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Jay Ann Chan

on 23 June 2013

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Transcript of Theater

The Making of Theater
Timeline/ Summary
Origin of Theater
Personalities in Theater
Top 10 Plays for Theater
History, Periods, & Origins.

RESTORATION Comedy of Manners

RESTORATION Comedy of Manners




The theatre of ancient Greece consisted of three types of drama: tragedy, comedy, and the satyr play.
Greek theatre took place in large (the largest ultimately held twenty thousand people) hillside ampitheatres.
The players included a chorus and their leader, and the "lines" were more chanted than spoken.
The chorus performed in the "orchestra", not on a raised stage.
The use of masks to represent characters and high-soled boots worn to add height to the players limited the movement of the actors.
Indeed, the concept of "actors" themselves was not originally a part of Greek theatre, but was developed as a consequence of certain playwrights of particular genius.
Key Playwrights and their works
Aeschylus: The Oresteia

Euripides: The Trojan Women, Medea

Sophocles: Oedipus, Antigone

Aristophanes: Lysistrata, The Frogs
Greek Theatre
Roman Theatre
The decline of Greek government and society coincided with the rise of the Roman Republic and subsequent empire.
The Romans borrowed extensively from Greek theatre.
The theatre of ancient Rome was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival performances of street theatre, nude dancing, and acrobatics, to the staging of Plautus's broadly appealing situation comedies, to the high-style, verbally elaborate tragedies of Seneca.
Key Playwrights and their works:

Homer: The Odyssey

Ovid: Metamorphoses

Liturgical Drama
Certain parts of the Catholic mass were enacted in church, particularly in the Easter liturgy. These enactments were developed in the monasteries and later spread to other churches. The plays were performed by the community.

Three principal forms of drama developed from this:
Mystery Plays based on episodes from the Bible.

Miracle Plays based on the lives of saints & martyrs

Morality Plays in which virtues like goodness & truth and vices like greed & sloth became characters in simple good triumphs over evil stories. These became increasingly political &appealed to the socially oppressed peasant class.

Key Playwright and his work:
Anon: Everyman, The Mystery Cycles
Revenge Tragedy:
Plots involved murder, death, revenge. Plays often included nightmare visions of ghosts, complicated subplots, unrequited or unacceptable love, gruesome actions, sword fights, poisons and potions and madness.

Key Playwrights and their works:
Shakespeare: Hamlet, Titus Andronicus

Tourneur: The Revengers Tragedy

Middleton/Rowley: The Changeling

Marlowe: Doctor Faustus

Ford: Tis Pity She's a Whore

Webster: TheDuchess of Malfi

Elizabethan & Jacobean Comedy:
Shakespeare’s comedies mix elements of farce, comedy of manners, romantic comedy and black comedy. Jonson’s comedies were more Satirical, exposing the follies and vices of society through the use of biting humor.
Commedia Dell Arte:
Began in C16th Italy. Used caricature half-masks for middle-class and servant characters. Hero and Heroine were unmasked. Stock Characters were placed in stock situations (scenarios). Ensemble playing allowed for free improvisation around the roles &situations. Depicted clashes between Masters & Servants. Used physical humour known as Slapstick or Lazzi as well as acrobatic & juggling skills to amuse the audience. Street Theatre.
Key Playwright and work:
Goldoni: A Servant to Two Masters
Examined rules of the society of the time from a satirical standpoint. Portrayed and commented upon the affectations of the upper classes.
Based on the wit & banter of the aristocratic class. Thrived in time of material prosperity and moral laxity.
Uses caricature and distortion almost to a grotesque extent tomock society, particularly respected society figures. First used inconnection with Italian Opera in the C16.
Based on puns and humor of low wit. Music used as parody. Ballad-operas were a popular new drama which appealed to all classes. They parodied / satirised the Italian operas which were popular at the time. They mixed popular songs and melodies together with action-orientated plots which often poked fun at the government & the establishment.
Key Playwrights and their works:
Gay: The Beggars Opera
• Most popular form of theatre for the majority of the C19

• Dealt with sensationalist stories. Gruesome crimes were turned into theatre. Fast paced scenes with plenty of action.

• * Used cliff-hanger curtain scenes to heighten the audience’s emotional response. Lack of subtlety in acting style. Large gestures and grand voices. Plays were invariably quite short & presented as part of an evening interspersed with other forms of entertainment, such as Victorian Music Hall.

Key Playwrights and their works:
Anon: Maria Marten

(The Red Barn)
Anon: Sweeney Todd

Neoclassical theatre:
It demanded decorum and rigorous adherence to the classical unities. Neoclassical theatre as well as the time period is characterized by its grandiosity
Nineteenth-century theatre:
Theatre in the 19th century is divided into two parts: early and late. The early period was dominated by melodrama and Romanticism
Twentieth Century Theatre:
Number of aesthetic movements continued or emerged in the 20th century, including:
- Naturalism
- Realism
- Dadaism
- Expressionism
- Surrealism and the Theatre of Cruelty
- Theatre of the Absurd
- Postmodernism

Ovid: Metamorphoses
Everyman, The Mystery Cycles
*William Shakespeare
*Gnaeus Naevius
*Hans Sachs
*August von Kotzebue
*Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron
According to certain Ancient Greek sources and especially Aristotle, was the first person ever to appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play (instead of speaking as him or herself).
William Shakespeare
-He was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist.
- often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"
- His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.
- was a Greek dramatist and the best-known representative of Athenian New Comedy.
- One of the most popular writers of antiquity, his work was lost in the Middle Ages and is known in modernity in highly fragmentary form, much of which was discovered in the 20th century. Only one play, Dyskolos, has survived almost entirely.
Gnaeus Naevius
- was a Roman epic poet and dramatist of the Old Latin period.
- His comedies were in the genre of Palliata Comoedia, an adaptation of Greek New Comedy.
- A soldier in the Punic Wars, he was highly patriotic, inventing a new genre called Praetextae Fabulae, an extension of tragedy to Roman national figures or incidents
- a canoness in northern Germany, wrote six plays modeled on Terence's comedies but using religious subjects.
- These six plays –Abraham, Callimachus, Dulcitius, Gallicanus, Paphnutius, and Sapientia – are the first known plays composed by a female dramatist and the first identifiable Western dramatic works of the post-classical era.
August von Kotzebue
- Misanthropy and Repentance (1789) is often considered the first melodramatic play.
- The plays of Kotzebue and René Charles Guilbert de Pixérécourt established melodrama as the dominant dramatic form of the early 19th century.
Hans Sachs
- who wrote 198 dramatic works. In England, the The Second Shepherds' Play of the Wakefield Cycle is the best known early farce.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Lord Byron
- were the most important dramatists of their time (although Shelley's plays were not performed until later in the century)
Video Clips
Odyssey Movie Clip
Sweeney Todd: God That's Good!
1. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare
2. "The Miracle Worker" by William Gibson
3. "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller
4. "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde
5. "Antigone" by Sophocles
6. "Fences" by August Wilson
7. "Noises Off" by Michael Frayn
8. "The Good Doctor" by Neil Simon
9. "Our Town" by Thoron Wilder
10. "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett
1. "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by William Shakespeare
No such list would be complete without at least one Shakespearean play. Sure, Hamlet is more profound and Macbeth is more intense, but I recommend Midsummer for those new to Will's world. One might think that Shakespeare's words are too challenging for a theatrical newcomer. However, this fantasy-themed play of fairies and mixed-up lovers conveys a fun, easy-to-understand storyline. The sets and costumes tend to be the most imaginative of the Bard's productions. So even if you don't understand the Elizabethan dialogue, A Midsummer Night's Dream is still a wondrous sight to behold.
By Wade Bradford, About.com Guide
2. "The Miracle Worker" by William Gibson
Other playwrights such as Tenneesee Williams and Eugene O'Neil may have created more intellectually stimulating material than William Gibson's biographic play of Hellen Keller and her instructor Anne Sullivan. However, few plays contain such raw, heartfelt intensity. With the right cast, the two main roles generate inspiring performances as one little girl struggles to stay in silent darkness, and one loving teacher shows her the meaning of language and love.
3. "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller
For some, this play is a bit overrated and heavy handed. I have always felt that the messages delivered in the play's final act were a bit too blatant for my taste. Still, Arthur Miller's play is a vital addition to American theater, worthy of viewing if only to witness an actor taking on one of the most challenging and rewarding characters in the history of the stage: Willy Loman.
4. "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde
A striking contrast to the heaviness of modern drama, this witty play by Oscar Wilde has been delighting audiences for over a century. Playwrights such as George Bernard Shaw felt that Wilde's work exhibited literary genius but lacked social value. Yet, if one values satire, The Importance of Being Earnest is a delectable farce that pokes fun at Victorian England's upper class society.
5. "Antigone" by Sophocles
Yes, you should definitely see at least one Greek tragedy before you die. It makes your life seem a lot more cheerful. Sophocles' most popular and shocking play is Oedipus Rex. (You know, the show where King Oedipus unknowningly kills his father and marries his mother.) I always felt that old Oeddy got a raw deal. The Gods punish him for an unintentional mistake.

Antigone, on the other hand, is more about our own choices and their consequences, and not so much about the wrath of mythological powers. Also, unlike many Greek plays, the central figure is a powerful, defiant female.
6. "Fences" by August Wilson
August Wilson crafted ten plays in his "Pittsburg Cycle." Each work explores the African-American experience, focusing on a different decade, from the turn-of-the-century to the 1990s. Fences reveals the conflicts between a hardworking, stubborn father and his talented yet rebellious son.
7. "Noises Off" by Michael Frayn
This comedy about second-rate actors in a dysfunction stage show is wonderfully silly. I don't think I have ever laughed harder and longer in all my life than when I watched "Noises Off" for the first time. Not only does it induce bursts of laughter, the play also provides hysterical insights to the behind-the-scenes world of wanna-be thespians, demented directors, and stressed-out stage hands.
8. "The Good Doctor" by Neil Simon
Considering all of the deep, philosophical plays I could add to the list, this might be a controvertial choice to some. After all, this is a Neil Simon play about Anton Chekhov, one of Russia's greatest storytellers and playwrights. Shouldn't I have selected one of Chekhov's plays instead?

Perhaps. But The Good Doctor is a delightful primer for Chekhov's more sophisticated works. Simon interweaves over a dozen tales from Russia's wordsmith. If you enjoy The Good Doctor, then you may also enjoy Chekhov's complex and bittersweet plays: The Cherry Orchard, Uncle Vanya, and The Seagull.
9. "Our Town" by Thoron Wilder
Thorton Wilder's examination of life and death in the fictional village of Grover's Corner gets down to the bare bones of theater. There are no sets, no back drops, only a few props, and when it comes right down to it, there is little plot development. The Stage Manager serves as the narrator; he controls the progression of scenes.

Yet with all its simplicity and small town charm, the final act is one of the more hauntingly philosophical moments to be found in American theatre.
10. "Waiting for Godot" by Samuel Beckett
Highly praised by critics and scholars, Samuel Beckett's absurdist "tragicomedy" will most likely leave you scratching your head in bewilderment. But that's exactly the point! Some plays are meant to be confounding. This tale of seemingly pointless waiting is something every theater-goer should experience at least once.
Shakespeare: Doctor Faustus - Marlowe
The advantages are that the audience feel included in the play, and equally the actors on stage feel included in the audience.
Traditionally, end-on staging is best for plays that don't break the fourth wall (don't interact with the audience), whereas it is easier to interact with the audience in the round because they are all around you and are usually closer to you.
There is less division between actors and audience
• It is very intimidating having all those people completely surrounding you, it kind of gives the feeling of claustrophobia, because there is no where you can onstage to be away from the audience
You have to be much more careful about how you structure your piece, because you have to think of if you will be able to be seen by the audience
You have to have actors in diagonals rather than straight lines, and you will always have your back to one side of the audience
Theater is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place.
The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music, and dance.
Elements of design and stagecraft are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience. The specific place of the performance is also named by the word "theatre" as derived from the word théatron = “a place for viewing” (“to see", "to watch", "to observe”).
Theater believed emerged from myths, rituals, and ceremonies. According to Joseph Campbell (mythologist).

The formulation of these actions, and the consequent repetition and rehearsal, broke the ground and birthed theater which soon called dramas.

Through these rituals and repetitious practices leaders, or actors of sorts, emerged to fill the role needed.

The earliest example of ceremony and ritual evolving towards theater comes from ancient Egypt, they call it “Pyramid text” dating from 2800 to 2400 B.C., it contains dramas sending the dead pharaoh off to the underworld.

Theater around the world evolved by mere customs, traditions, rituals with a corresponding actions and practices towards a scene which they want to rein act to honor a god, a king, a bounty, a heroic scene.

Theater was then categorized by the scholars for example by Patrice Pavis which she defines theatricality, theatrical language, stage writing, and the specificity of theatre as synonymous expressions that differentiate theatre from the other performing arts, literature, and the arts in general
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