Modern Drama Mid-Term

Closet Drama
– Plays that were written without the intention of having them performed.
ie) The Escape or, A Leap for Freedom by: William Wells Brown

The act of making oneself other than oneself for purposes of entertainment, commemoration, communication, or devotion.

Stems from the name of the 1st Greek playwright, Thespis. He is considered by many to be the world’s first actor.

“The Language of Tragedy”
Greek tragedy was a highly structured and formalized art form in which dialogue between two individual actors (today’s main component of drama) was relatively unimportant.
– Euripides attempted to bring this closer to the language actually spoken by the audience

Deus ex machina
Latin for “god from a machine”
-a crane that could move characters through the air into the space in front of the scene building.
– Euripides used this device to introduce gods, who would resolve the plot and mete out punishment at the end of his tragedies.

Greece was not a unified nation but rather a network that consisted of Athens, Sparta, Corinth, and Thebes, etc.
– These places were ruled by kings or by nobles who managed to gain power.
– Read page 10 in book for all information.

Because the parts played by the actors were chosen by lots in order to avoid favoritism. By requiring the participation of a large number of citizens, democracy fostered a climate of political debate and dialogue, and the broader practice of debating and voting influenced the system. Pg. 10
Why are Athenian theater and Athenian democracy considered to be connected?

Time, Place, and Action
Called the “three unities”
– According to strictures of what became known as neoclassical theory, must be maintained by playwrights.

Plautus and Terence
Greeks who eliminated the chorus and significantly expanded the use of music, thereby turning their comedies into a kind of musical theater.

Closet Tragedy
– Designed to be recited at small, private gatherings or to be read in private.
– Seneca required that the audience or readers envision it as happening in their “sight.”

The Latin term for Roman actors that were considered theater professionals and were often times slaves.

“Moral instructor”
During the Roman times, a playwright was supposed to cater to the audience and serve as ____ ____. Their works should prove useful as well as pleasing.

The dramatic unities of time, place, and action dictated that the playwright not strain a spectator’s credulity by having events take place over more than one day and in more than one location and that the play be restricted to a single, focused plotline.
What was the belief of the dramatic unities of Early Modern European Theater?

James Burbage
Was considered the premiere Shakespeare thespian:

Tiring House
a structure located at the rear of the theater that had two balcony levels that could be used for audience seating, music, and scenes requiring actors to perform above stage level.
-ie) the balcony scene in Romeo and Juliet

Those who paid a penny to stand in the yard surrounding the stage during the Elizabethan period.

Most of London’s private theaters were built within city limits on properties known as _____ that were exempt from municipal control.

Verbal Description
How were settings established during English Theater?
– Stage properties were not used.

Master of the Revels
Was granted the power to license the plays and act as government censor:

the First Folio
The first compilation of Shakespeare plays published seven years after his death:

A play that holds serious moments that the playwright insists finding humor in.

“Golden Age”
A Spanish period that the dramatic theater achieved a level of excellence that rivaled that of Shakespeare’s.

Auto Sacramentale
-The most widely produced form of religious drama in 16th and 17th century Spain.
– Celebrated the mystery of the Eucharist in stories mixing the human, the supernatural, and the allegorical.
– Pg 42-43

Spanish public theaters constructed within square or rectangular courtyards enclosed on three sides by buildings.

Comedia Nueva
– Known as New Drama
– Proved to be the most popular and enduring dramatic form written during the Spanish Golden Age.
– Mixed High and Low, Tragedy and Comedy

Comedias de capa y espada
A sub-genre of the Comedia Nueva known as “cape and sword plays”

Lope de Vega
Played the greatest role in the development and success of the Comedia Nueva.
– Was a towering figure in Spanish Golden Age drama and one of the most prolific dramatists ever to write for the stage.

Proscenium Arch
The Palais Cardinal was the first in France to include this arch:

Comedie Francaise
Europe’s first national theater

The main floor of the auditorium in France consisted of a pit for standing spectators with benches along the wall known as?

The side and rear walls of a French auditorium that contained three rows of galleries, the first two of which were divided into boxes known as:

Jean Racine
France’s greatest tragic dramatist

French comedy attained a pinnacle of excellence in the later seventeenth century, chiefly through the plays of Jean Baptiste Poquelin. Better known as:

New “technology”
To accommodate sliding upstage shutters and side wings that made possible rapid scene changes, trapdoors, and flying machinery, new English theaters were built. These advances are called:

Boys who dressed as women:

John Dryden
a leading writer of tragic and other drama who defended “the honour of our English writers” against those who overvalued French dramatic models:

What type of drama flourished during the time period of Restoration England?

The Enlightenment
a philosophical movement centered in France that stressed the authority of reason and universally valid principles in human affairs

Theatrical Licensing Act
confirmed the Drury Lane and Covent Garden as London’s only licensed theaters and empowered the Lord Chamberlain to approve plays for performance, which passed in 1737

David Garrick (1717-1779)
The century’s greatest English actor

Domestic Tragedy
expanded to include the scenes of ordinary life. Pioneering play in this subgenre was the London Merchant. centered on downfall and moral reclamation of a London apprentice. Comedy modified

“a joy too exquisite for laughter”
Sir Richard Steele, speaking of the pioneering play in Domestic Tragedy, “The London Merchant”

Sentimental / “tearful’ Comedy
popular throughout Europe during the 18th century

drama bourgeois
a genre midway between tragedy and comedy, which would take the social and familial problems of the middle class as its subject

artists respected the boundaries between styles and poetic forms, the Romantics created unusual mixtures and sometimes left their works deliberately in fragments

Cromwell (1827)
served as a manifesto of Romanticism

an early form of spotlight that greatly enhanced designers’ ability to create theatrical illusions and effects

these plots involve extraordinary coincidences and hinge on sudden revelations and encounters

The Novel
Mid-1800s was a time when _________ experienced an unprecedented rise in status and appeal, and many of the era’s most accomplished writers turned their hands to fiction

The Well-Made Play
This was not based on spectacle and music but on complicated, intricately constructed plots. Led up to scene a faire

Scene a faire
the obligatory scene that “had to be done”

Richard Wagner
inaugurated what are today common theatrical methods such as dimming the light in the auditorium and hiding the orchestra to encourage the audience to focus exclusively on the stage

Minstrel Show
America’s most popular form of theatrical entertainment in the 19th century, was part of the fabric of American racism even as it is established an American, and especially an African-American

Modern Drama
Often characterized by a tension, even antagonism, between dramatists and audiences, an antagonism sometimes provoked by the playwrights themselves.

-Borrowed the conventions of the well-made play but interrupted its smooth, technically structured plots with lengthy dialogues, set speeches, and other devices that shifted dramatic attention from incidents to social and psychological issues.

A movement that originated in France in the 1860s and advocated that literature and art must faithfully present reality, with the writer and artist assuming the position of an objective scientist.

Seeks to depict contemporary life and society directly, unmediated by art’s distorting conventions.
– Ibsen’s play addresses social realities in recognizably contemporary settings.

A movement that advocated the primacy of beauty over values such as social or political utility and was particularly associated with Oscar Wilde.

A movement that focused on spontaneous associations, drifting thoughts, and dream images.

Theater of Cruelty
Artaud advocated a primal, physical theater inspired not just by ancient rituals but also by the slapstick comedy of the Marx Brothers under this name:

– The movements of the early 20th century were often grouped together under this classification.
– it is a political label applied to radical and advanced roups seeking social change.

Epic Theater
Relied on a number of techniques meant to interrupt the flow of plot and acting.

John Millington Synge
A playwright that wrote in a more colloquial, highly lyrical idiom. His plays undercut romanticized views of the Irish peasantry, proved controversial with the theatergoing Dublin public.

Tennessee Williams
The playwright who explored the intersection of the tragic and the everyday in American life, as characters grapple with the economic, social, and personal challenges of their modern world.
– His innovative dramaturgy was put to work in plays that captured the aspirations and anxieties of postwar America.

A tragedy that was written about tragedy. Focused on the nature of role-playing and the relationship between reality and theatrical illusion.
– ie) Luigi Pirandello / Jean Genet “The Maids”

Jean Genet
Whose plays create intricate layers of pretense that are never entirely peeled back?

What brought to a close the era of modern drama that began with Ibsen and other groundbreaking figures of the later nineteenth century?

Middle Class
What class established itself more firmly as the arbiter of social values after WWII?

The Theater of the Absurd
A movement whose dramatic features such as nonlinearity, antirealism, lack of traditional coherence, nonsensical language, metadramatic awareness, and the mixture of tragedy, comedy, and farce in a modern from of tragicomedy defined their plays:

the Arts Council of Great Britain
An independent, government funded body that for the first time in Britain provided state subsidies for the arts.

A theater that involved smaller buildings that often were some distance from the main commercial theater district, and because these spaces served smaller audiences they could be used to produce plays that the larger Broadway houses found too risky.

Theaters located in coffeehouses, church buildings, various basements, and wherever else space was available and provided opportunities for a generation of younger dramatists with strong anti-establishment leanings and experimental creative interest.

Always imprecise and is particularly elusive when applied to today’s historical moment.

“maker of plays”

The playwright’s principal means for revealing characters and their dramatic world, and the play relies mainly on the spoken word to communicate with its audience.

Spoken text, action text, subtext
Three texts that work together in performance:
– Pg. 83-84 Look it up.

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