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Restoration and Neoclassic Theatre

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stewart hawley

on 30 November 2017

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Transcript of Restoration and Neoclassic Theatre

Restoration England
Neoclassic France
Frenchie Power and Prestidge 1620s
Cardinal Richelieu 1586-1643
Perspective scenery, angled wings, back shutters, raked stage, scene shifting
Neoclassic ideas begin to affect French playwrights
Pierre du Ryer-Scevole (Savol) 100 years in performance
Pierre Corneille- Le Cid 1636-37

The Le Cid Controversy
based on Gullen de Castro The Youthful advetures of Le Cid
Corneille compresses the play into 5 acts
twenty-four locations in a single town
revolves around love vs. honor
forces the lovers to chose bt. love and honor of family
very popular success

Le Cid cont.
unity of time was observed
very complexed incidents into a 24 hour time frame (a war)
Chimene's agreement to marry the man that killed her father just 24 hours ago
Richelieu promotes the formation of The French Academy

The French Academy 1629
the study and codification of French language and style
French academy discusses the value of Le Cid
Jean Chaplain offers the verdict
praises it for its neoclassic ideals
condemn it for its deviations

Corneille- stopped writing for two years began again in 1640
wrote: Horace, Cinna, Polyeucte (each center around a hero who chooses death over dishonor.
His comedies were also notable: considered best French Comic writer behind Moliere
Most of his work centers around sa hero who chooses death rahter than dishonor
wrote his last play in 1674 Surena
Early Companies in Paris
Hotel de bourgogne 1629
Gros-Guillaume- founder
Bellrose (Pierre le Messier) dignity to theatre
Theatre du Maria 1634
Montdory- founder
Le Cid was played here 1630s
converted tennis court
Italian Scenery 1640-
Cardianl Richelieu- Palais Cardinal= Palais Royal
1st theatre w/ permanent proscenium 1641
Giacomo Torelli to France- to design a Comedia play
Torelli's setting for Act II of Corneille's Andromode
Torelli created the chariot-pole method of shifting scenery for Orphe
Corneille wrote Andromede (play with machines)
Gaspare Vigarani
built largest theatre in Europe : Salle des Machine 1662
52 ft wide ,232ft long, 140ft stage
1660s ballets and Operas were the king
comedy ballet's written ny Moliere & Lully
Lully goes on to become the founder of French Opera
French Playwrights
Pierre Corneille- Le Cid (1636), set the standard for French Comedy w/ The Liar (1643)- known for simple characters and complex plots
Thomas Corneille: Pierre's younger Brother-wrote over 40 plays: Ariane (1672), the statue's Banquet (1673), The Count of Essex (1678)
Most of his tragedies center on a Hero who chooses death over dishonor
Jean Racine- (1639-1699) simple plots with complex characters: Phedre(1667) (the fallout. bt. Moliere and Racine) w/ Alexander the Great
big argument over his work (Racine ) and Shakespeare.
Jean Moliere (1622-1673): Comedy of Manners- the school for Husbands (1661), the school for Wives (1662), Tartuffe (1664): Tartuffe controversy:Comedy as a reflection of everyday life-- Comedie Francaise
Famous French Actors
All came from Moliere's troupe
Madeleine Bejart-induced Moliere to become an actor
Genevieve Bejart-played the female young lover role
Louis Bejart-comic valet
Armande Bejart- Moliere's wife

Mlle DuParc*
Mlle Champmesle
Michel Baron
Mlle Duclos
Mlle Desmares
Michel Baron-"realistic" acting style aka Garrick

Shows were cast by the author: actors were forbidden to refuse a role
Authors staged their plays
70 plays in active rep. rotated in a daily change of bill
actors used their own clothes

Comedie Francasie played 352 performances a year
plays were the property of the compnay

The Restoration of the Monarchy w/ Charles II
The Theatre was considered royal property
John Rhodes opens The Phoenix/Cockpit
Sir Henry Herbert resumes as the Master of Revels (not in London)
Charles II gives exclusive rights to Thomas Killigrew and Alexander Davenant to hire actors and perform plays
Killigrew becomes Master of Revels in 1673
George Jolly is commissioned to train young actors
The Adventures of Killigrew and Davenant
Killigrew began w/ experienced actors
delegating his authority to three of his actors
Davenant began w/ young performers
supervised his theatre closely
devleoped famous actors: Thomas Betterton & Henry Harris
The Verdict
Killigrew and his company was in financial crisis
Killigrew's troupe was wracked with constant disension
1682 Davenant and Killigrew merged to form a single group which lasted to 1695 (Davenant flees in 1693 and Chris Rich takes over)

Thomas Betterton forms another group from 1695-1708
Restoration Drama 1660-1700
Master of Revels divided Elizabethan play bt. companies
Beaumont and Fletcher were most popular
Ben Jonson seldom produced but admired
Shakespeare re-worked
Heroic Tragedy
idealistic hero & beautiful heroine
their mutual love precipitates other events that bring ruin to themselves or others (family, country, world, universe, space)
filled with ranting speeches and contrived happy endings w/ rhyming couplets
John Dryden 1631-1700
The Indian Emperor
The Conquest of Granada parts I & II
Roger Boyle 1621-1679
The Tragedy of Mustapha
Elkanah Settle 1648-1724
Cambyses, King of Persia
Nathaniel Lee 1653-1692
The Rival Queens
George Villiers 1628-1687
The Reharsals- spoofed heroic drama
outlasted the style up to the early 1800s
Restoration Tragedy
written in blank verse
followed neoclassic rules!
simple plots
observes three unities (action, place, time)
The unity of action: a play should have one main action that it follows, with no or few subplots.
The unity of place: a play should cover a single physical space and should not attempt to compress geography, nor should the stage represent more than one place.
The unity of time: the action in a play should take place over no more than 24 hours.
Three Unities
John Dryden
All For Love- reworking of Anthony and Cleopatra
Thomas Otway 1652-1685
The Orphan
Venice Preserv'd
Comedy of Intrigue
also called comedy of situation, in dramatic literature, a comic form in which complicated conspiracies and stratagems dominate the plot. The complex plots and subplots of such comedies are often based on ridiculous and contrived situations with large doses of farcical humour.
Aphra Behn 1640-1689
The Rover part I & II
Edward Ravebscroft 1671-1697
London Cuckolds
Comedy of Manners- satirizes the manners and affectations of a social class or of multiple classes, often represented by stereotypical stock characters
The plot of the comedy, often concerned with scandal, is generally less important than its witty dialogue.
Characters drawn from the upper class (pre-occupied w/ seduction)
arranged marriages/latest fashions/ witty repartee
John Dryden
Marriage a la Mode
Sir Martin Mar-All
Sir George Etherege
Man of Mode
William Wycherley 1640-1715
The Country Wife-represents moral laxity of the culture
William Congreve 1670-1729
The Way of the World
English Drama 1700-1750
Jeremy Collier's A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English stage (1698) Dryden recants -Congreve gives up
Sentimental Comedy-The basic premise of all Sentimental Comedies was that man was good, but capable of being misled. So plays of this genre had characters that were noble, got into trouble, then found the road to salvation. Strangely, these comedies were more likely to bring an audience to tears than offer them laughter.

Sentimental Comedies were considered by many to be realistic depictions of everyday life and this was part of their appeal. (character appear unatrually good, and obstacles too easily overcome)
Colly Cibber 1671-1757
Love's Last Shift
The Careless Husband
George Farquhar 1678-1707
Beaux Statagem
Female playwrights
Mary Pix 1666-1706
The Deceiver Deceived
Delariviere Manly 1672-1724
The Lost Lover or The Jealous Husband
Catharine Trotter 1670-1749
Agnes de Castro
Susanna Centlivre 1670-1723
the Busy Body
becomes the most popular form of entertainment
Ballad Opera rose
Ballad opera consists of racy and often satirical spoken (English) dialogue, interspersed with songs that are deliberately kept very short (mostly a single short stanza and refrain) to minimize disruptions to the flow of the story, which involves lower class, often criminal, characters, and typically shows a suspension (or inversion) of the high moral values of the Italian opera of the period.
John Gay 1685-1732
Beggar's Opera
Government Regulations
The Licensing Act of 1737
prohibited the acting for gain,hire, or reward og any play not licensed by the Lord Chamberlain
restricted authorized theatres to two: Drury Lane and Covent Garden
Act of 1788
created 4 license authorities
Lord Chamberlain: Britain and London
Local Magistrates within 20 miles of London
Local Magistrates outside 20 mile radius
Parliament: specific towns
English Drama 1750-1800
Comic Opera- sentimental plots original English music

Oliver Goldsmith 1730-1774
She Stoops to conquer
Richard Sheridan 1751-1816
School for Scandal
Powerful Players on the English Stage
David Garrick 1717-1779
wide range of characters : Hamlet, Macbeth, Leer
created a natural tempo for Shakespeare
"level Speaking"
adopted a style of acting based on direct observation
Garrick uses costumes for the stage according to history
stabilized Drury Lanes financial problems
reformed stage lighting (removed lights from stage)
created light ladders to reflect light on and off stage
In charge of the Rep and staging at Drury Lane
96 leading roles
Garrick's Richard III
Macklin's Shylock
Charles Macklin
Acting Manager @ Drury Lane
natural acting style
specialized in Bluff,hearty men, and eccentric characters
ran an acting school for drury Lane
1st starring in roles
Acting Ranks
Players of leading roles
players of secondary roles
players of third parts
general utility performers
Betterton's Hamlet
Thomas Betterton
considered best actor of his day
powerful action and speech
old school actor
acting manager of Drury Lane
Nell Gwynn
1st English actreess
Famous comic actress
Lover of Charles II
Trained by Davenant
Elizabeth Barry
Coached by John Wilmot
Famous Tragic actress played opposite Betterton
Audiences and Performances
performances moved from midafternoon to early evening
performances were advertised
advertisements in newspapers
announcements from the stage
actors played to the audience
evening bill contained
full length play
singing and dancing bt. acts
1715- trained animal acts
French Drama of late 18th century
Paris becomes the cultural center of Europe
Most tragic writers follow Racine's writing style
sentimental comedy popular around 1720s
Voltaire 1694-1778
Dominated French tragedy
wrote 53 plays
complex plots
sudden reversals
best work: Zaire 1732
eventually found the neoclassic ideal too restrictive
reforms tried to use the supernatural and violence on stage
led to banning audience on the stage

some of his work led to plays about the French national past
Pierre Chamblain de Marivaux 1688-1763
plays are concerned with awakening love
obstacles arise from internal conflicts
focus on subtle changes in feelings
distinctive prose style w/ emphasis on feelings
The Game of Love and Chance 1730
LaChaissee 1692-1754
established the comedie larmoyant
(Tearful Comedy)
most popular dramtic type in France from 1730-50
(virtuous heroes are faced with obstacles to arouse sympathy and rescued by a revelation of previously unknown facts (tragedy)
Plots are based on concealed information and have a happy ending (comedy)
Denis Diderot 1713-1784
dramatic theorist
argued: neoclassic ideal too narrow
comedy concerned w/ virtue should be added
drama should profoundly move the audience only when done realistically
subject matter close to everyday life
settings should be like real rooms
use of prose dialogue
fourth wall acting

Paradox of the Actor
Observations on Garrick
The illegitimate Son
The Father of the Family
Beaumarchais 1732-1799
Barber of Seville -1775
Marriage of Figaro- 1783
Ferdinando Bibiena- credited with the introduction of angle perspective (Scena per angolo)
Showed pieces in various forms of deterioration & light and shadow
1786 The Royal Dramatic School
applicants had to audition and be apporved
a trail period of three roles
then accepted if a vacancy was opened

Opera Cominque- sentimental stories
ordinary characters replaced commedia figures
Picturesque costume and places
original music replaced popular tunes

The Servant Mistress
Mlle Dumesnil
with Comedie Francaise
leading performer of tragic roles
Diderot says she was an erratic performer dependent on inspiration

Opera bouffe- forbidden to use dialogue
songs and couplets set to pop songs
music, dance , spectacle
lines were placed on cue cards help by small boys dressed as cupid suspended above the stage
featured commedia characters

Costume practices
contemporary garments either owned by the actor of theatre company
Mme Favart- went against the costumes norms and wore an authentic peasant dress as the heroine of
The Loves of the Bastien and Bastienne
Voltaire asked for Chinese dress to be in his show
the Orphan of China
Voltaire introduced Medieval costume in
Rules to Follow for Neoclassic theatre
· Verisimilitude

· Purity of the Dramatic Form

· Five Act Form

· Decorum- unities of time place and action
time: plays can only be set in a world where everything has to occur in 24 hours
Place: one location
Action: a play should have one plot (no subplots)

· Purpose of Drama
Tartuffe in Performance (the original production was in 3 acts 1664)
highly controversal ( L'Imposteur)
Moliere excommunicated?
decided to write another version 1667
had five acts but was also banned
Louis XIV befriended
rew writes again performed as Tartuffe in 1669
This third re-write was published

served as afterpieces
combined elements from Commedia and Farce with topival satrical stories and stories drawn from mythology
John Rich: established the standard of English Pantomime.
serious scenes based on myths alternated with comic episodes featuring Commedia characters
comic scenes were mute
serious scenes used dialogue and songs
trained some famous panto players: Harry Howard
Rich is also associated with the rise of Ballad Opera

Important theatres in England 1660-1790
Drury Lane theatre
34 feet deep stage
raked stage
1710 Colley Ciber & robert Wilks Actor managers
1733 financial mess
1747 Garrick and John Lacy actor managers
Wing and shutter sets
16050: 350
1775 : 2,300
1794: 3,611
Lincoln Inn Fields Theatre 1660-1705
Covent Garden: 1732-1808
Built from a tennis court
moveable scenery
Davenants original company performed here
Thomas Betterton performed his first show (the Siege of Rhodes (an opera)
Samuel Pepys : Betterton emptied Killigrew's theatre
Beggar's Opera was 1st performed here
1732 Company moved to Covent Garden
Covent Garden or Royal Opera House
1732: 1400
1784: 2500
1792: 3000
John Rich Actor Manager
Success of Beggar's opera brought about opening
Charles Macklin last performed here as Shylock 1747
S. Kemble made 1st appearance here as Othello 1783
F. Cooke Performed Richard III in 1800
Scenic Practices
Wings, borders and shutters were inuse like the italians
roll drops
sets were shifted by groves installed in the stage floor
use of a front curtain
all changes were made in view of the audience
act drops were used as a background for interludes
stock scenery was used bt. 1660-1800
settings were commissioned before shows were set (times and places were irrelevant)

necessary sets for 1750 for all shows
city walls and gates
palace exteriors
palace interiors
rural prospects
spectators of stage until 1762: Garrick Banished audience from the stage
Scenic painter make a lot of money 335lb for set drops (isaac fuller) 800lb for an unamed painter (actors got paid 2.5lb per week)
Designers of note
DeLoutherbourg: 1740-1812
French designer
employed by Garrick to design sets 500lb a year
prepared more than 30 productions
A Christmas tale (1773) lighting effects gels and lamps that change color
the Wonders of Debyshire (1779) depicted actual places in and around London
Omai or a Trip around the World (1785) a travelogue-depicted real places in the pacific
used minitures at the rear of the stage to create battles, armies, and vessels
Theories of Neolclassicism and the Right

Francois Fenelon
a French Roman Catholic archbishop, theologian, poet and writer. He today is remembered mostly as the author of The Adventures of Telemachus, first published in 1699. (fills in gaps of the Odyssey) 7chapters
wrote a long letter which was a guide to to the work of the academy
Tragedy should show great events
Tragedy should arouse strong passsions but never to corrupt the audience
portray corrupted passions only to cure them
not depict profane love
language of tragedy should suited to the character and situation

Jean Dubos: After studying theology, he gave it up in favour of public law and politics. in several secret missions, in which he acquitted himself with great success. he retired from political life and devoted himself to history and literature. He gained such distinction as an author that in 1720 he was elected a member of the Académie française, of which, in 1723, he was appointed perpetual secretary in succession to André Dacier.

1719 wrote
Reflexions critiques sur la poesie et sur la peinture
the function of art is to stimulate emotions
Tragedy is superior to comedy because it moves the emotions more deeply and involves grand emotions: pity and terror rather than amusement and scorn
The audience must identify with the hero and therefore never be evil (because man is good)
Tragedies should be set in remote times and places a distance must be created from the character to the audience (as far as setting goes)
Dubos is a significant pioneer in the 1st considerations of acting
Actors require a highly trained voice
highly trained in movement (as if controlled by musical notation)
In his
Les Bijoux Iniscrets

suggests pleasure is preferred over the rules of neoclassicism
the source of pleasure lies in the illusion of reality
create more natural settings
use more natural dialogue (stop rhyming)
actors should have a more fluid natural movement,
look at each other in the face instead of the audience, suggests blocking actors in groups like in paintings (tableau)
theatre should show the virtues of morality and the vice of sin
The play should serve as a better example of virtue.
Sympathetic feelings are the source of mediocre acting.
Great actor do not abandon themselves t feelings but imitate them so perfectly by the exterior signs of feeling that the audience is deceived.
The actor who relies on imagination plays erratically and at best produces life but not art.

Re-opening of theatres in 1660; posed a question
Should we (the Brits) follow the harmonizing French theatre practice or the English tradition?
Should dramatists follow the loose plot arrangements of Shakespeare or the tight structure of Corneille?
Should we employ blank verse or metered rhyme?

those for French
John Dryden-likes rhyme; Neoclassic drama more refined and polished
Jeremy Collier- The purpose of drama is to recommend virtue and discountenance vice
Thomas Rhymer- English poets are defective in their art/ the end of drama is pleasure ; universal morality of poetic justice
Robert howard-against the idea of mixing tragedy and comedy
those for the Brits
William Temple- strength of English drama lies in the mixing of comedy and tragedy
richard Steele- English drama is more life like and closer to nature
Henry Home- English drama stresses emotional involvement, sensibility and sympathy

Prior to 1550 dramatic theory developed slowly: centered around two teatsies: Horace's Art of Poetry and Aristotle's Poetic (which had been lost or ignored up to 1498)
Neoclassicism reduces all drama to two basic forms supposedly set up by Aristotle: Comedy and Tragedy (too bad satyr plays)
tragedy :
draws characters from the ruling class
unhappy ending
lofty poetic style
stories based on history or myth

draws characters from middle to low class
stories based on domestic and private affairs
happy endings
everyday speech

Plays (based on horace)
be divided into 5 acts
the main function was to educate and entertain
Comedy should teach what behavior should be avoided
tragedy should show the horrifying results of mistakes and misdeeds
reality-terms of believability (fantasy and supernatural events were to be avoided because they are not part of the human existence)
soliloquies were discouraged on the grounds that it is unatural for a character to speak to the audience (could have a confidant on stage)
(battles, crowd scenes, violence was to be kept offstage)
Morality- dramas should teach a moral lesson (wickedness was to be punished and good rewarded)
Universality-truth id found in common characteristics ; truth in its essence form remains unchanged and therefore universal. (neo draa tends to sterotype types )

only permanent theatre in Paris up to 1629 maybe could hold 1600
Those did not chose to play at the Hotel Bourgogne
the obvious choise was to play at the tennis courts
"Mustapha," performed in 1665 at the Duke's Company playhouse, co-starring Thomas Betterton and Mary Saunderson Betterton [whom Samuel Pepys called "Ianthe"]. The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica said this was among several of the rhymed-verse tragedies by Orrery that were "of some literary but no dramatic merit." Pepys reported it "not good" which "made Betterton’s part and Ianthe’s but ordinary too, so that we were not contented with it at all."
The Czar of Muscovy
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