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Theatre History II Week 3 Notes

by: Jared Fink

Theatre History II Week 3 Notes THEA 24200

Marketplace > Ithaca College > Theatre > THEA 24200 > Theatre History II Week 3 Notes
Jared Fink
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About this Document

These notes cover the Independent Theatre Movement, Théâtre Libre, and Aestheticism.
History of Theatre II
Dr. Chrystyna Dail
Class Notes
theatre, history




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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Jared Fink on Monday February 15, 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 17 views. For similar materials see History of Theatre II in Theatre at Ithaca College.


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Date Created: 02/15/16
History of Theatre II Dr. Chrystyna Dail 2/12/16 The Independent Theatre Movement: Naturalism and the Théâtre Libre NATURALISM  1880 – 1914  Photographic realism  impossible to achieve  Strict adherence to scientific observation regardless of entertainment value o “A slice of life” onstage  Emile Zola o 1840 – 1902 o Provided theoretical grounding for Naturalism o Most naturalists were socialists NATURALISTS = SOCIALISTS  Followers of Marxist principles as well as Comte and Darwin  Strived to portray Marxist principles on stage  Society is determined by economic structure/material production  “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.” – Karl Marx o Naturalism  meant to show the upper classes what life was like for the poorer classes o Reality TV  fiction (scripted), yet so real that it seems like you’re watching real people  Naturalism does not last very long, but brings about the Independent Theatre Movement THÉÂTRE LIBRE (1887)  Most of Europe operated under heavy censorship o Most naturalist plays were not allowed to be staged to avoid revolutions  André Antoine o 1858 – 1943  January 1887 – Antoine planned with friends to put on underground plays from censored artists o Friends back out when he wants to do a Zola play  March 30, 1887 – Antoine did a series of short plays done by Naturalist playwrights, was relatively well-received o Théâtre Libre comes from Victor Hugo  Operated on a subscription basis o A brand new idea o Gets you money upfront o Theatre becomes a club  a club/a private industry  government cannot come and censor it  Antoine remains artistic director until 1884 o Plantation-style  1888 – supposed to create the complete illusion of reality o Had raw carcasses on stage for a production in a butchery  Wanted actors to “live” on stage o Had actors speak in normal tones  “The front of the stage must be fourth wall, transparent for the public, opaque for the player.” Jean Jullien  Introduced banned plays by Tolstoy, Strindberg, Ibsen, and Hauptmann to France  Comédie rosse (“Rough comedy/rough theatre”) = Genre Théâtre Libre o Someone who is, on the surface, a perfect human being, but underneath is someone very different  Contemporary example: Christian Bale’s character in “American Psycho” IMPACT OF THÉÂTRE LIBRE  More Independent Theatre o Freie Bühne in Berlin (1889)  Gerhart Hauptmann o Independent Theatre in London (1891)  First theatre to produce George Bernard Shaw  Theatres start dropping Naturalism and Realism  Introduced interest in avant-garde performance  Unique artistic environment for action and characters AESTHETICISM VIEWS OF AESTHETICISM  Emerged in response to Realism, Victorian morals, and the Industrial Age  Elevated Beauty and Art o In order to protest the economic emphasis and moralistic zeal of the Industrial Age (or Victorian Age) o Despised usefulness, efficiency, industry and practicality  Art is valuable within itself, and does not need to be useful or didactic (it does not need to have a lesson) WALTER PATER (1839 – 1894)  Founder of English Aesthetic movement in England  “Not the fruit of experience, but experience itself, is the end.” o The experience of creating is more valid than the art itself  Life should be a work of art, and completely oblivious to/devoid of morals and utility  Developed a small following (including Oscar Wilde) OSCAR WILDE (1856 – 1900)  If you try to be hip, you’ll fail, and then become old-fashioned.  Realism is a “complete failure”  Beauty is the ultimate goal of mankind  Most of his plays written in the styles of the day: Romanticism, Pseudo-social problem, French Symbolism o “The only beautiful things are the things that do not concern us…”  “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895) comes closest to realizing his theories o Wrote few plays that actual emulated his beliefs  Sent to prison in 1895 for sodomy  Died at 44 TENETS OF ART FOR ART’S SAKE  The artist is different from other people in having a predominance of sensuous intuition or creative imagination  An artist is a specialist in the techniques of her/his own art. Philosophers, scientists, moralists and propagandists are not artist  Great art is not created by people of high moral character  Artistic creation is the ultimate goal of life  You either create the art, or are someone who understands how to interpret the art/what has been created o Both are vital, rarely can you do both  Artistic creation is the ultimate goal of life


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