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A Presentation of Elizabethan Drama
Transcript of A Presentation of Elizabethan Drama
"The Theatre was among one of the first Elizabethan theaters built in 1576, by James Burbage
Torn down in 1597 when lease expired
Design of Elizabethan Theatres-
Open air part of arena called "The Pit"
Raised stage, projecting half-way out to The Pit
3 tiers of balconies surrounded stage for overlooking
Usually either octangular or circular; 100 ft in diameter
audience capacity: 1500-3000
Stage dimension: 20' x 15' up to 45' x 30'
Building materials include timber, nails, stone, plaster, and thatched roofs
All natural lighting (Elizabethan England Life.)
Significance to Royalty
Because of the influence Queen Elizabeth had on Shakespeare, he began to write about female protagonists.
In Hamlet and Macbeth, Shakespeare implied that females should not be involved in politics.
Royalty began to watch Shakespeare's plays because he implied political stand points in them.
Nobles sat in the Lord's room while Royalty attended their own private playhouse.
History of Elizabethan Drama
-Theatre arose in the end of the 15th century
-In 1576 the first Elizabethan theatre was built
-Elizabethian theatres resembled amphitheatres
-Puritans greatly disliked the idea of theatre at this time period
-The idea of theatre was not welcomed in London and became illegal
-All the theatres needed to be moved to the south of the River Thames (Elizabethan Era)
Significance to Common People
The plays were often coarse and boisterous, and playwrights and actors belonged to a bohemian class (Social Classes of the Renaissance)
Theatre Pit, aka The Groundlings, and The Stinkards
Women not allowed to go to the theater until 1600's - disguise
Tragedy, History, & Comedy
What was the importance of the arts in Elizabethan society? How is it similar or dissimilar to the importance of the arts in today's society?
A Presentation of Elizabethan Drama
Built into stage for actors to make dramatic entrance
Area below called "Hell"
Change out Props
False ceiling above stage, painted to fit play
Actors to make dramatic entrance
Hoist and pulleys to lower and lift backdrops and props
Place for Actors to hide
Wanted to add the Realism effect
Used a small cannon, placed on roof or in Heavens
To start acts
During play battles(fireworks were also used)
Flimsy metal sheets or small cannon balls were used to make thunder sound (Special Effects)
Music was an added edition in the 1600's
Composers in large theaters made music to fit play
Musicians had a special balcony box
Trumpets were played for Royal entrances
Drums during play battles
Cymbals and bells for stormy effects (Special Effects)
In many plays, killing would take place
For small plays, actors would soak a handkerchief in animals blood
For bigger play productions, actors would hide a sheep or oxen bladder under their sleeves - When hit with knife, blood effects made for a gory scene (Special Effects)
Nowadays, Elizabethan Drama is not only known as an era, but a way of acting.
-Staging conventions common to Elizabethan Theater-
Boys acting as girls
Presentational Acting Style
Play within a play
Actors performed on almost completely bare stages with isolated props
Instead of background imagery, actors used detailed language
Boys acting as girls & Masque
Boys acting as girls:
During the time, it was frowned upon that women act because it was considered rowdy; instead of gentle.
No woman could act until 1660; King Charles II came into power
Until then, young boys played the part of a woman
Men took on the roles of men
Symbolic stories involving singing, acting, and dancing
Performed for the educated upper class, as well as Kings and Queens
Performers were usually well dressed
Eavesdropping & Presentational Acting Style
Mix between a Soliloquy and an Aside
Characters would pretend to overhear each other on instage, then inform the audience of what they heard.
Character being overheard had no idea it had happened
Presentational Acting Style:
Actors acknowledged audience, whereas today we don't do that as much
Movements and gestures are more dramatic
Use of conventions like aside, prologue, epilogue and word puns connected audience to play
Dialogue & Play within a Play
Very poetic, dramatic, and heightened
Upper class dialogue was much more advanced and rhythmic than those in lower class performances
Play within a Play:
Shakespere used the technique evolving the play to be inside the play itself
Most famous example is Hamlet
Only used when there was a purpose
Soliloquy & Asides
Dramatic technique of speaking one's thoughts out loud
Not near another character
Can be long
A character in the play will offer the crowd information about the plot, that only the crowd is "supposed" to know.
Stood in the Yard, or pit: cheapest part of the theatre, there were no seats.
Entrance price was 1d which was equivalent to about 10% of a days wages.
Many of the yard audiences were apprentices who worked in London.
Held up to 500 people. However, the average Elizabethans were much smaller than today's modern man - reducing our perception of the cramped area. (Elizabethan Era 2)
The members of the audience who stood in the pit were often referred to as 'Groundlings'. However, due to the hot summer days they were also referred to as 'Stinkards'.
Many women who wanted to attend the theatre, were not able to because of the sexism involved. Women, if they wanted to go to the theatre, often disguised themselves as men.
Not until the 1600's were women able to attend theatre. Which was 3 years after the Elizabethan era. (Elizabethan Era 2)
Theatre and Drama
Tragedy was a very popular theme of plays during the Elizabethan Drama period.
Some of the tragic playsinclude:
- Revenge, Madness, Mortality, & Religion
- Jealousy, Race, & Gender
- Ambition, Power, & Fate vs Freewill
- Family, Power, & Justice
- Religion, Power, & Wealth
Historical plays were a big hit during the Elizabethan Drama period. They were often used to depict English or European History
Some of these plays include:
-Theatre was a main form form of entertainment
-The Theatre was not always used for performances, it would be used for gambling and some immoral purposes
-Such actions led to the closing of theatres (Elizabethan Era)
About Common People
There are three types of poor people according to the government. (The Poor in Elizabethan England)
The Helpless Poor
Include the old sick and disabled children. The old and disabled rieveved a sum of money or either food for each week. People who were thought to be "Helpless Poor" were not considered to be a burden as the government believed that it was not their fault that they were in their position. Some parishes gave these people a licence to beg. (The Poor in Elizabethan England)
Able Bodied Poor
These were people who could work. Each parish was meant to build a workhouse. The unemployed worked in these making cloth or anything that might benefit the parish. They got paid out of the Poor Rate. They would remain in the workhouse until they found a ‘normal’ job.
(The Poor in Elizabethan England)
Rogues and Vagabonds
This was the group most troubled by the government. These people could work but preferred to beg or steal. The government made begging illegal and anybody found begging was to be beaten until "his back was bloody". If he was found begging outside of his parish, he would be beaten. Those who were caught continually begging could be sent to prison and hanged.
(The Poor in Elizabethan England)
- Power, War, Betrayal, & Fate vs Freewill
Reasons for the Moving and Closing of the Theatre
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Web. 11 Sept. 2014.
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"Elizabethan Theater." Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Sept. 2014.
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Macbeth and Hamlet," Hanover Historical Review 8 (Spring 2000), 7-16, http://history.hanover.edu/hhr/00/hhr00_2.html (Sept,11, 2014)
Marín, Tanya Avíl. "Staging in the Elizabethan Drama." : COSTUMES IN THE ELIZABETHAN THEATRE. N.p., 11 June 2011. Web. 14 Sept. 2014.
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"Special Effects in the Theater During the Elizabethan Era." Entertainment Guide.
Demand Media, 2014. Web. 11 Sept. 2014.
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A Chaste Maid in Cheapside
- Love, Gender, Lust, & Death
Comedies were a big hit during the Elizabethan Drama period and have been since. Some com
-The theatre was home to all types of plays
-The plays featured fighting and drinking as well as inappropriate material
-The theatre also packed many people together which could have just spread the Bubonic plague even more (Elizabethan Era)
The Well Known Theatre Drama
-In 1599 the Globe Theatre was built
-It is the most well-known theatre
-It was closed in 1603 due to the Bubonic Plague
-It then burnt down in 1613
The Shoemaker's Holiday
- Wealth, Love, & Family
The modern day topics, genres, and themes have all been influenced by past plays. (Elizabethan Theater)
(Shakespeare's portrayal of women.)