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Drama 2


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-Aristotle's Poetics were lost until the fall of Constantinople - Unities of time, place, and action - No mixing of genres (comedy and tragedy) - Plays must be 5 acts - Decorum: characters must behave according to universal truths
Neoclassical Ideal comes to France
- Henri II maries Catherine de'Medici and the establishment of the French Academy in 1629
Cid Controversy
- Georges de Scudery - plot is predictable - "Chimene marrying her father's murderer goes against universal truth"
Pierre Cornielle in reponse to the Cid controversy
- play is very popular - you insult the noble people who like it - you're jealous * Cardinal Richelieu refers the play to the Academy
The "Opinions"
- written by Jean Chapelain - not only is the marriage obejectionable - too much appens in 24 hours - there are some truths that we must supress for the good of soceity
Once Charles II restored to thrown after he stayed in France during the Commonwealth
- England embraces the Neo-classical ideal and Italianate scenery - "restoration comedy" observes the unities, but is bawdy and licentious - women must be on the stage to play women roles
The Enlightenment
- the rise of Domestic Drama - 18th century - growing middle class - Restoration theatre doesn't reflect their views
Georges de Scudery
the critic of the Cid
Jeremy Collier England
- Theatre shouldn't be shut down, it should be used for instruction - 1698 - "A short view of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English stage" 1. people use profane language 2. charcters, women in particular, behave immorally 3. sneaky people are rewarded and good, punished 4. plays often make fun of the clergy
In France.. 1770s, several volumes of Denis Diderot's Encyclopedie argues
for the adding of genres - domestic tragedy and comedy concerned with virtue
Voltaire from France
confesses that he likes Shaekspeare and muses that it is too bad Shakespeare hadn't been born in a civilized country like France. Referred to his tragedies as "shining monsters"
Germany, known as "the place" in 1770s
had the Sturm und Drang movement (Storm and Stress) - reaction against rationalism, classical idea
- happened after the French Revolution in late 18th and early 19th century - new regard for folk culture (French last to convert out of neoclassical) - shakespeare gains popularity - emotion, relgion, nature, individualism
German Romanticism
- Friedrich Schiller - Triology (Wallenstein's camp, W. death, the Piccolominis) also Wilhem Tell - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Faust
English Romanticism
- remember poetry and novels - Samuel Coleridge: Rime of the Ancient Mariner (water water everywhere..) - Mary Shelley's: Frankenstein
French Romanticism
**After the French Revolution** - 1st romantic play in France, "Hernani" by Victor Hugo starts a 45 day riot
Victor Hugo argues
that it is important to show both the sublime (our spiritual qualities), and grotesque (our animal nature)
Why was Victor Hugo's "Herani" such a fuss?
- altered the accepted verse (Alexandrine) - used words which were considered unacceptable - broke the unities - showed violence on stage - mixed humor with seriousness
Novels that fall under the genre of sublime and grotesque
- Hugo: Hunchback of Notre Dame, Les Miserable - Alexandre Dumas: Three Musketeers, Count of Monte Cristo, The Man in the Iron Mask
August Friedrich von Kotzebue
- 1st internationally famous playwright in any language - plays hold stage through 19th century - earliest meoldrama writer; adapts any subject matter for mass public
Rene Charles Guilbert de Pixerecourt
- another popular international playwright of melodrama - over 120 plays including Victor, or the Child of the Forest - Directs own plays, largely because their effect is dependent on spectacle
- clear delineations of good vs. evil - poetic justice (good guy always wins) - happy endings - appeals to the emotions - contrivances drive the plot (mistaken identity, intercepted letters) - musical accompaniment - great spectacle - local color: rebuild particular local on stage (something that you can recreate)
Augustin Daly (Melodrama)
"Under the Gaslight" - famous for copywriting railroad device.. man was tied to tracks and a woman saved him - Daly sued Boucicault for borrowing railroad device for "After Dark"
Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
- despised melodrama beause he thought the music was a trivial part of the performance - wanted a "synthetic art" meaning he wanted to synthesize music, drama, and dance - developed the Bayreuth Opera House to create his total theatre - got rid of division of seats and everyone always had their own music theme
Wagner also caused a resurgence of Romantic Ideals
- wanted to reclaim a mythology of the German volk as the subject of his operas - did this with Tristan and Isolde and The Ring (a series of operas that took 26 years to complete) - his ideas of gesamtkunstwerk and the use of mythic archetypes had a profound influence on the later avant-garde
Naturalism and Realism
- society accelerates, many things invented (Origin of Species, electric lighting used in Savoy theatre London, Freud publishes interpretation of dreams) - human beings are animals - had to change scenery to 3D
Saxe Meiningen Court Theatre - 1866 (N&R)
- centralized artistic vision - rehearsals: hours a day for up to six months - ensemble acting - use of crowd cenes and stage business - historically accurate sets and costumes * in 1874 they perform in Berlin *.. better staging, acting and realistic costumes
Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906) N&R
* Realistic Characters * - no soliloquies, asides, or supernatural characters - everything was psychologically based and logically motivated - Ibsen's stage directions detail how a character appears and what they do and reveal important things about the character - plays dealt with pressing social issues - A doll's house, The master builder, hedda gabler
George Bernard Shaw (1856-195) N&R
- Plays dealt with ideas and social problems - believed in heredity and evolution, but believed more in free choice - "Mrs. Warren's Profession": a young woman discovers hermother is a prostitute and chooses to make her own wa in the world rather thant ake her mother's money
Theatre Libre (Independent Theater Movement)
- Founded by AndreAntoine - Get around censorship by making it open only to members * Emily Zola *.. believed that theatre artists should use the scientific method to observe reality, compared artist to a doctor - (slice of life) - "The Butchers": real carcasses of beef on stage and a fourth wall & furniture arranged like it was a real room - actors would even turn their backs on the audience
The Moscow Art Theatre (Independent Theatre Movement)
- Actors couldn't make sense of the Sea Gull, written by Chekhov - Chkehov's plays dpeict a displaced class of landowners. They are bored and wish to improve their lives, but can't seem to do that Ex. The Three Sisters.. wish to go to Moscow, keep saying they will and ever do - Constantin convinced Chekhov to allow the MAT to do it
Constantine Stanislavsky
- realism through acting - idea of a psychological character - the problem of training actors to do the new plays being written by Ibsen, Shaw, and others ** Actor must: understand script, imagine himself in place of the character (magic if), concentrate on the moment, observe life
Elizabethan Acting History
- Apprentice - boys played minor characters and women until they were old enough to have larger roles = lines of business - once trained an actor would stay in the same type of role his entire life
18th Century Acting
* Four Ranks by late 18th century 1. players of leading roles 2. players of secondary roles 3. players of third-line parts "walking ladies" or "walking gentlemen" - general utility
David Garrick (18th century English actor)
- trained actors - instituted rehearsals - called for more "realistic" style of acting
Charles Macklin
- revolutionized the role of Shylock by attempting a realistic portrayal - sympathetically portrayed and in realistic clothing
Saxe-Meiningen Players
- ensemble performance - crowd members hae individual business - long rehearsal periods 5 or 6 hours for sometimes months -actors no longer responsible for design elements
The method of acting comes to the U.S.
- imported by Richard Boleslavsky and Maria Ouspenskaya - B inspired Clurman, Crawford, and Strasberg who formed The Group Theatre - Strasberg's version becomes known as "The Method" - relies more on emotional recall
- Given circumstance: things can't be changed - Character - the moral, physical and psychological aspects of any given part
the main thing the character wants in the play
Major Obstacle
the main thing that stands in the character's way
moments in the play. refers to an event, decision or discovery that alters the way the protagonist pursues their goal
what the character wants
what stands in the character's way
breaking a scene down into its beats and noting obective and obstacle for each
Fourth wall
the imaginary wall between actor and audience
moving from one side of the stage to the other
moving during the cross of another actor to avoid being on the same side of the stage
upstage, downstage, stage right, stage left
- rear of stage - front of stage - right from actor's perspective - left side from actor's perspective
Modernist Ideas
- there is a singular, universal truth - humans can accomplish anything and science is infallible
Modernist avant-garde ideas
- you can reach the truth through art - people need to be shocked out of their apathy
The Modernist Avant-garde
- symoblists - futurists - dadaists - expressionists - surrealists
- first of the non-realistic movements - Theatre de l'Oeuvre - founded by Aurelien-Marie Lugne Poe **Believed in getting to deeper meaning under teh words through mythology and spirituality** - Inspired by: Edgar Allan Poe, Henrik Ibsen, Romantic poets, The Iliad, The Bible
Ubu Roi
- Symbolist - Staged by Lugne-Poe, written by Alfred Jarry - A vulgar and sigusting parody of classical tragedy (mostly Macbeth) - A man kills the king and his family so that he can become king - first word "pshit" causes riot - advant-garde believes audience should be aroused
Futurists - 1910, Italy
* Belief in technology, speed, and machinary * - Associated with Italian fascist ideology (burned Austrian flag - prowar) - Movement: gesticulate geometrically - Filippo Marinetti
Art of Noise (Futurists)
- use words and noises that sound like machinary and artillery
Dada - 1916 to 1920, Zurich
- Sound poems - trying to convey the nonsense of current events - principles of advantgarde: simultaneity and indeterminacy - Cabaret Voltaire, Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball, Emmy Hennings
Expressionists - 1910 and 1920s, Germany
- Distorted line, exaggerated shape, abnormal coloring - Universal character types - Set looks like world as seen through the eyes of the protagonist - Usually attacks war (antiwar), industrialization, and prisons ** suggests a utopian future ** - Ernst Toller "Transfiguration" and "Man and Masses" - Sophie Treadwell "Machinal"
Expressionalists continued...
- no personal names, short scenes - Elmer Rice "The Adding Machine"
Surrealists - 1920s thru 1930s, France
"Parade" (1st surr.) - Two characters from "Parade" by Jean Cocteau and Erik Satie. - Decor and costumes for "parade" by Pablo Picasso, Paris - May 1917
Antonin Artaud (Surrealist)
- Meningitis as a child, syphilis as young adult, addicted to opium and laudinum - Primitivism - looked to primitive cultures for truth - "Theatre of Cruelty" to disrupt logic and help audience find the truth in their sub-conscious minds - "Theatre and its Double", "Jet of Blood"
Epic Theatre
- Believed in a theatre that would awaken people to reality * Bertolt Brecht * - Used the Verfremdungseffekt (Alienation effect)
Verfremdungseffekt: Alienation Effect
- By Brecht to make the spectators aware of the fact that they are watching a play: 1. The use of projections and other mechanical devices visible to the audience 2. Using songs and narrative passages 3. Having characters refer to themselves in the 3rd person
Brecht's Plays
- "The Three-Penny Opera" "Mother Courage and her Children" "Galileo" - what happens when people don't stick up for their principles (was later revised after bombing of Hiroshima) - Had protagonists that were not very likeable so that the audience would not have emotional attachments
- A label invented by scholar Martin Esslin ** None of these people saw themselves as part of a movement **
Eugene Ionesco (Absurdism)
- Rebellion against conventional drama - "The Bald Soprano" - mostly exercises in nonsense. A parody on language and cliche - "The Chairs" - futility of conveying a message
Jean Genet (Absurdism)
- Reenactment and memory, "play" at gender and race, deviants as important part of society - "The Maids" "the Balcony"
Samuel Beckett (Absurdism)
- Born in Ireland and moved to Paris and began writing in French - "Waiting for Godot" - a play about nothing. Two men wait and wait and wait..staged in 1953 to great acclaim - "Act Without Words" and "Play"
Function of the Director
- form overall vision - conduct preliminary research - work with designers to coordinate look - "block" the show - coach the actors - fine tune elements during "tech week"
Typical Week of Director
- supervise rehearsals (blocking, coaching) - attend production meetings (design ideas, publicity, techincal issues) - amend vision where necessary (budget, actors' abilities)
Timeline of Director
- Board and Aristic director pick show - AD hires director and designers for show - Director reads and does research - Meets with designers and staff to discuss vision - hires or casts actors - "read through" followed by 4-5 weeks of rehearsal - Offers intepretation and shapes acting - "Blocks" - oversees and has veto power on production elements - oversees final tech and dress rehearsals - play opens
People who work with director
- Aristic Director (usually boss) - Designers (set, costume, light, sound) - Actors - Stage Manager (runs the crew) - assistant director(s) - Dramaturg: experienced scholar who handles research and writes adaptation
- Movement: says something about the actor, creates composition, creates a certain flow - director must study the text for specific times when the characters must move
Coaching the actors
Depends on: - style (realism, Brechtian, etc) - ability of the actors - director's background - whether assistants or coaches are employed
Tech Week
- insure that elements are coming together - adjust levels - adjust blocking - give notes to actors, designers, crew - only small changes should be made
History of Directing
- before the 20th century, there were no formal directors for plays - actors learned their craft by apprenticing - there was no need for a unified production (no realistic acting and often no real set) - Actor-Managers were responsible for hiring actors and imposing fines - actors were responsible for their own wardrobe - as the desire for more realism grew, so did the need for someone to coordinate it all
Brecht's views on Catharsis
- designed dramas which left significant emotions unresolved, as a way to force social action upon the audience. - The absence of a cathartic resolving action would require the audience to take political action in the real world in order to fill the emotional gap they experience
- came up with different theatre methods - Spect actors: idea that there isn't a division between people on stage and in audience - image theatre and making body movements (form theatre)
refers to a sudden emotional climax that evokes overwhelming feelings, resulting in revitalization in members of the audience
Community-based Theatres
- The Living Theatre - The Open Theatre - Bread and Puppet - Heart of the Beast
- polish laboratory - "Poor theatre": no costumes, sets, etc.

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