Theatre History II, Week Three
Theatre History II, Week Three THEA 24200
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hannah Levine on Friday February 12, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to THEA 24200 at Ithaca College taught by Dr. Chrystyna Dail in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 30 views. For similar materials see History of Theatre II in Theatre at Ithaca College.
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Date Created: 02/12/16
WEEK THREE 2.8.16 The Russian Renaissance (1850-1900) -Russian theatre as we know it didn’t come around until the Moscow Art Theatre in 1889 but Russian professional theatre emerged around 1750 -Catherine the Great: didn’t want to see poverty, so she created weird, idealized villages along the way for her to stay in when she went to visit the people -If she was travelling and they couldn’t set up these villages, they would set up murals so that she wouldn’t have to see the reality of how impoverished her people were -She was also a playwright/attempted actor; performed primarily French theatre/melodrama (as was the case across Russia at this time) -Russia starts coming into its own with a true sense of national aesthetic after the Napoleonic wars -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 -Mikhail Shchepkin (1788-1863) starred in it 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.” -Alexander Ostrovsky (1823-1886) -Russia’s first national playwright; wrote 76 plays between 1846 and 1886 -Wrote 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 -Chekhov says he became who he was because of Ostrovsky and Shchepkin -Imperial censorship, outdated design, and disorganized rehearsal processes held back Russian theatre -All Russian Conference of Theatre People (1897) came together to discuss how to dominate world theatre, went on to open Moscow Art Theatre -Moscow Art Theatre (1898), founded by Vladimir Nemirovish-Danchenko and Konstantin Stanislavsky -Upper-class-born directors; VND managed and KS acted -VND was arguably the more seasoned theatre professional; Stanislavsky kind of dabbled -Stanislavsky took his last name from a Polish actor so as not to tarnish his family name -Original company of 39 members lived together communally during the first summer -Stanislavsky was originally pretty dictatorial in his directing -He followed Meiningen’s prompt books but he misunderstood and thought everything had been fully planned out ahead of time -He took his entire life to develop his methodology; we only really look at the first third of it because we’re lazy -First production: Tsar Fyodor by Tolstoy on October 14 , 1898 -People accused them of copying Meiningen Players -Turned to Chekhov for help and he brought them The Sea Gull (which had previously bombed in St. Petersburg because the actors fucking sucked) -Olga Knipper (his wife) played the empress in Tsar Fyodor; Chekhov fell madly in love with her, did The Sea Gull for her, and eventually, married her -Opened their own space in 1902 (where they still are today) -1200 seats (fairly intimate), revolving stage, modern lighting/scenery -Successfully separated from Meiningen Players because of Chekhov -Made Russia one of the most theatrically advanced countries basically over night -Produced 5-7 classics/proven successes and 3-5 new works every year -Became known as “The House of Chekhov” and adopted the sea gull as an emblem -Chekhov’s plays for MAT were all set in rural Russia and focused on what it means to want vs. achieve -All violence appears offstage and plays end before a complete reversal -Seemingly trivial and mundane but actually brilliantly nuanced -No villains; most characters are normal victims of circumstance -If you do them right, they should be comedic 2.12.16 (excuse the weird formatting; I had to take notes on gmail) The Independent Theatre Movement Naturalism: 1880-1914 Emile Zola (1840-1902), French -Wrote horrible plays but had fantastic theories -Most Naturalists were Socialists -Goal to depict photographic reality onstage (not the same thing as Realism; the Realists understood that photographic reality is not a thing people actual want to aspire to because it ruins creativity/imagination, is super boring, and isn't actually achievable) -Goal to achieve Marxist theory on stage - they loved Marx, Comte, and Darwin -Karl Marx: "It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness." -Don't try to put a pure socioeconomic issue on stage; that's boring as fuck and the Naturalists didn't get that, so they didn't do well -Dialogue? Usually super boring. -Today, reality TV and everyday life performance art are the closest we really come to Naturalism Théâtre Libre (1887) -Naturalism didn't last long but it lead to this -Andre Antoine (1858-1943) formed it with amateur actors in Paris; started with the goal of producing works by banned authors -Genre called comédie rosse -Series of short plays was received pretty well in 1887, so he started a new project, quit his day job, and created the Theatre Libre -Operated on a subscription basis -Goal to create the complete illusion of reality -- HAD RAW CARCASSES OF BEEF for a play called The Butcher -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 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 -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" -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 -Those with imagination are in tune with and create the sensual; others interpret
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