Theatre History II, Week Ten
Theatre History II, Week Ten THEA 24200
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This 3 page Class Notes was uploaded by Hannah Levine on Sunday April 17, 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 15 views. For similar materials see History of Theatre II in Theatre at Ithaca College.
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Date Created: 04/17/16
WEEK TEN 4.11.16 Russian History: -1914-1917 Russia involved in WWI -March 15, 1917 Tsar Nicholas II abdicates the throne -November 7, 1917 Russian Revolution (Kerensky overthrown by Lenin and Bolsheviks) -December 3, 1917 Russia signs armistice with Germany -July 16-17, 1917 Bolsheviks murder Tsar and his family -1919-1921, Russian civil war -Vsevolod Meyerhold -One of the most powerful people in Russian theatre during the 1920s -Avant-garde, communist (Bolshevik) supporter -First director who is the people’s artist of the republic (respected by Communists) -Influenced by Taylorism (Frederick Winslow Taylor; theories on how to industrialize labor, i.e. the factory line, efficiency, etc.) -Known now for biomechanics and constructivist set design -Wanted to pair proletariat ideals with theatre (actors same as any other laborer) -Factory labor as actor training (biomechanics) -Absence of unnecessary, unproductive movements -Rhythm is essential -Body’s center of gravity -Stability: actors lifted, did acrobatics, etc., so they could always be stable -Wanted bodies to operate like machines and respond accordingly to anything thrown at them -Believed in using the physical to achieve the emotional -Constructivism: machine-like setting, moving sculpture, steps, platforms, ramps, all actors in uniform coveralls -Yevgeny Vakhtangov (1883-1922) -Developed fantastic realism (a blend of expressionism and early Stanislavsky) -Revisionist director (little respect for playwright; reworked everything) -Tailored direction to what he thought the audience’s reaction should be by exploring with actor improvisation (etudes) -Vladimir Mayakovsky (1893-1930) -One of the most controversial and popular playwrights in Russian history -Stalin referred to him as the best poet -Loved and respected by pro- and anti-Stalinists -The Bedbug (1928) -Leader of the avant-garde movement -Died playing Russian Roulette -Meyerhold was his favored director (they worked together a lot) -Form vs. function -Meyerhold was accused of Formalism when he directed Mayakovsky’s The Bath House in 1930, which deeply offended Stalin -Meyerhold’s demise: he held his own ideals over everyone else’s (not so communist) -Wrote avant-garde pieces under a pseudonym -Eventually wanted the other half to disappear and just wanted to be avant-garde -Stalin then decides that only socialist realism is acceptable in Russia (the dullest fucking plays on Earth) -Arrested in 1939 and executed in 1940 (his wife, Zinaida Raikh, was murdered and mutilated soon after his arrest) 4.12.16 Theatre of the Grotesque (Lorca and Pirandello) -Doesn’t mean what you think it means!!! Think Lady Gaga. -Grotesque is an agent of transgression; comes from an Italian form of painting, then moved on to mean “fantastical,” then came to mean something disturbing in the 19 century -About characters always on the verge of transformation (physically or psychologically) -“We are always becoming,” –Ernst Bloch -i.e. Caliban, The Tempest; Bottom, Midsummer -Delicate balance between laughable and horrifying -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,” –Victor Hugo -Schopenhauer, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche -Miguel de Unamuno -Man is a diseased animal -Spain: Ramón María del Valle-Inclán (1866-1936) -Really believed that we see life as very distorted -“Truthful visions arrived at by a mathematics of concave mirrors” -Believed Spain was deformed -Divine Words (1913) -Reveals the grotesque nature of Spanish society as a corrupt country hiding behind a religious façade -Bid to win the “village idiot” (literally, a mentally disabled person); the most beautiful woman wins him then grows tired of him, abuses him, and leaves him for dead in a wheelbarrow while she cheats on her husband (a religious leader); meanwhile, a herd of pigs comes by and eats the “village idiot’s” face off; the town rises up against the beautiful woman for having an affair (not, you know, for murder), strips her naked, and starts stoning her; her husband comes out and saves her by saying a prayer in Latin to shame the town, but none of the even speak Latin Federico Garcia Lorca (1898-1936) -Highly influenced by Surrealism -Banned during the Spanish Civil War and for most of Franco’s regimes -“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 an feelings of man.” -Italy: Luigi Chiarelli (1884-1947) -Focused on themes of adultery and keeping up social appearances -The Mask and the Face; a grotesque in III acts (1916) -Chimeras (1919) Luigi Pirandello (1867-1936) -Six Characters in Search of an Author is ridiculously philosophical -We can never have an accurate depiction of reality -Emphasizes the illusion of reality in all of his plays -Fixity versus flux -You can never know a true person because we always perform somewhat inaccurately -“Illusions of reality represented in this fatuous comedy of life that never ends, nor can never end! Because if tomorrow it were to end…then why, all would be finished.” -Use of elaborate metaphor (visual and literary; often uses masks, both physical and metaphoric) -Ultimately hopeful and positive; existential optimism -Multiple truths and realities exist simultaneously
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