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MT1 Week1:5

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by

Wayne Jackson

on 23 October 2012

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Transcript of MT1 Week1:5

1880 - 1900 Gilbert and Sullivan America: numerous influences and different forms, extravaganzas, spectacles, girls in tights and recycled pop songs America v England 1844 - 1901 Richard D'Oyly Carte 1836 - 1911 William Gilbert 1842 - 1900 Arthur Sullivan Turning reality on its head for comedy purposes
Realistic costume and set to enhance the comedy
Unqualified male characters in high social status
Love story running against the status quo
Disdain for women aged over forty
Word heavy ‘patter-song’ for the lead
Creative rhyme and word play
Clean and good natured
Music well crafted, used to progress the narrative
Plots and sentiments light and often ‘silly’
Mixed well trained semi-operatic voices with actors who had little or no experience of music
After opening night they would make substantial changes dependent on audience reaction – they were seen as the creative authority
The Gilbert and Sullivan Style The crew of the Pinafore are sprucing up the deck for the arrival of Sir Joseph Porter, a high-ranking admiral. The Captain’s daughter, Josephine, has been promised to Porter and as he is of higher rank than anyone aboard H.M.S Pinafore the Captain explains how love goes beyond class. The dockside vendor called Little Buttercup sells wares to the crew and then return happily to work. Ralph Rackstraw, ‘the smartest lad in all the fleet,’ is in love with the Captain's daughter. In spite of this, and the fact that Josephine and he are far apart in terms of class, Ralph pursues her, and she eventually confesses her own love for him. The two young lovers plan to elope, but the Captain learns of her plans and puts a halt to them. His concept of love going beyond class does not become true the other way around. Porter, furious at Ralph's impertinence, has him imprisoned. At that moment, Buttercup reveals a secret: many years in the past, she had been given charge of two babies, one of good family and one of lower status. These turn out to be Ralph and the Captain, but Buttercup further reveals that she had accidentally switched them. Ralph is therefore of noble birth and the Captain comes from poverty, which means that Josephine is also of the lower class and no longer a fit mate for Porter. However, the newly-ennobled Ralph has no such reservations, and gladly takes Josephine to be his wife. This leaves the Captain in a lower class to his own daughter.
1878 - 'H.M.S Pinafore
571 performances (London) 'H.M.S Pinafore' was the second longest musical theatre piece at that time Crossing the Atlantic England: small budgets, stage productions rarely ran for more than a few weeks Theatrical organiser, promoter and agent Built the Savoy Theatre in 1881 Nurtured the work of the partnership after viewing a performance of 'Thespis' Son of a surgeon

Decent education

Unsuccessful barrister

Write comedy as a sideline Staged meticulously before beginning rehearsals Comic actors must be serious Sat in upper gallery and rehearsed until every single word was heard Son of a bandmaster

Began composing only when the libretto was finished Conducted the opening night performances Took light music seriously: demanded exact adherence to tempo, orchestration and harmony
1875 - 'Trial by Jury'
131 performances (London) Court officials wore genuine court robes; Bride wore a real wedding dress; as near to an authentic courtroom setting as they could get
Flirting defendant; plaintiff throwing herself at the all male jury; the judge marries the unwanted bride
Lack of international copyright laws: the most frequently performed operetta in America
90+ companies touring it throughout America at the same time Inoffensive humour appealed Assimilated into mass popular culture: translated into other languages, established clear copyright laws
1880's performance rights made available to schools and amateur companies Musical Theatre Developments 1881 – 'Patience'
578 performances (London)

Carte moved his troupe into his newly built Savoy Theatre
First auditorium in Great Britain to have electric lighting
Tickets were given specific seat numbers
1882 – 'Iolanthe'
398 performances

Parody of fairies and magical characters used in pantomimes and extravaganzas
Battery pack lights in the crowns of the fairies
1885 - 'The Mikado' 672 performances (London) Was able to satire British Politics more freely by disguising them as Japanese Themes of death and cruelty, treating them as trivial lighthearted issues
Plot revolves around Nanki-Poo who has fled the kingdom of his father the Mikado because he doesn’t want to marry Katisha and has fallen in love with Yum-Yum who is betrothed to Ko-Ko, an executioner afraid of executing anyone. Ko-Ko suggests Nanki-Poo marry Yum-Yum for a month and then be his first execution.
He doesn’t go ahead with it however, and allows them to leave and pretends he has killed him. The Mikado then learns that Nanki-Poo is his son and threatens
to kill Ko-Ko if he cannot prove that Nanki-Poo isn’t dead. All ends well when Nanki-Poo comes forward and is allowed to marry Yum-Yum
because Ko-Ko agrees to marry Katisha. After Gilbert and Sullivan
1930’s – Jazz updates The Hot Mikado and The Swing Mikado
1981 – Centennial production of The Pirates of Penzance on Broadway
1987 – Canadian staging of The Mikado received Tony Award nominations
1889 – Carte built the Savoy Hotel
1900 – Sullivan died of sever bronchitis
1901 – Carte died of dropsy and heart disease
1911 – Gilbert died of a heart attack
1930’s – Jazz updates The Hot Mikado and The Swing Mikado
1981 – Centennial production of The Pirates of Penzance on Broadway
1987 – Canadian staging of The Mikado received Tony Award nominations
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