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Dramatic Theater Timeline

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Jasmine Axnix

on 24 January 2013

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Transcript of Dramatic Theater Timeline

By Jasmine Axnix Dramatic Theater Timeline Primitive Theater Modern Theater Humans have always learned from imitating one an other. Imitation is the basis of all theater. We don't know much about how theater started because of the lack of written recordings, but there was still a couple of things written down from the primitive times. Some members of tribes who went on the hunt reenacted the hunt to the rest of the tribe to let them know how the hunt went. Some hunters portrayed animals, and some portrayed the tribe members. They may have used animal skins as animal costumes. This was the primitive people's form of theater. As time passed, the theater evolved. The tribe members started acting out successful hunts before they went on the hunt for good luck. The hunting rituals and others like it continued to increase. Overtime the tribe chose a member to over see all the rituals. This person was called a shaman. In these times, religion and theater went hand in hand. Theater was part of almost all religious ceremonies. The Renaissance The Restoration The musical is a form of art that combines acting, song and dance into one production. The musical is the most popular kind of theatrical entertainment today. The musicals first appearance was in the 1800's in the United States. The early musicals had a strong European influence. The Black Crook was the first musical to be performed. It was performed in 1866. In the early 1900's, George Cohan was the first major american-born composer of musicals. He wrote Little Johnny Jones and 5 Minutes From Broadway. Cohan also wrote many patriotic songs including Yankee Doodle Boy and Over There. A lot of the popular music came from Broadway musicals. One of the most popular songs was Old Man River. Oklahoma! by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein opened on Broadway in 1943. Rodgers and Hammerstein dominated the musical theater industry for several years after that. Some of their other musicals were The Sound of Music and The King and I. In the 1950's and 1960's many other musicals became very successful like My Fair Lady and West Side Story. Englishman Andrew Lloyd Webber was also a big part in the musical theater industry. He wrote Phantom of the Opera, Evita and Cats. The Musical New trends with scenery and lighting started to appear in Modern Theater. Adolphe Appia and Gordon Craig became to use three dimensional scenery instead of two dimensional painted scenery. They also made the lighting more realistic. After World War II, many new playwrights emerged, like Arthur Miller. He wrote Death Of Salesman and The Crucible. During the last half of the 20th century, a series of "half-realistic" styles appeared, but they did not remain important. During the latter of the 20th century, many theaters were established throughout the United States, like The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and The Arena Stage in Washington D.C. Many minority productions begun to be produced in the 1960's. There was many minority groups but the most successful was the African-Americans. The first African-American playwrights to achieve major success was Lorraine Hansberry. Recent productions continue to increase the use of multimedia technologies and performance arts. Today's theater is a mix of styles. There are always large periods of growth with the technology and the audience as more and more people are interested in live theater. Greek theater began in Greek festivals over 2,500 years ago. The festivals were made to honor the Greek god Dionysus. Over 15,000 people attended these festivals each year. There first plays were told by men and boys in something called a chorus. According to legend, one day a man named Thespis came out of the chorus and spoke alone. He was the first actor and to honor him we call actors Thespians. The masks of comedy and tragedy have became symbols of theater from the Greek era. Each actor wore different mask to portray different people in the play. Soon, Greek playwrights entered their plays in contests to try and win money and an ivy wreath to wear as a symbol of victory. They satyr play made fun of Greek legends. That's where the word satire comes from. Some of the most important Greek playwrights were Medea, The Birds, The Frogs and Electra. Aristotle was the first literary critic. He wrote The Poetics, which had all the important topics in theater including music, diction, plot and theme. Greeks used the natural slope of a hill to build their theaters on. The audience would sit on the hillside. In a large circle on the foot of the hill would be called The Orchestra, which is where the chorus would go to chant their lines. Behind the orchestra was a raised platform where the actors performed. Our word scene comes from the word skene (where the actors would change masks). A lot of Greek stages had machinery such as a device to lower an actor down onto the stage. This was usually used when they had to represent a god coming onto earth. Most historians agree that the Greek era was one of the most important times in theater history. Greek Theater The Middle Ages Theater was at its peak during the Greek era and continued threw the Roman Empire, but stopped during The Middle Ages. Some refer to the this era as The Medieval Ages, or sometimes The Dark Ages. At first, the leaders of the church outlawed theater, but years later theater was reborn as church services. These short scenes within church services were called tropes. Soon tropes became more elaborate and priests began to perform more that one trope at each service. Tropes that were shown together were called cycles. Soon there was small stages built in every church for cycles to be performed on. Eventually, Pope Innocent II ordered cycles to be moved outdoors. They were performed on large floats so it was easy to perform the cycles in different locations. These floats were called pageant wagons. Theater had regained importance by the end of the Middle Ages. At the end of the era, people started to write non-religious plays once again. The Renaissance began in Italy where theater moved indoors. They also created realistic scenery. The Italian stage was set within the proscenium. This was an arch that served as a picture frame to the audience. When the curtains lowered then arose again, there would be new scenery which was a surprise to the audience. This was done but lots of machinery. These elaborate productions evolved into opera. A type of theater called Commedia dell' arte became popular with the middle and lower classes around the same time that opera became popular. Wandering troupes and actors performed the Commedia through the countrysides. Some important characters of the Commedia were Harlequin, a servant known by his costume and Pantalone, a foolish man with large baggy trousers. That's where the word pants comes from. Eventually, The Renaissance spread to Europe. The courts of the French Kings Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI imitated the Italian theater. At the same time in Paris, troupes similar to the Commedia were performed on the countryside. Religious plays were performed in Spain, similar to the Middle Ages. The Renissance came to England later during the Elizabeth Age. There was multiple writers in this age, but they were all overshadowed by William Shakespeare. He composed about 36 comedies, trageties and histories. Everyone enjoyed his plays. Shakespeare's Theater The Restoration began a new and different era of theater history. When Charles II returned to England, he brought many positive changes to theater. He presented royal patents to 2 of his friends. These patents gave permission to establish 2 official theaters. For many years, these were the only two groups allowed to perform in London. One of these groups built a theater called Drury Lane. This theater still operates today. Charles II also allowed woman to perform on stage in England. In the 1660's, the 1st actress performed on stage and after that the idea of actresses became very popular. A few of the 1st famous actress' were Elizabeth Barry and Nell Gwynn. Most members of the Restoration audience was upper class. People of all classes rarely went to the theater. Many of the audience members went to be seen rather than see the plays. Wealthier people even sent servants to save them the best seats early before the performance. Ladies whom attended plays usually wore masks to hide their identities. Some major plays in this era were The Country Wife by William Wycherley and The Way Of The World by William Congreve. William Shakespeare and his partners built The Globe in 1599 in Southwark, on one side of the Thames river. This was the major entertainment during this era. The Globe was a 3 story building with a hut on the top of it. On performance days, the owners would raise a flag on the top of the hut. The pit was an enclosed courtyard beside the stage inside The Globe. People who paid the lowest price for their ticket stood in the pit. People who bought more expensive ticket sat in galleries surrounding the stage. People in the pit had no roof over them unlike the people galleries. If you stood in the pit, you had no protection from the bad weather. Most of the action in the play happened on main stage. Main stage was located near the pit. There was a trap door in the middle of the main stage for actors to emerge from during the performances. A roof covered the stage area to protect the actors and their costumes from harsh weather. The room at the back of the main stage was called the inner below. It was used for indoor scenes in plays. The balcony at the rear of the main stage was used for actors to overlook the stage. The Inner above was located on the balcony as well and was used in the same manner as the inner below. Scenery was not used in Shakespeare's time so the audience didn't expect the plays to be realistic. They did use colourful costumes, music and special sound effects. Romanticism & Realism Romanticism presented life as people wished it would be rather than it is. That is why is was the majority or literary and artistic form during the 19th century. romanticism began in Germany and quickly spread to other countries. The most popular type of romanticism was melodrama, In melodrama plays, the hero always succeeded and there was always a clear distinction of good and evil. Realism was the next major artistic form. Realism presented things as though it was in real life. It often dealt with social problems. In realism, the mind ruled over the emotions. Eventually the audience loved realism, but at first no one liked it because it didn't usually have happy endings. They preferred romanticism. Romantic actors exaggerated vocal techniques and gestures to prepare for realism plays.
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