (Waiting for Lefty and Awake and Sing!) becomes their #1 playwright;  Strasberg ultimately resigns because he thinks Odets is a fucking idiot; Stella Adler and Stanford Meisner were also part of the Group; dissolved  due to financial, emotional (communal living is ridiculous), and Hollywood pressures

Meiningen Players (1874-1890) most admired theatre company in the Western world; performed exclusively Western theatre;  introduced historical accuracy in design, ensemble acting, and the idea of a rigorous rehearsal process to Europe; check out Georg II, Duke of  Saxe-Meiningen above for lots of other important details

Stock Companies: independent producing center responsible for casting, designing, and running a repertory with a stock group of  artists; theoretically hire from within their local community; sets and costumes reused; essentially what we now call a regional theatre; was very  popular prior to 1872 and then again after the fall of the Syndicate

Combination Companies: built off of the success of the star and long run systems; theatrical package in support of a star and formed for  the run of a single play; sets and costumes tossed or recycled; resemble what we now know as national tours; incredibly popular between 1872  and 1829


The Cherry Orchard Mrs. Warren’s Profession Trifles Riders to the Sea Miss Julie “The Preface to Miss Julie” “Against Naturalism in the Theatre” “The People’s Theatre” “The Poets and the People” “Preface to The Picture of Dorian Gray”

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