Exam #3 Review

Flashcard maker : Niamh Mitchell
English Renaissance
– Earliest support for the professional players comes from the aristocracy and the monarchy.
– Nobles agree to making players “liveried servants” which gives them legal standing (otherwise classed with vagabonds and highwaymen).
– Crown supports some troupes at court early and also witnesses “command performances” by companies at the court.
– In 1574 Master of Revels (appointed court official in charge of entertainments at court) established as authority for licensing of acting companies and also of plays (thus establishing a form of censorship with continued in the English theatre in some fashion until the 1960’s).
– Middle classes, more Puritan church elements, and most town governments antagonistic to theatre.
Early Places of Performance: Court
* Command performances of regular drama
* Court Masques (especially significant under Stuart kings, (1603-1642)
* related to Italian intermezzi
* elaborate spectacle in costume and setting
* allegorical stories
* use of music and, especially, dance
* best created by playwright Ben Jonson and designer/architect
Inigo Jones
Early Places of Performance: Schools
* Performances at many, significantly at Inns of Court; associated with
first regular vernacular comedies and tragedies c. 1550
Early Places of Performance: Inn-Yard “Theatres”
” at “carrier inns” in London, use of which dates from as early as 1635 and which are not discontinued until well after “public theatres” built and used.
* All built outside the city limits of London because of opposition by
London Common Council as represented in their order that no plays
may be performed within their jurisdiction.
* Ten built between 1567 and 1615, not counting remodeling and rebuilding of structures destroyed by fire
Red Lion Theatre
– built by John Brayne
– usage unclear
– recently discovered legal documents indicate a purpose built theatre with stage in the center, not an inn as previously thought
the Theatre
– Formerly thought to be the 1st permanent theatre in England, built in 1576 by James Burbage, an actor with the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.
– Leading playwright W. Shakespeare
– Leading actor Richard Burbage, son of the builder
Curtain Theatre
Newington Butts Theatre
– never a major playhouse
Rose Theatre
– built 1587 by businessman Philip Henslowe
– used by Lord Admiral’s Men, the chief rival to Shakespeare’s
– major playwright Christopher Marlowe
– Leading actor, Edward Alleyn (eventually Henslowe’s
– site partially excavated 1989
Swan Theatre
– built by Frances Langley
– only Elizabethan theatre of which we have an interior view, the “DeWitt Drawing
The Globe Theatre(s)
– built with materials salvaged from THEATRE
– (II- 1614-1644)
– rebuilt 1614 following destruction by fire
– continued association with Lord Chamberlain’s Men/King’s Men
– site partially excavated 1989
Fortune Theatre(s)
(I- 1600-1621)
– built by Henslowe to compete with GLOBE
– square format (apparently only one)
– contract survives (II- 1622-1661)
– rebuilt on polygonal format following destruction by fire
Red Bull Theatre
– a less significant house, but only Elizabethan “public” theatre surviving as usable theatre into the Stuart Restoration period (begins 1660) and used briefly then as a playhouse.
Hope Theatre
– Contract also survives
– Stage to be removable for animal baiting
General Characteristics of “Public Theatres”
– probably influenced by inn-yard experiences of the companies and by
shape of existing animal-baiting arenas
– audience capacities estimated 1500-2000
– shape probably circular or polygonal (except 1st Fortune = square)
– three roofed galleries of seating
– open (not roofed) pit or yard in center for audience
– neutral raised stage from wall opposite single main entrance to about
center of yard; stage probably trapped
– “discovery space” of some kind, although not necessarily the “inner
above” and “inner below” of John C. Adams reconstructions
– musician’s gallery on 3rd level behind stage
– hut over stage (“sound effects room”?)
– minimal scenery used, relying primarily upon spoken decor
“Private” Theatres
– First ones built within the city of London on former monastic lands,
therefore property not controlled by London Common Council
– Used by major companies as winter homes after c.1608
– No standing room, all spectators seated
– Smaller capacities, but higher admission costs
The Major Theatres:
* BLACKFRIARS – Used by King’s Men
* WHITEFRIARS – Used by Prince Henry’s Men
Acting Companies
– Two major companies during Shakespeare’s time:
* Lord Chamberlain’s Men (King’s Men after 1604)
* Lord Admiral’s Men (Prince Henry’s Men after 1604)
– Normally numbered 10-20 males
– Usually organized on a shareholding basis with a limited number of permanent member actors as shareholders dividing income with householders (in some instances householders were also shareholders, as in Lord Chamberlain’s Men; in others, householder was not a member of the company, as with Henslowe and the Lord Admiral’s Men
– Remaining roles and theatre jobs performed by “hired men” and
– Apprentices, who usually played younger women’s roles while in training
Puritans and the Theatre
All theatres closed in 1642 by order of Puritan controlled Parliament, marking the end of the heyday of English theatre. Only sporadic activity during Commonwealth (Interregnum) Period. Theatrical activity resumes on major scale with the Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in 1660
Theatre in the Spanish Golden Age
AGE (c.1580-1680)
Medieval drama parallels that in other western European nations Traveling professional players (including actresses) begin playing c.1540 and include both secular and religious drama, an unusually close association of professional
players and religious drama
Physical Theatre in the Spanish Golden Age
– First permanent theatres in Madrid (Corral del Cruz and Corral del Principe)
constructed in 1580’s
– Many similarities with English outdoor (public) theatres, but no indication of
cross influences
– Among differences from Elizabethan houses:
– some bench seating at the sides of the central courtyard (patio)
– most were not purpose built, but rather adaptations of existing courtyards
– audience segregated, with special gallery (the cazuela) restricted to use by women
Major Playwrights of the Spanish Golden Age
– Lope de Rueda (c.1510-c.1565)
– first significant dramatist
– Lope de Vega y Carpio (1562-1635)
– prolific (up to 1800 plays of which 45 survive)
– priest after 1614 (after 2 marriages and much womanizing)
– variety of styles, including autos sacramentales, and capa y espada (cape
and sword plays) which he is said to have introduced
– Pedro Calderon de la Barca (1600-1681)
– priest after 1651
– major dramatist in a variety of forms – last great playwright of Siecle de Oro (Golden Century [Age])
– wrote about 200 plays, about half of which survive, including 80 autos upon which he concentrated after 1647
– wrote all autos sacramentales performed in Madrid 1647-1681
– little secular drama for the public stage after c.1640
– after 1652 his only secular drama written for court theatre, which he supervised, replacing Lope de Vega in 1635
Public Theatre not influenced by neo-classicism which, with drop and wing
illusionistic scenery, was reserved for the court theatre, especially at the
Coliseo, a permanent theatre (probably with a proscenium arch) built for court use c.1640.
Amateur Theatre on the Italian Renaissance
* Either in ducal courts or at Academies founded to examine and study special scholarly subjects (e.g., CAMARATA of Florence from which Grand Opera form developed).
* Performances at both only occasional usually, for special events
* Ducal theatres develop SCENIC PRACTICES and ARCHITECTURE which dominate western theatre until mid-19th century:
* U-shaped auditorium with boxes, pit, and galleries
* Relatively narrow and shallow playing space in front of scenery on apron or forestage
* Raked (ramped or slanted) stage
* Machinery above and below stage
* Artificial illumination (indoor theatres) – candles and oil lamps – both stage area and auditorium illuminated until 19th century
* Proscenium Arch developed to hide mechanics of elaborate scenery and to maintain illusion by “framing” scenery (thus the term
“picture frame stage”)
* Perspective Scenery
– based on rediscovered work of Roman architect Vitruvius and popularized by Sebastiano Serlio
– utilized drop and wing settings
– at first the angled wings of Serlio, later the flat wing shifted by means of a groove system (used later in England) or the chariot and pole or continental system developed by Giacomo Torelli
* Elaborate scenic display not employed for commedia erudita (cf. unity of place) but developed mainly for INTERMEZZI (allegorical musical and dance entertainments presented during intermissions)
* Ducal courts also patrons of scholars who develop theories of neo-classicism
Major Principles of Neo-Classicism
* VERISIMILITUDE (appearance of truth)
– the basic and controlling principle of the theory
– omits all which cannot happen in real life
– in general rules out use of chorus, soliloquy, fantasy, the supernatural
– places violence off stage because hard to make believable
– idealized norms of behavior, true to gender, station, age, profession, etc., of the character
– deviation from norms required punishment (via poetic justice)
– no mingling of genres (e.g., all comic or all tragic; no comic material in tragedy, etc.)
– also established strict demands concerning characters, subject matter, endings, and types of language to be employed for each genre
– purpose of drama to teach a moral lesson by example and in a pleasurable manner (“sugar-coated pill” theory)
– demonstrates ideal behavior and abstract rather than copying life
– human behavior seen as unchanging, the same in all times and places and discoverable through reason
– uses poetic justice to make the didactic point
* UNITIES insisted upon:
* TIME – variously interpreted from length of playing time to maximum of 24 hours
* PLACE – variously interpreted from a single room to any place reachable within unity of time limitations
* ACTION – single action with no sub-plots
Professional Theatre on the Italian Renaissance
Commedia dell’Arte (fl.c.1550-1750) – an actor’s theatre
– No special scenery required, although adapts to its use late in period
– Unscripted
– based on scenario posted back stage, giving only plot outline
– about 800 surviving scenarii
– Depends on improvisation, set speeches, imagination of performers
– no dialogue to memorize or deliver
– Company normally of 7 men and 3 women
– Actor normally played same character through professional life
Employed Stock Characters:

– young male and female lovers – not masked – wear contemporary fashionable dress
– stock mask and costume for each
– Pantalone – foolish Venetian merchant
– Dottore – spoke nonsense Latin as well as vernacular
– Capitano – braggart warrior type
* ZANNI (Male Servants)
– stock mask and costume for each
– usually servant of an old man or an innamorato
– the primary source of comedy – frequently highly acrobatic
– perform LAZZI (comic stage business and buffoonery of flexible length)
– Typical characters include:
– Arlecchino = Harlequin
– Pulcinello = Punch
– Scapino = Scapin
* FANTESCA (Female Servant – a/k/a SERVETTA, ZAGNE)
– not masked
– female counterpart of zanni
– foil to zanni, to one of whom often married, betrothed, or in love with)
– usually servant to an innamorata (female lover)

Theatre in the French Golden Age
(17th CENTURY)
– Strongest application of Neo-classic theory (adapted from the Italian critics)
Major writers:
* Pierre Corneille – Le Cid (1636) – controversial tragedy, submitted to French Academy (founded by Cardinal Richelieu), whose decision solidified dominance of neo-classicism during period.
* Jean Racine – Phaedre (1677) – Best writer of French neo-classic tragedy.
* Moliere – mainly neo-classic comedy, although did write other forms, especially for court entertainments
– best known for comedies of character (e.g., Tartuffe and The
– strong influence from commedia dell’Arte
* Comedie-Francaise founded by royal decree of Louis XIV in 1680 following death of Moliere (after performance of The Imaginary Invalid in 1673 – burial place unknown)
– Oldest continuous state subsidized theatre in the world
– Organized on shareholding basis
– limited number of full time members (societaires) share in profits
– remainder are salaried members (pensionnaires)
– Since established has given more performances of Moliere works than those of any other dramatist (2nd ranked is Racine); known as “House of Moliere”
Theatre in the English
Notable for:
* 1st use of perspective (Italianate) scenery on English public stage (previously used only for court presentations, e.g., Stuart Masques).
* 1st appearances of professional actresses on the public stage (among best known were Nell Gwyn (a mistress of Charles II), Elizabeth Berry, and Anne Bracegirdle)
* 1st English theatrical monopolies
– 2 companies (King’s Company under Sir Thomas Killegrew & Duke’s Company under Sir Wm. Davenant) given monopolies on London theatrical production by King Charles II through “letters patent”
– Monopolies and “patent companies” continued in some form until 1843.
* Continued censorship through office of Lord Chamberlain, surviving in some form until 1968.
* Construction of “Box, Pit, and Gallery” theatres (as with use of perspective scenery, influence here from exile of English monarchy and court in France during “Interregnum” period of Puritan Commonwealth under Cromwell in 1640’s and 1650’s)
– first are converted tennis courts.
– Major theatres in Restoration and 18th century: Drury Lane & Covent Garden
* Major contribution in dramatic literature is Comedy of Manners, exemplified by works of Etherege, Wycherly, and Congreve
– a wit comedy of exceptionally high order involving clever or “gay” couple, libertinism and double standard moral code reflecting contemporary aristocratic society.
* Major Restoration actor: Thomas Betterton
* Literary period ends with variety of attacks on the theatre led by Jeremy Collier in his Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the
English Stage (1698)
* Reforms, the growth of the middle class, and a shift to sentimentality in the 18th century gave rise to the so-called “middle genres” of bourgeoise or domestic tragedy and tearful or sentimental comedy.
Angle Perscpective
multipoint perspective; results when several vanishing points are located away from the center of the stage so that vistas appear toward the wings.
Autos Sacramentales
a form of dramatic literature which is peculiar to Spain, though in some respects similar in character to the old Morality plays of England
an alternative way of paying first actors, and then almost all the other employees of a theatre, where they would have a benefit performance dedicated to them and they (either individually or split in a group) would get the profits from the performance. Writers would get the profits from the third, and sometimes sixth or ninth performance of their play
Gallery above the tavern in the back wall of the theatres of the Spanish golden age; the area where unescorted women sat
an elaborate system for changing elements of the scenery simultaneously: the system involving scenery attached to poles that rose through slits in the stage floor from chariots (wheeled carts) that ran on tracks in the basement and depended on an intricate system of interlocking ropes, pulleys, wheels, and windlasses for their simultaneous movement
Commedia dell’Arte
Italian popular comedy of the fifteenth through seventeenth centuries. Featured performances improvised from scenarios by a set of stock characters and repeated from play to play and troupe to troupe.
Comedy of Manners
refers most often to seventeenth and eighteenth century comedies whose focus is the proper social behavior of a single class
Theatre of the Spanish golden age, usually located in the courtyard of a series of adjoining buildings.
in noeclassical theory, the behavior of a dramatic character in keeping with his or her social status, age, sex, and occupation; based on the requirements of verisimilitude
Discovery Space
permanent or temporary space in the Elizabethan playhouse that permitted actors and locales to be hidden from view and then “discovered” (or revealed) when needed
member of an acting company who owned a share of the theatre building itself
Scenic practices (with analogs in acting, directing ,and other theatre arts) that rely on a belief in the theatrical imitation of the real world
a theatrical performance or spectacle with music and often dance which was performed between the acts of a play
Comic spectacular court entertainment used repeatedly by characters in Italian commedia dell’arte
Machine Plays
any play written especially to show off the special effects and movable scenery in a theatre. especially popular during the neoclassical period, when regular plays obeyed “unity of place” and so had few opportunities for elaborate scenic changes
spectacular theatrical form, especially of the Renaissance and the neoclassical periods, usually associated with court theatres or special events. Emphasis was put on costumes and effects, with much music and dancing; amateur actors frequently performed.
a style of drama and theatre from the Italian Renaissance based loosely on interpretations of Aristotle and Horace. Major tenets were verisimilitude, decorum, purity of genres, the five-act form, and the twofold purpose of drama: to teach and to please
a license put on the theatre industry in London that banned anyone aside form two companies to perform in the city
In the theatre of the Spanish golden age, the pit area for the audience.
simulation of visual distance by the manipulation of the size of objects
Private Theatre
in Elizabethan and Stuart England, indoor theatres that were open to the public but were expensive because of their relatively limited seating apacity. Located on monastic lands, these theatres were outside the jurisdiction of the city of London
Public Theatre
in Elizabethan and Stuart England, outdoor theatres like the Globe. Because larger than the indoor theatres, public theatres tended to be relatively inexpensive and so attracted a general audience.
Raked Stage
stage slanted up from front to back to enhance the perspective. Stages began their rakes either at the front of the apron or at the proscenium line.
Sentimental Comedy
a kind of comedy particularly popular during the eighteenth century in which people’s virtues rather than their foibles were stressed. The audience was expected to experience something “too exquisite for laughter.” Virtuous characters expressed themselves in pious “sentiments.”
large flat, paired with another of the same kind, to close off the back of the scene in Italiante staging; an alternative to a backdrop; sometimes used for units at the sides. When pierces with a cutout it became a “relieve” and showed a diorama
Single Point Perspective
a technique used for achieving a sense of depth be establishing a single vanishing point and painting or building all objects to diminish to it.
Tiring House
the building from which the Elizabethan platform, or thrust, stage extended. A place where the actors attired themselves
Term referring to the preference that a play’s plot occur within one day (unity of time), in one place (unity of place), and with no action irrelevant to the plot (unity of action).
central concept in neoclassical theory and criticism. Literal meaning is “truth-seemingness,” but used historically, at a time when truth referred to the general, typical, categorical truth. Not to be confused with realism.
an illusionistic arrangement, common from the Renaissance through the nineteenth century in Europe and the United States, of paired wings along the sides and a drop along the back of the stage
another name for the pit in the Shakespearean theatre; where patrons stood on the ground in front of the stage.

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