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Theatre History Middle Ages to 1800
Transcript of Theatre History Middle Ages to 1800
•Theatre of the Church
Troup-short drama scenes used at mass
Were for members of the congregation who where illiterate
•Acted out by preachers and choir boys
Enacted on small mansions – scenes were performed on theses with the crowd moving from one platform to another till the story was finished
•Three types of plays were presented in Middle Ages Mystery Plays- bible stories re-enacted
Miracle Plays- Enacting the lives of the saints
Morality Plays- stories teaching right from wrong in which character personified abstract qualities
Hell’s mouth – which would open and close letting out smoke and flames , complete with scream of tortured souls.
Eventually guilds sponsored theater instead of the church Moving wagons functioned as moving mansions
Called cycles – Corpus Christi
French Word Meaning Rebirth
It was a rebirth because ancient writers were re discovered
Took place mainly in the 15th and 16th century’s
Commedia dell’ Arte -professional improvised comedy performed in the streets for the masses
•Companies consisted usually of 7 men and 3 woman
•Would ad lib action, dialogue, song, and dance around the action •Stock Characters
1550-1680 Theatre flourished in Spain
Influenced by Commedia dell’ Arte and the Italian court staging
Three Major Playwrights
•Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) – better known for his novel Don Quixote. Wrote 30 plays
•Lope de Vega ( 1562-1635) – wrote 2000 plays most of which had beautiful poetry, action, and romance
•Calederon (1600-1681) – 200 plays, a lot of spiritual emphasis
France's renaissance movement starting during the 17th century
• Increased theatre activity gave rise to neoclassicism- a form in which dramatist were supposed to observe the classic unities and write in a restricted verse form.
Mostly Enjoyed by royals
• Playhouses where ornate and extravagant
•Molière (1622-1673)- real name was Jean-Baptiste Poquelin he is famous for wity witty satires
•He change his name so his family wouldn’t be disgraced by having a actor in the family
•Worked as a actor for 12 years in a Commedia dell’ arte company
•He was quite a famous playwright his plays were performed in public as well as the court of King Louis XIV
•During Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) England grew a lot of national pride. Defeating the Spanish armada , going on voyages of discover. And expanding trade.
• Elizabeth loved the theatre , she commanded many court performance and looked after guilds with her status and money
• Next to Shakespeare is considered the best dratist of tragedy in England
• Only lived to the age of 29
• Best known plays: Tamburlaine, Edward II, The Jew of Malts, and Dr Faustus
•Along with Marlowe, Johnson scorned Shakespeare because he was not as educated as them
•Johnson was a classical writer , and fallowed Aristotelian rules
•Most of his work were satire, Everyman and His Humor, Volcone, The Alchemist
First theatre was constructed by James Burbage in 1576 it sat 1,500 people
Richard Burbage (1567-1619)
•Was the son of the man who built the first theatre
•Born in Stratford-upon-Avon
•Played man tragic figures including Hamlet, Othello, Richard III, and King Lear
•His brother Cutbert built the globe theatre
•Played title roles in Marlowe plays
•Alleyn and his partner Philip Henslowe
Constructed the Fortune Theatre north of London to compete with The Glob
William Kemp or Will Kemp
(circa 1560- about 1603)
Reportedly Shakespeare wrote the part
for the scene stealing actor but Kemp made it his own
Greatest success was as Nick Bottom from a Midsummer's Nights Dream
Restoration Theatre and the 18th Century
•Came with the restoration of monarchy in England in 1660 with King Charles II•He came form France to take back the throne and brought with him what he thought was theatre based on the things he was seen in France
•Since Elizabethan Play house had been torn down by puritans , new play house were built with a deep apron and a proscenium arch
•Flats and Curtain were painted in perspective and spaced onstage to give the illusion of distance
•Oil lamps and candles were used for light
•Woman were allowed to act!
•The audience were sophisticated Autocracy
Plays were comedies of manners.
Restoration ended in 1737 when the Parliament passes the Licensing act , which limited London to only two theaters, Covent Gardens, and Drury Lane. All others were illegal
Where we get the term legitimate theatre- now the term any live performance of plays
Comedy of Manners
•Later in the century (ruffle time of American Revolutions) two other English dramatist Oliver Goldsmith(1728-1774) She stoops to Conquer & Richard Brinsley Sheridan (1751-1816) made the comedy of manners what it is today
Other Great Actors
David Gerrick ( 1717-1779) – actor and director credited for creating the less bombastic style of acting , meaning it was less pompous and overdone
Sarah Kemble Siddons (1755-1831) and her brother John Philip Kemble (1757-1823)
Edmond Kean (1787-1833)