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Realism in Theatre

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alyssa mifflin

on 7 October 2013

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Transcript of Realism in Theatre

Realism Theatre
Realism is when people move and talk in a manner that is similar to our everyday behaviour. In the last half 19th century, realism began as an experiment to make theatre more useful to society.
Writers of Realism
In France, two playwrights helped popularize the idea of realism but both clung to two inherent traditional morality and values:
"The language of the body is the key that can unlock the soul." -Konstantin Stanislavsky
1. Auguste Comte
"Father of sociology" developed a theory called Positivism. Through his ideas there was an encouragment to understanding the cause and effect of nature through precise observations.
2. Charles Darwin
Published The Orgin of Species. Darwin's series suggested that life developed gradually from common ancestors, and that life favoured "survival of the fittest".
3. Karl Marx
Exposed a political philosophy arguing against urbanization and in favor of a more equal distribution of wealth
"These three stated ideas helped open the door for a type of theatre that would be different from any that had come before." -Wilson/Goldfarb, Chapter 14
There were 3 major developments that helped lead into the emergence of Realism:
Emergence of Realism
Alexandre Dumas (fils)
1849, his novel, Camille, was dramatized. The play was written in prose and dealt with contemporary life. He eventually wrote "thesis plays" about contemporary social problems.
Emile Augier also wrote plays about contemporary social problems.
Considered to be the father of modern realistic drama
Plays attacked the society's values and dealt with unconventional subjects
Eamples of Realism
A Doll's House:
Doll’s House: Women’s rights
Ghosts: Mercy Killing and Social Disease
An Enemy of the People: Political corruption

Realism came about partly as a response to the new social/artistic conditions
Characteristics of Realism Theatre
Plot is written in a way that the audience can believe that it could happen in real life
Everything has a realistic theme: Social concerns, romance, political concerns, etc.
Allows audience to understand their own struggles and to feel compassion for the human condition
Actors seek to become the characters
Scenery depicts ordinary life conditions
Dialogue resembles conversation
Henrik Ibsen
Thought provoking; moral and social questions
Watching a "realistic" play should be similar to looking in someone's living room or house.
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