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19th Century American and European Theatre

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Claudia Garcia

on 1 October 2013

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Transcript of 19th Century American and European Theatre

19th Century American and European Theatre
19th Century American Theatre
A - The 19th century was otherwise known as the 1800's.
B - Major Characteristics of this time period would be the overwhelming interest in melodramatic, romantic comedies, and drama plays, as well as theater in general. Another characteristic would be the peaked interest in theater over the course of the 1800's.
C - As for scenery, the very basic of scenic technology was used in the first production of these plays. As interest and recognition of these works increased - so did the technology. Instead of moving scene pieces around by poles, new things such as "The Box" set were introduced. Costumes and design also went from being simple works to more grand pieces.
A - Adelaide Ristori, Tommaso Salvini, Sarah Bernhardt, Eleanora Duse were all notable actors of the 19th century. There were countless other actors that performed on stage; but these four were known internationally. to all who enjoyed theater.
B - During the 19th century; theater became increasingly more popular. More stages were constructed to aid the public, as well as other railroad structures to help shuttle people. The audiences were varying levels of the rich, and then lower class. All classes enjoyed theater. The love of theater was exemplified in the many riots that took place during the 19th century. For example, one particular infamous riot was one that took place outside of London’s Covent Garden Theater in 1809 after the stage had been remodeled and ticket prices raised.
Who? (continued)
The technical aspects were handled either by the director of the play (in a more rare case) or the stage hands. Designers handled the wardrobe and costume; though not a lot of money was spent on these dramas and plays.
C - Thomas Wignell was indirectly important in the establishing of 19th century theater. He first established The Walnut Theater (previously mentioned) and recruited actors to perform on his stage. Playwrights such as Royall Tyler, William Dunlap, and John Howard Payne were each individually influential in this time period for their work at both The Walnut Theater and in general.
Georg Buchner -1835
Wrote the plays Danton’s Death, Woyzek (unfinished), and Leoce & Lena.
Was against the Romanticism plays
The four main playwrighters that influenced and fueled the Romanticism movement as well were Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Henry James Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats.
Joseph Grimaldi- 1806; Pantomime;
Very Famous in Sadler’s Well and Drury Lane.
He was one of the greatest mime and clowns of his era. He started miming as early as the age of two since his Italian father was one too.
Grimaldi had such a great ability and is seen as one of the greatest of all miming history.
By: Hannah and Claudia Garcia
Both in American and European Theatre
Set props
- “The Box Set” This became of popular use in the 19th century. The Box Set was essentially a hinged together flat that had “practical” uses such as doors and windows that could be used during the play.
Less used pole work to move scenery.
Dramas, romantic comedies, melodramatic performances.

A - Performances were often held during the later afternoon, and although this was a common time for the performances to be held it was not the only. The later afternoon was a popular time to host these acts because theater, at this time, was seen to be a household past-time.
A - The first theater founded in America was in 1809, and was called “The Walnut”. Named this for it’s location on Walnut Street in Philadelphia.
The African Grove Theater was the third attempt at a theater for African Americans, and the most successful out of all the attempts after the Civil War took place.
Ford’s Theater - where Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in 1865.
Who? (continued)
There were many playwrights of the 19th century, though only some were noted and appreciated for their work and became popular. Some of these noted playwrights were James A. Herne, Steele MacKaye, and Augustin Daly.
C - Much like playwrights, there were few noted directors during the 19th century. Often directors also doubled as actors, such as William Charles Macready. Popular directors of this time were Laura Keene, who produced the production of Our American Cousin in 1858. Edwin Booth is another example of an actor turned director. Edwin Booth’s brother, John Wilkes Booth, assassinated Abraham Lincoln.
A - Theater evolved immensely during the 19th century through technology, acting styles, and the way productions were set. New technology, such as the use of The Box, developed during the 19th century. Not only that, but the popularity and production of these plays changed. Post civil war productions were more elaborate than those of pre-war, due to the availability of railways.
B - At first these performances were made in towns as a simple activity that anyone could enjoy, but grew to be a more supply-and-demand ordeal. Theater became a popular pastime in America, and because of that was expanded to even the smallest of towns.
Why? (continued)
Dramas were the most popular play to be performed in the 19th century. They were the most popular to put on, as well as to go see. Actors, costumes, scenery, directors, etc were all picked on their level of popularity among the greater public and their success of past work.
D - Plays began to lose popularity due to the development of modernized (for that time) technology and ideas. Musicals began to gain popularity during the 20th century, which led into the rise of silent movies and the radio.
A - This era evolved from first simple performances of dramas in small towns to wide scale performances held in infamous theatres such as The Walnut. As the popularity of theater grew, so did the grandness of each individual performance. Stage scenery began to evolve into elaborate sets, as well as costume and acting style. Theater became something that only those of a higher class were to attend into something that all classes could enjoy although not often together.
B - Performances grew to be more grand. This is especially true in the years after the Civil War ended, in which many African American theaters began to emerge. Due to the new availability of railroads, it became practical for most towns to have some sort of stage where groups could perform. Dress, stage scenery, and dialogue transformed into a grand production for many towns.
19th Century European Theatre
-In the early 1800’s a large theatrical movement known as Romanticism emerged in Germany.
-During the late 19th century, the audience was beginning to become more democratic and equal.
Was a more suspenseful and emotional appeal
It was also very highly moralistic. For ex; “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”
Inventions change the way of play performances
-Realism- started around 1850.
Arose from French literature and art.
What? (continued)
-They were created by realist artists to portray and show the morals of the middle and lower classes.
Realism was used by Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, Anton Chekov, and Maxim Gorky.
They were against “the well-made play” structure and believed that a more natural movement, everyday dialogue, and ordinary surroundings in the play should be used instead.
-Naturalism- 1880
designed to make sets look as natural and real as possible.
the primary spokesperson and most influential was Emile Zola
What? (continued)
-First time when electricity was used in theatres was in 1881
1806- More historical and accuracy in sets and costumes.
-Special effects started around 1895
One of the first special effects was the “stop-action substitution shot”. They could perform an action and then stop it to replace particular actors with dummies to continue with the shot such as a scene beheading a character.
-Performance were held in Theatres and Operas
-A famous Opera is the Paris Opera which was opened in 1875
-The majority of performance were held in the evenings. Special performance were held in the weekends, but were performed repeatedly during a certain amount of time depending on the kind of performance and director.
Who? (continued)
-Alexander Pushkin- 1831
He was a Russian Literalist; one of Russia’s greatest literalist
Greatest work was “Boris Godunov”
Eugene Marin-Labiche
He was one of the most influential comedy writers of France.
One of his famous plays was An Italian Straw Hat (1851)
-Edwin Booth- 1864
Performed a lot in Shakespeare’s Hamlet
Stopped temporarily after his brother Wilkes Booth, who was also an author, assasinated U.S.’s president; Abrahan Lincoln.
Later was asked to keep performing due to his talents and success.
19th Century European Theatre (continued)
-Duke of Saxe-Meiningen- 1866
Was first director
He worked in all of the aspects in theatre: director, producer, financer, set designer, and costume designer.
-There were people who would design the setting who make charge that all the props and furniture are set in place according to the play.
-In the mid-late 1800’s, the electric lights replaced the candles lights which changed and revolutionized the way of presenting plays.
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