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Theatre History Final


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Dates of the Middle Ages
500-1400 CE
When the Renaissance started
1300-1400 CE
Reasons for the rise of the Renaissance
1. Discovery of the ancient world

2. Rise of humanism

3. Invention of movable type

4. Exploration & merchant trade

5. Decline of church & feudalism
Discovery of the ancient world
- Rome & Greece

- Byzantium fell, libraries moved west
Rise of humanism
- Emphasis on study of mankind

- Concern for worth or value in this life
Protagorus said...
Man is the measure of all things.
Invention of movable type
- Already invented, Gutenburg just popularized it

- Quicker printing
Exploration & merchant trade
- Columbus

- Copernicus

- Galileo
- 1492

- Didn't discover, just opened trade
- Earth revolves around sun

- Earth rotates once every 24 hours

- We are not the center of the universe
Reasserted Copernicus' beliefs
Decline of the church & feudalism
- Rise in nationalism

- Martin Luther
Rise in nationalism
Formed city-states or pre-nations
Martin Luther
- Lutherans/Protestants

- Wrote about Catholic abuses (greed, indulgences to forgive sins)

- Three Grievances
Three Grievances
- The individual may know God through faith

- A direct relationship with God is the only source of grace

- Salvation is entirely in the hands of God, not the church
Italian Renaissance
1300 CE
Why in Italy?
1. Italy was the first center of cultural activity in Europe

2. City-states brought wealth to the region

3. Roman-Catholic church and its struggle for power helped the arts
Italy as a cultural center
Big families
- Sforza
- Medici
- Doge
- Esta

City-states all over the country
- Verona
- Venice
- Milan
City-states' wealth and its impact on arts
Art is a sign of the wealthy and of power
Italy's 3 Gifts to Theatre
1. Italianate Scenery (technology)

2. Neo-classical Rules

3. Commedia Dell'arte
Geniuses who sparked the Renaissance
- Dante

- Giatto

- Petrarch

- Boccaccio
- Father of Renaissance

- "Divine Comedy" was 1st major literary work in the vernacular: accessible

- Still influenced by religion
- Introduced perspective into art

- Drop point perspective

- Humanized iconic figures of the Catholic church
- Also considered the father of the Renaissance

- Collected & studied ancient manuscripts

- Championed human issues over theological ones

- Influenced by Seneca & urged scholars to study Greek culture
- Humanist

- "On Famous Woman": 106 snippets about women

- Celebrates corporeal bodies, sex, lust for life

- "The Decameron" written in the vernacular
2 Noteworthy Plays of the Italian Renaissance
- Earliest in the vernacular and most popular

1. Mandragola (1518) by Machiavelli

2. Sofonisba by Trissinio
- Author, statesman, philosopher

- Roots of commedia dell'arte

- "The Prince" about how to maintain power and destroy enemies
- Tragedy, based on Seneca

- Highly popular
Neo-classical Rules
1. Verisimilitude

2. Two forms of drama

3. Decorum

4. Function of drama

5. 3 Unities

6. 5-act Structure
- Having the appearance of truth

- Reality

- Morality

- Universality
- What could happen in real life

- Removal of soliloquy

- Elimination of chorus

- Fewer battles, violence, death & crowd scenes
- Must teach a moral lesson

- God's grand design revealed

- Wicked are punished, good are rewarded

- Melodrama (summer action movies)
- Truth is discovered through your senses

- Examination of the phenomenon on stage
Two Regular Forms of Drama
- Comedy

- Tragedy
- Middle or Lower classes

- Domestic issues

- Everyday speech

- Happy ending

- Lesson learned at the end
- Nobility or ruling class

- History and sometimes mythology

- Lofty poetic rhetoric (highly stylized)

- Unhappy endings

- Lesson learned at the end
- Appropriateness

- Strictly observed

- Know your place
Function of Drama
- Teach & please

- Comedy: looks at behavior to be avoided, nothing to excess

- Tragedy: horrifying consequences of mistakes or misdeeds
3 Unities
- Time

- Place

- Action
Unity of Time
Action of the play occurs in 12- to 24-hour period
Unity of Place
Action of the play occurs in one location (sometimes outside)
Unity of Action
Action of the play follows a single plotline
5-Act Structure
- Educated playwrights

- Got this from Horace
Commedia Dell'arte
- 1540 - 1775

- Comedy of Professional Players (to please and make money)

- origins unknown (may be Attelan farces, Plautus, Terence, Menander)

- 2 Characteristics:
-- Improvisation
-- Stock Characters
Commedia Improvisation
- actors worked from an outline and improvised, the actor worked his/her skill

- every actor plays same character

- made of lazzi: many stock comic bits (one is lazzo)
Commedia Stock Characters: Unmasked
Young lovers (innamorato/innamorata)

- stupid
- naive
- romantic
- handsome/beautiful
- well-educated
- need help
Commedia Stock Characters:
Masked (Masters)
- capitano: soldier, braggart, talks about sexual/military prowes but has none

- pantalone: middle-aged or elderly, merchant/lawyer/banker, fool, runs after young women

- dottore: friend of pantalone, learned, discredited
Commedia Stock Characters: Masked (Servants)

- one smart & one dumb

- always drive the action

- help or hinder their masters

- fantesca: female servant, barmaid, sterotypical, falls in love with other servant, smart/witty, sharp tongue

- arlecchino: harlequin, patchy clothes that evolved into diamonds, juggler, acrobat, smart and dumb, carried a slapstick (loud slapping sound)

- brighella: like arlecchino, but very mean and cruel, sexual appetite, cunning, cynical

- pulcinello: Punch (& Judy), dressed up to look like arlecchino, constantly beating on everyone
English Renaissance
- 1485-1642

- Henry VIII to Puritans
Conditions that lead to the English Renaissance
1. Queen Elizabeth

2. Isolated geographically

3. Nationalism & nation-building

4. Religious stability

5. Rise of economic power
Queen Elizabeth
- 1558-1603

- Long and stable rule

- Virgin Queen
Geographical isolation
- The reason it took so long to get over from Italy

- Stability due to geography

- Philip II sends Spanish Armada to destroy heretic Queen, limps back (3 times) in part due to the weather
Nationalism & nation-building
- Unified government & policy

- Rise of chronicle play (history plays) to record and revere the current times
Religious stability
- Rise of Protestantism

- Act of Supremacy: Elizabeth declares herself head of Church of England in her 2nd year of rule

- Act of Uniformity: sets the order of prayer and prayerbook

- Essentially freedom of religion as long as the affairs of state are not interfered with
Rise of economic power
- Sank the Spanish Armada 3 times

- Colonial powerhouse: go into the New World and bring back what you find

- Control over emerging markets (bankers, investors)

- Literature, the arts, architecture

- Merchant/middle class

- Establishing trade

- Press, coffeehouses, tobacco
Influences that led to the development of Elizabethan Theatre
1. Inns of Court

2. Professional Theatre

3. Establishment of theatre buildings
Inns of Court
Grad School + Internship + Finishing School

- Gray's Inn

- Inner Temple Inn

- Lincoln's Inn

- Middle Temple Inn

- No women

- Rich, noble, aristocratic, educated

- Taught dance, poetry, oration/declamation, etiquette

- Theatre was a tool to demonstrate style and etiquette

- Latin, Greek, Italian, translations of Classics into English

- Next to brothels, links prostitution -> aristocracy -> theatre, theatre becomes political tug-of-war
People from the Inns of Court
- Christopher Marlowe

- Thomas Kyd

- Ben Jonson
Christopher Marlowe
- 1564-1593

- Three plays
-- Doctor Faustus
-- The Jew of Malta
-- Edward II

- Episodic structure

- Invented the chronicle play

- Blank verse: Marlowe's Mighty Line (unrhymed iambic pentameter)
Thomas Kyd
- 1558-1594

- The Spanish Tragedy
-- Most popular of his day
-- Revenge Tragedy
-- Violence
-- Scene within a scene
-- Ghost
Ben Jonson
- Circulated w/ aristocracy

- Stuck to Neo-classical Rules

- "Volpone" or "The Fox" / "Every Man in His Humour" / "Bartholomew Fair"

- Wrote court masques

- Collaborated with Inigo Jones

- Conscious artistry

- Introduced Italianate ideals to England

- Proscenium arch
Professional Theatre
- Strolling players

- Elizabeth outlawed cycle plays & political plays to bring stability (1559)

- Master of Revels: officer who ensures plays get OK from the crown

- 1572 theatre legalized as long as there was a patron

- Aristocracy came

- Lord Chamberlain's Men
Lord Chamberlain's Men
- After Elizabeth died, James (Jacobean) became patron of Lord Chamberlain's Men, they became The King's Men

- Shareholders kick in money

- Hired Men (other jobs, such as cleaning and copying sides)

- Apprentices (young boys assigned to master actors, played women)
Permanent theatre buildings
- People came to you

- Needed a large turnover

- Repertory in case the audience is against the new play

- Audience is always right
Public theatre buildings
- Exterior

- Larger

- Yard/Pit where the groundlings stood

- Gallery: lower - merchants, 2nd - students/aristocrats/literati, 3rd - upper nobility, politicians

- Playwrights had to appeal to all strata of society
Private theatre buildings
- Interior

- Smaller

- Upper class/nobility
Emblematic/Iconic theatre
- Demands that the audience listen and watch

- Emphasis on language

- Minor set (lantern = night, cloak = cold)

- Prompt imagination

- To an active listening audience (40 years later, set design shifts audience from listening to seeing)
Theatre = Evil
- "A Treatise on Dicing, Dancing, Plays & Interludes" by John Northbrook

- Stephen Gosson: "School of Abuse" - echoes Northbrook
- 1564-1616

- Greatest Playwright Who Ever Lived

- Collaborated a lot

- 1623: Folio edited & published (36 plays)

- Lord Chamberlain's Men
Shakespeare's Plays
- Henry VI, pt. 1, 2, 3
- Henry V
- Richard III
- Twelfth Night
- Measure for Measure
- Loves Labor's Lost
- Taming of the Shrew
- Othello
- King Lear
- Hamlet*
- Macbeth*
- Romeo & Juliet
- The Tempest

* = greatest play ever written (? - debate)
Shakespeare's Characteristics
- Strong exposition/action starts immediately

- 2+ plots/same theme

- Action takes days, weeks, years

- Large & diverse cast

- 3D characters treated w/ sympathy

- Rich language (metaphor, mood, symbols, comedy)

- 1st existential playwright
Ben Jonson said in the Folio...
"He's not of a time, he's of the ages."
- Boys' acting company, famous during James I (Jacobean), until offend him and get shut down
Richard Tarleton
Clown in Queen's Men
William Kempe
- Clown in Lord Chamberlain's Men

- Shakespeare was pissed at him frequently

- Famous for "dancing across Europe"

- Started theatre in Germany
Robert Arman
- Replaced Kempe
Edward Alleyn
- Tragic actor

- Marlowe's plays

- Originated Faustus
Richard Burbage
- Originated Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear

- In King's Men
Inconveniences of Theatre
1. Corrupts youth

2. Vagrants (actors are horse thieves, masterless men)

3. Idleness

4. Breeding ground for plague (and STDs)
Theatres in London
- The Red Lion

- The Theatre

- The Globe (built in 1597, burnt in 1613): Henry VIII, cannon caught roof on fire, burned in an hour, rebuilt in 1614, stayed up for 30 years

- Swan Theatre: only interior sketch

- Rose Theatre
Johannes De Witt
- Drew interior of the Swan
William Prynne
- Wrote an attack on theatre and court masques

- called actresses "notorious whores"

- fined, expelled from legal profession, stripped of degrees, prison for life, part of his ears removed
Inigo Jones
- all about spectacle, special effects

- Italianate scenery

- Perspective scenery

- Proscenium arch

- Hid set behind curtain

- Groove and shutter
John Webb
- Inigo Jones' apprentice & son-in-law
William Davenant
- Wrote many of the last masques Inigo designed

- Civil War

- Theatre outlawed

- 1649: Charles I beheaded

- 1660: Restoration
Spanish Golden Age
Felix Lope de Vega Carpio

- Greatest of all Spanish playwrights

- episodic, large cast, ignored Neo-classical rules

- Fuenta Ovejuna (The Sheep Well): most famous play
Calderon de la Barca

- Life is a Dream: greatest play written in the Golden Age

- Wrote Commedias and autosacrementales (ecclesiastical)
- Theatre buildings

- Patio: area in front of stage

- Lunetas: crescent chair layout

- Cazuela - stew pot (all the ladies)

- Gradas - side balconies
French Neo-classicism
- influenced by Italy because Italian leaders move to France and hijack the culture

- Catherine de Medici (married Henry II, three sons: Francois II, Henry III, Henry IV) was her sons' regent and ran France

- Cardinal Richelieu (regent to Louis XIII)

- Cardinal Mazarin (regent to Louis XIV)

- 80 years uninterrupted Spanish influence
Peace of Nantes
Henry VI - no more religious fighting (Catholics & Protestants)
French Academy
- 40 geniuses of arts & letters

- Couldn't run counter to them or you couldn't be a courtier
Pierre Corneille
- 1st great playwright of French Renaissance

- "The Cid" (The Lord/Prince/Hero)

- doesn't follow Neo-classical rules
Jean Racine
- "Phaedra": best Neo-classical play ever written

- failure until Louis XIV became his patron

- Better it reflects Greek, better it makes society
Jean-Baptiste Poquelin
- changed name to Moliere to avoid shame

- Upholsterer (like father) or lawyer - ran away to create L'Illustre Theatre w/ wife Madelein Bejart & her brother and sister

- Louis XIV names them King's Men
Moliere's plays
- Tartuffe - greatest

- The School for Wives

- The Miser

- The Misanthrope

- Moderation in all things

- All in rhyming couplets
Moliere's characteristics
- Based on commedia

- Witty dialogue (maybe wittiest ever)

- Moderation in all things

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