Theatre Appreciation XXL

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Until the 16th century A.D., Western theatre was performed primarily as a part of:
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religious festivals.
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What is considered to be the cradle of Western Civilization?
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Athens.
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The Athenians are known as the “inventors of …” what?
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Democracy.
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What is the name of the Greek god of wine & fertility?
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Dionysus.
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What was the name of the largest & most important of the Athenian festivals in the above mentioned god’s honor which had theatrical performances?
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City Dionysia.
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Which dramatic form emerged FIRST in Athens as a part of the above mentioned festival?
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Tragedy.
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What is the name of the earliest playwright & actor?
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Thespis.
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What modern term is derived from his name? What does it mean?
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Thespian. It is used in reference to actors.
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What is a satyr play?
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It is short and comic in tone and usually poked fun at some Greek myth using a chorus of satyrs.
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LIST the 3 Greek Tragic Playwrights (also known as the “Great Tragedians”):
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Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripedes.
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What is the name of the tragedy that has become one of the most admired & frequently performed of the ancient Greek plays? Which of the above 3 playwrights wrote it?
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Oedipus Rex, written by Sophocles.
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What Greek word is the origin of our word for “theatre”? What does it literally mean?
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Theatron, meaning “seeing place”.
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What is the Greek word for “dancing place”?
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Orchestra.
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Were Greek theatres small & intimate?
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No, they were large.
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What is the name of the part of the theatre where actors could retire to change costumes?
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Skene.
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What is the name of the spaces on either side of the auditorium used for entrances & exits?
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Paradoi.
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LIST the 4 Categories of Greek Performers:
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Actors, chorus, supernumeraries, and musicians.
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LIST the 6 Conventions of Greek Theatre:
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1. A group of performers formed a chorus. 2. One actor often played several roles in a single play. 3. Men played both male and female roles. 4. Performers wore masks and character-appropriate dress. 5. Performers sang, chanted, and danced much of the text. 6. The scale of the theatre prevented small details from being seen.
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What is the name of the only Greek comic playwright who has plays that have survived?
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Aristophanes.
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Which type of Greek comedy (Old or New) set the pattern followed by most popular comic drama down to present day?
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New Comedy.
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How were Roman theatrical performances similar to those of ancient Greece?
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Theatrical performances were part of religious festivals.
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What does the term ludi mean?
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“Games”.
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When the appeal of the Roman-Greek style drama faded, it was replaced by other kinds of entertainment, such as:
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Short comic plays, dancing, singing, juggling, tightrope-walking, acrobatics, trained animals, gladiatorial contests, animal baiting, water ballets, mock sea fights, and a host of other events.
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Plays by only 3 Roman dramatists have survived. Who wrote comedies? Tragedies? Which famous English playwright was influenced by Roman drama?
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Plautus and Terence wrote the 26 surviving Roman comedies. Seneca wrote the 9 surviving tragedies.
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In Rome (like in Greece), who assumed the expenses of the theatrical productions?
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the state & wealthy citizens.
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Describe the physical structure of a typical Roman theatre. Seating? Orchestra shape? Stage? Façade? Doors? Theatre size?
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Theatres were temporary structures. Tiered seating for several thousand surrounded a half-circle *orchestra. There was long stage raised 5 feet above the orchestra. The stage was enclosed on either end & across the back by the *scaenae frons. There were 3-5 doors in the back wall & one on either end, windows, & a 2nd story that could be used for the action. The large scale of the Roman theatre was comparable to that of the Greeks, & was also an outdoor structure.
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How much was the price of admission & what was audience behavior like?
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Admission to the theatre was free, no reserved seating, & audiences were unruly.
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Instead of dealing with political or social issues, Roman comedy deals with what particular subject matter?
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everyday domestic affairs.
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What is the basis of most comic plots?
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Plots turn on misunderstandings—mistaken identity, misunderstood motives, or deliberate deception.
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Who is the “most famous” character in Roman comedy?
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The clever slave.
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Of all the Roman comedies, which has been the most popular?
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Plautus’ The Menaechmi.
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Was the doubling of roles & the use of masks just as common in Roman theatre as it was in the Greek?
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Yes.
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By the beginning of the Christian era, what types of entertainment became very popular in Rome?
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blood sports & variety entertainment.
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When regular comedy & tragedy were eventually driven from the stage, they were replaced with what new “favorite form” of play? What was unique about this new form with respect to the female roles?
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The mime. Women played the female roles in mime.
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How did the Christian Church feel about theatre?
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Christian church became a strong opponent of theatre due to what was performed & because it was associated with the worship of pagan gods.
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What are the 3 Phases into which the Middle Ages can be divided?
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EARLY (900-1050 A.D.), HIGH (1050-1300 A.D.), and LATE (1300-1500 A.D.)
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There are 2 Basic Types of Medieval Drama. What is the name of the type that was performed primarily within churches & monasteries?
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Litugical drama.
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In what language was the above mentioned drama written?
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Who “performed” these dramas & how was the dialogue delivered? (i.e. sung or spoken)?
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What is the name of other type of Medieval drama & how did it differ from the 1st type?
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The production of OUTDOOR religious dramas in England is usually associated with what group?
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How and why was the new feast day of Corpus Christi created? What impact did this new feast day have on theatre?
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the church’s desire to incorporate laymen more fully into its activities. Eventually this feast day became the occasion for dramas
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LIST & EXPLAIN the 2 Kinds of Time in which humanity was thought to participate:
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Eternal time and earthly time.
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What subject matter did Medieval cycles dramatize & encompass?
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the entire Biblical story of humanity from Creation to Doomsday.
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LIST & EXPLAIN the 2 Parts to a Medieval Stage:
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Mansions and platea.
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Why were the authors of Medieval cycles anonymous?
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What was the rationale for presenting these plays?
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“to honor God, to edify man, & to glorify the city.”
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The Wakefield Cycle (like most Medieval cycles) appears to have used which type of staging?
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Processional staging.
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MORALITY plays-
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FARCES-
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INTERLUDES-
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Hellenic is:
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Classical; pure Greek.
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The Hellenic idea of all art was to:
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take the specifics of nature & render them into an ideal form—expressed by Aristotle.
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Function of Hellenic theatre was to:
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express life as it should be—to depict individuals at the edge of their potential—idealized humanity.
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Hellenic art had to be:
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a WHOLE before it could be beautiful.
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Plays were written with a:
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cause/effect relationship—no place for accidental or illogical incidents—very logical.
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Characters weren’t:
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overly detailed. We learned just enough about them to understand their function within the play & to justify their actions.
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What was the fundamental premise of realism & naturalism?
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The belief that art should seek to represent human behavior and the physical world
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In the 1880’s, one group of artists rejected the above mentioned premise & substituted its own subjective vision. This rejection of the long-standing relationship between perception & representation is often considered to be the true beginning of what?
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Modernist temperament
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Artists could now be valued for what?
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For imaginative perception and formal innovation rather than accurate renditions of recognizable subjects
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The first artistic movement during this time to reject representationalism of the realists & naturalists was called what?
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Symbolism
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From where did the above mentioned artists choose their subject matter? Symbolism
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From the past, the realm of fancy or the mysterious present
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7. What subjects did they avoid? Symbolism
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Any attempt to deal with social problems or environmental forces
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What was the most important aspect of production to the Symbolism artistic movement?
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Established theatres, finding symbolist drama incomprehensible, where even less inclined to produce it than the words of ibsen and Zola. Thus they established independent theatres in which to perform their plays.
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Symbolism was very important for several reasons:
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(1). It was the 1st non-realistic artistic movement of the 20th century. (p. 162, 2nd col., top) (2). It also disrupted a pattern that had persisted since the beginning of theatre, that is, in each period the same conventions & approaches to production had been used for all plays, no matter what type they were. The transitions in conventions had been very gradual, but once established, the same conditions were used in staging all plays. This is the main reason why no director had been needed. The conventions were so deeply ingrained & well understood by all involved in theatre, supervision & control were unnecessary.
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13. In addition to symbolism, there were other challenges to realism & naturalism during the late 19th century. What was the name of one such artistic movement based in England? Who set forth this movement’s basic ideas?
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Walter pater set forth the basic ideas of English aestheticism, which advocated that the only functions of art were to intensify experience and to provide sensuous pleasure. It came to be called “art for art’s sake
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14. Under symbolism, what were the only functions of art?
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To intensify experience and to provide sensuous pleasure
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. What was the “name” by which the symbolism artistic movement eventually came to be called? Who became its best known playwright?
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Art for art’s sake, best known playwright “Oscar Wilde”
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How did modernism influence all of the arts (including theatrical scenery)? List some of the best-known examples of this influence.
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Modernism had depicted everything in relation to a fixed eye point. In the early 20th century, however, the visual art no longer always depicted all details of the same picture as seen from one eye point. The best examples are Picasso’s paintings,
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Why was it that Appia’s views on lighting came at a crucial time? What had just been invented?
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The incandescent electric lamp
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What concept did both Appia & Edward Gordon Craig promote with respect to the director?
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The concept of the director as the supreme, unifying theatre artist
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How did German director Max Reinhardt get around the problem of each artistic movement needing to establish its own unique theatre specializing in its own distinctive style?
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Reinhardt began to treat each production as a new challenge demanding its unique stylistic solution. Using this approach, the plays of all movements and periods could be accommodated in the same theatre. He would frequently build productions around elements significant to the theatrical context in which a play had originally appeared.
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As a result, what did Reinhardt establish as the dominant directorial approach?
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Eclecticism Eclecticism
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How did this Italian artistic movement propose to reform art & theatre?
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Futurism, sought to replace old art forms with a number of new ones, among them collage, kinetic sculpture, and bruitisme. With theatre they considered it to be remnants from the age of the oil lamp. To reform this, he proposed as a model the variety theatre, with its vaudeville acts, jugglers, dancers, gymnasts, and the like of its dynamic energy and audience involvement.
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What new artistic movement came out of Switzerland
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What was its premise? GIVE EXAMPLES. Dada was born as a grounded rejection of the values that had provoked World War I. They sought in their art to replace logic, reason, and unity with chance and illogic. They presented a number of programs in which, like futurists, they used simultaneity and multiple focus.
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What new artistic movement came out of Germany?
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On what did this type of drama specifically focus as far as the “human spirit” is concerned? Expressionism, it sought to counter materialism and industrialism, which it saw as distorting the human spirit
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. In this artistic movement, how is the external world seen?
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Expressionism charged that the industrial age had turned human beings into machines with conditioned responses and souls shriveled by materialistic values
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By the 1920’s modernism dominated “high art.” Most audiences still preferred the types of entertainment that had been popular before modernism. What were these types of popular entertainment & which type was the most popular? Why?
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Expressionism flourished in Germany, when optimism over the establishment of Germany’s first democratic government mad the realization possible of expressionist goals seam possible.
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Broadway audiences were not very tolerant of innovation. Experimental productions usually failed on Broadway during this time. By 1940, this caused Broadway producers to avoid stylistic extremes & adhere very closely to what theatrical form?
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realism
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What was the name of the play that Broadway audiences still flocked to see Despite the fact that it incorporated many nonrealistic techniques borrowed From Chinese theatre? What were those particular nonrealistic techniques?
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realism
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What was the name of the play that Broadway audiences still flocked to see Despite the fact that it incorporated many nonrealistic techniques borrowed From Chinese theatre? What were those particular nonrealistic techniques?
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Our town, onstage assistant to facilitate the action (stage manager) visual emphasis on costume rather than on scenery, and the use of pantomimed props and abstraction in establishing location
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The Great Depression of the 1930’s led, for the first time, to the government’s first financial support of theatre in the U.S. What was its name?
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Federal Theatre Project
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What wasFederal Theatre Projects task?
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As the depression deepened and unemployment grew, Congress created the works progress administration to provide jobs in many fields, including theatre. The Federal Theatre Project, was the most active in New York, it had although it had units in forty states. Its primary task was to provide “free, adult, uncensored theatre”
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For what is Federal Theatre Project best remembered?
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The living newspaper, because it explored a specific problem, along with its causes and proposed solutions
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After Stanislavsky’s visit to the U.S. in the early 1920’s, two of his former students established which theatre in New York from 1923-1930?
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The American laboratory Theatre .
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The successor to the above mentioned theatre came about in 1931 and was modeled on the Stanislavsky’s Moscow Art Theatre. What was its name?
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Group Theatre
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The German playwright, Bertolt Brecht, came to be associated with what type of theatre?
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Epic Theatre
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. Brecht believed that the world’s problems could be solved by what?
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That they could be solved by the adoption of socialism or communism
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Brecht wanted his audiences to watch plays actively & critically. In order to accomplish this he arrived at what concept?
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Alienation, the concept of distancing the audience from the stage events emotionally so it can view them critically
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. The above mentioned concept had many basic premises. The most important of which was calling attention to the theatre’s means.
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The purpose of this was to provide emotional distance from the story so that it might be analyzed more critically. He did this by making stage props clearly visible and advising actors to not entirely immerse them selves into a roll.
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Why did Brecht call his theatre “epic”?
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Because he thought it had more in common with epic poetry.
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What did the “other strain” of theatre of the 1920’s & 1930’s focus on (almost the exact opposite of Brecht’s focus)? Who was the most influential representative behind this theatre?
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Surrealism influenced by Antonin Artaud
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What were the premises behind surrealism?
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It emphasized one aspect of Freud’s teachings: the importance of the unconscious.
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. Through what artistic means & artist did surrealism make its greatest impact? HOW?
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Through the work of Salvador Dali, in which familiar objects are used in unfamiliar ways, juxtaposed with unrelated objects, or placed in “dream landscapes” to create visual metaphors that simulate the imagination and lead to a new perceptions
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. What was Artaud’s belief about theatre being used properly?
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It would free people from destructive impulsive.
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What was the name by which Artaud referred to this type of theatre?
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Theatre of cruelty
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With respect to the technical aspects of theatre, explain Artaud’s “new language of theatre.” Be specific with regard to the proscenium arch; scenery, costumes, & props; lighting & sound…
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He wanted to do away with scenery altogether and replace it with symbolic costumes and properties. In discussing lighting he wrote of a vibration shredded effect comparable to a strobe light, he favored a great variety in sound, ranging volume from whisper to a factory peak production. He advocated using the human voice not primarily for speech but for yelps, cries, and varied emotional and atmospheric effects.
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Why was Europe’s postwar mood much darker than America’s?
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Because Europe had suffered so much devastation and had ben subjected to so many atrocities.
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Brecht wrote plays that tackled what?
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Socially conscious plays
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What 2 playwrights wrote plays that dealt with corruption & moral responsibility of the individual?
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Max Frisch and Friedrich Durrenmatt
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Another influential playwright adopted a more radical version of Pirandello’s views. He is classified as the “best-known existentialist.” What is his name?
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Jean- Paul Sartre
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26. Who was yet another existentialist philosopher & writer of postwar Europe?
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Albert Camus
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What word did he use to describe the human situation or condition?
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Absurd
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To the “abusrdists”, truth consisted of what?
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Truth is unknowable
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Who was the most influential absurdist playwright, & what is his most important play?
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Samuel Beckett
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Who were the 2 major AMERICAN dramatists of the postwar era?
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1. Arthur Miller 2. Tennessec Williams
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In 1947, what did former members of the Group Theatre found in New York to provide members with an ongoing opportunity to develop their acting craft?
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The actors studio
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How much does it cost to become a member?
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Once admitted, there are no fees or tuition and membership is lifelong.
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What is its basic premise then?
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To provide its members an ongoing opportunity to develop their craft.
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Who are some of its most notable members?
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Robert Lewis. Elia Kazan, And Chery Crawford.
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By 1940, what theatrical form was the most popular in the U.S., had become distinctly “American”, & was viewed as America’s most significant contribution to the world of theatre?
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Musicals
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What was the name of the musical that set the standard for “big-book musicals” of the period?
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Oklahoma
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EXPLAIN the 5 Appeals that lead to the popularity of the musical:
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1. Musical & chorographical elements facilitate storytelling- They are Sources of pleasure in their own right they but can also facility sotrytelling 2. Music connecting or recalling moments separated in time- Music through conventions as reprise (the repletion of musical phrases or fragments of lyrics Can connect or recall moments. 3. Music assists in condensing time- When a song or musical passage is used to show how quickly a progression of events for that actuality occurs over a long period. 4. Music established mood & builds expectations- Even before the action begins an overture establishes the general mood of the work to follow and thereafter music help to establish the appropriate emotional tone and, through modulations in tempo, key, and volume, to build individual scenes and the work as a whole.
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Musicals provide considerable visual stimulation-
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Scenic, costume, and lighting designers typically are offered wide scope for their talents in musical productions. There are usually several changes in time and place with a large cast, which require multiple sets, And costumes.
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PHILOSOPHICAL Change (p. 101)
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People became more interested in earthly life rather than the afterlife. There was a rebirth of learning in many fields that had been forgotten during Medieval times—the Renaissance. Attention turned once again to “classical” ideals of Greece & Rome. This included plays & theatrical practices. Interest in uncovering forgotten discoveries that could be used in the present to make life easier & more comfortable. A good person was one who achieved something. Ideal person was multi-talented—”Renaissance Man”—DaVinci.
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. POWER SHIFT away from the Church (p. 101-102)
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Disputes over church doctrine & corruption led to the succession of several Protestant sects from the Catholic Church. They used theatre to ridicule each other & cause violent riots. Most European rulers were under great pressure to choose sides. The Church had become so corrupt that it alienated the general population.
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SECULAR Education (not in book)
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Universities were established not connected to the Church. Printing press made books readily available & illiteracy decreased.
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ECONOMIC Change (not in book)
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Towns & guilds emerged as a result of the Crusades when knights brought back eastern luxuries & helped to establish commerce. Feudal lords banned together & feudal system dissolved. Towns competed with each other, created a demand for artists, & a middle class was created. Europe eventually went from having an agricultural-based society with a barter economy to an urban society with a monied economy.
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INVASION by the Turks (not in book)
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In 1453 the Turks invaded Constantinople & 1000’s of artists, merchants… fled west. They brought with them skills, knowledge, talents, & books dating back to the Hellenic & Hellenistic periods. *This really marks the beginning of the Renaissance.
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CREATING A PROFESSIONAL THEATRE (p. 101-103)
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Because of the weakening of the Church’s influence due to corruption & the formation of Protestant sects, when Elizabeth I succeeded to the English throne in 1558, she decreed a ban on plays could dealing with religion & politics. (p. 102) Other European monarchs had already taken similar measures— King Henri II in France. (p. 102) This effectively sounded the death knell for the outdoor public performance of religious drama, which had been the mainstream form of entertainment across Europe for nearly 200 years, & by 1600 it had all but disappeared. (p. 102) It’s ironic that the outdoor religious play, that had been very popular for over 200 years was now forbidden by the same institutions (church & state) that had encouraged & support it. (p. 102) As a result, theatre had no choice but to become secular if it was to survive, so it turned to the classical literature & legends from Greece & Rome (revived by the fleeing artists & scholars from Constantinople) & a new kind of theatre was born. (p. 102) Since state & Church financial support was withdrawn, theatre had to reinvent itself as a commercial enterprise (make it’s own $) by performing all throughout the year, not just for occasional festivals. (p. 102)
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CREATING A PROFESSIONAL THEATRE (cont’d.)
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Actors, which had previously been amateurs performing on the side for no pay, now became professionals who performed as a way to make a living. (not in book) The trade guilds were very opposed to this—presenting plays to glorify God, the city, & edify man was fine, but doing plays for money was seen as wasteful & sinful. (p. 102) They sought to have professional theatre banned due to the fact that it took people away from work, encouraged immoral behavior, & spread disease. (p. 102) So to survive, professional groups had to: (p. 102) Perform often (year-round). Have a large enough stock of entertaining plays to keep a paying audience coming back. Have a large performance space to accommodate this audience. Collect entrance fees (theatre was no longer free). Own or control their own costumes & scenery. Organize a company of full-time actors & other personnel to oversee production & performances.
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CREATING A PROFESSIONAL THEATRE (cont’d.)
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This wasn’t easy to do since acting was not viewed as a “legitimate” profession during the 1st half of the 16th century. (p. 102) Because these bands of actors didn’t belong to an established, legitimate trade guild with a clear “master-in-charge,” they were seen as “masterless men”—no one claimed responsibility for them. (p. 102) So in the eyes of society, they fell into the same class as vagrants who were a threat to social order, & were subject to arrest & punishment. (p. 102) To skirt around this problem, bands of actors solicited the support of members of the nobility to serve as their patrons, & in doing so technically became their “servants,” & thus were “masterless” no more. (p. 102) Acting companies would then assume titles in honor of their patrons —the Lord Admiral’s Men, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, & the King’s Men—as indications of their “legal” status. (p. 102) Acting companies that had a noble patron not only had protection from persecution, but also status that helped sell tickets.
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CREATING A PROFESSIONAL THEATRE (cont’d.)
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Patrons eventually insisted that every company have a license from the crown & that every play be approved before being performed. (p. 103) Elizabeth I was Queen of England, she was very supportive of the arts, particularly theatre, & she inadvertently helped to establish theatre as a legitimate way to make a living. (not in book) In 1572, a law requiring that each acting company receive a license to perform from the crown was passed. And thus, when the profession was legalized, it became legitimate. (not in book) By the 1600’s professional acting companies across Europe were creating what many consider to be the greatest theatrical era the world has ever known, especially in ENGLAND. (p. 103)
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SHAKESPEARE & THE GLOBE: Elizabethan Theatre (p. 103-108 & pwr. pt.)
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The reputation of Elizabethan Theatre (c. 1585-1642) rests mostly on the works of William Shakespeare (1564-1616), perhaps the greatest playwright of all time. (p. 103) His company was the Lord Chamberlain’s Men & later the King’s Men. (p. 103) Despite the legal status these acting companies achieved through the patronage of the nobles & the licenses from the crown, the London City council (a.k.a. guildsmen) forbade performances in the city, so permanent theatres had to be built outside of the city limits—on the opposite side of the river Thames. (p. 104) Shakespeare’s theatre—The Globe—was no exception. (not in book)
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Other Significant Playwrights of this time: (p. 103)
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Thomas Kyd (could not find a picture of this guy to save my life!) Christopher Marlowe Ben Jonson John Fletcher John Webster
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Elizabethan Theatre (cont’d.)
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Theatrical conditions favored the development of playwrighting. (p. 103) There were always at least 2-4 theatre companies playing in London, performing 6 times a week (except Sundays) starting at 2pm. (p. 103) A flag was raised to let potential audiences know that a performance would be starting shortly & to start coming across the Thames. (not in book) Because there was strong competition for audiences, they could not rely on long runs of plays, so a different bill of plays was performed each day. (p. 103) In the 1590’s a London company produced a new play about every 17 days making this a great time to be a playwright. (p. 103) New plays were performed once, & then at intervals before it was permanently dropped from the repertory—average play lifespan was 10 performances. (p. 103)
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SHAKESPEARE & THE GLOBE: Elizabethan Theatre (cont’d.)
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Playwrighting at this time can be likened to present-day TV, where new episodes are offered each week to keep audiences tuning into the same channel. (not in book) Shakespeare & his contemporaries (like today’s TV writers) considered their plays popular entertainment, not literary works & did not seek publication. (p. 104) It wasn’t until 1616 (the year Shakespeare died), when Ben Jonson collected & published all of his own dramas, that plays gained the status of “literature.” (p. 104) Shakespeare’s plays were not collected & published until several years after his death. (p. 104) New plays were in constant demand—so playwrights had incentive to be prolific. (p. 104) Once a company paid a writer for a play, it belonged to the company, so a writer would have to sell 4 or 5 plays a year to make a decent living. (p. 104) Shakespeare seems to have written only about 2 a year, BUT he was also an actor & shareholder in his company, & eventually part-owner of the Globe, making him wealthier than his fellow dramatists. (p. 104)
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Grave curse shows Shakespeare’s fear for his bones (fun FYI)Reuters UK article Apr. 2007
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Digging up the bones of the dead was a common practice in Shakespeare’s time, usually to make room for more graves. Shakespeare had a rather odd preoccupation with the fear of exhumation. He was so afraid that his own remains would be dug up, that he had the curse engraved on his tomb in Holy Trinity Church in his home town of Stratford-upon-Avon as a warning to would-be gravediggers after his death in 1616. “GOOD FREND FOR JESUS SAKE FOREBEARE, / TO DIGG THE DVST ENCLOASED HEARE! / BLESTE BE THE MAN THAT SPARES THES STONES, / AND CVRST BE HE THAT MOVES MY BONES.” Scholars believe that the curse on his grave is at least partly responsible for there being no successful exhumation attempts on Shakespeare. Anxiety about the mistreatment of corpses can be found in 16 of his 37 plays with his fear of being dug up often being more pronounced than the fear of death itself. What is the most famous Shakespearian graveyard scene? Gravedigger scene from Hamlet (Act V, Sc. 1)
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SHAKESPEARE & THE GLOBE: Elizabethan Theatre (cont’d.)
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Once professional theatre was firmly established (much to the chagrin of the guildsman on the London City Council), permanent theatres began to be built (outside the city limits, of course) for the 1st time since the fall of Rome. (p. 104 & this pwr. pt. slide) In England, the 1st was The Red Lion (1567), the best known was The Theatre (1576), The Swan (1596), & The Globe (c. 1599) was Shakespeare’s theatre. (not in book) Between 1567 & 1625 more than a dozen playhouses were built. (p. 104) They were all unique in their own right, but they all had similar features that were based on Medieval conventions. (p. 104)
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SHAKESPEARE & THE GLOBE: Elizabethan Theatre (cont’d.)
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STRUCTURAL CONVENTIONS OF THE GLOBE: (p. 104-105) 1. It was round, with an exterior diameter of 99 feet. (p. 104) 2. Had 3 levels of roofed*galleries. (p. 104) 3. Galleries enclosed a 74 foot unroofed open space—*the yard. (p. 104) 4. 5-6′ raised stage jutted into the yard & the action on stage could be viewed from 2-3 sides. (p. 104) 5. Stage was sheltered by a roof—*”the heavens”. (p. 104) 6. Fixed, formalized, multilevel façade at the back—the *”tiring house”. (p. 104) 7. At least 2 large doors on stage in the *”tiring house” for entrances & exits. (p. 104-105) 8. 2nd level of the *”tiring house” was used for balconies. & *”Lords’ Rooms.” (p. 105) *See top of p. 106: THE NEW GLOBE THEATRE.
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Richard Burbage
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1567-1619) was one of the most famous Elizabethan actors & a member of Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later the King’s Men. (not in book)
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SHAKESPEARE & THE GLOBE: Elizabethan Theatre (cont’d.)
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SIMILARITIES TO GREEK, ROMAN & MEDIEVAL THEATRE: (p. 105-107) 1. The façade was like the *mansions & the stage the *platea. (p. 105) Simple furniture & props were usually brought out as necessary. 2. The same formalized façade was used for all scenes. (p. 105) *”spoken dĂ©cor” The playwright practically had unlimited freedom of time & place. 3. No historical accuracy with costumes—Elizabethan garments. (p. 106) Maintaining an adequate wardrobe was VERY expensive! 4. Performances took place in the open-air during daylight hours. (p. 106) 5. Acting company comprised of about 25 men—shareholders, actors, musicians, stagehands, boy apprentices, etc. Male actors only (1st female actresses in England in 1661). (p. 106) Charles II (restored to the throne in 1660 after ousting Oliver Cromwell) decreed in 1661 that women could play the female roles onstage, thus making it legal, for the 1st time since the Roman mimes, for actresses to appear onstage. (*See also p. 108, top) 6. There was much double casting. (p. 106) 7. Masks were used, but only for disguises. (p. 107) 8. The dialogue was written in poetic verse & there was a strong musical element. (p. 107)
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What is considered to be the 1st regional theatre & the prototype for all American Regional Theatres? What’s the name of the director who opened it?
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Theatre ’47.
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The director from Question #2 was devoted to what? (Understand that this “devotion” is really at the heart of “decentralization” of theatre in America.)
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The creation of theatre independent of Broadway and its commercial goals.
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How did other American Regional Theatres & decentralization come about? Was it through government, or most private subsidy? What theatre in Minneapolis was a prime example of this?
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Through private subsidiary; Guthrie Theatre.
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What is the NEA & what is its purpose?
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The National Endowment for the Arts; it dispensed federally appropriated funds to arts groups throughout the United States.
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Why have regional theatres become so attractive to playwrights?
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Playwrights don’t have to reshape their plays to fit the demands of Broadway producers.
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To what does the term “Off-Broadway” refer?
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Performance venues just outside of the traditional New York City theatre district.
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What were the 2 major factors that contributed to Off-Broadway’s creation?
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1. Production costs on Broadway. 2. The creative aspirations of theatre practitioners.
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What types of buildings did Off-Broadway groups use for performances? Why?
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Out-of-the-way buildings never intended for theatrical purposes.
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What was the name of the most important Off-Broadway group?
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The Circle in the Square.
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What prompted the development of Off-Off Broadway? What was the name of its most important early group? What did this group provide?
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Production costs rose until the advantages originally offered by Off-Broadway largely disappeared; La MaMa – it provided a place free from restrictions where dramatists could see their plays performed.
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What was the name of the best known alternative theatre group & what was the main purpose behind it?
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The Living Theatre; it was originally devoted to poetic drama, and later grew into a company focused on radical social and political change.
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What 2 major changes did alternative theatre groups introduce to live performance? Through what musical were these changes realized on Broadway?
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The introduction of obscene language and nudity; Hair.
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Were alternative theatre groups commercially successful? What were their main goals for theatre? What “name” was given to the type of theatre they practiced?
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None of them were dedicated to commercial success. Their goals were instead social, political, and artistic. The name given to their type of theatre was “poor theatre.”
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The only 2 essential elements that Jerzy Grotowski’s “poor theatre” required were:
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the actor & the audience.
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Richard Schechner’s “environmental theatre” approach to performance involved the use of 4 main conventions:
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1. “The event can take place in a totally transformed space or in a ‘found space.’ 2. “All the space is used for performance; all the space is used for the audience.” 3. “A text need be neither the starting point nor the goal of a production. There may be no text at all.” 4. During a performance, “…focus is flexible & variable.”
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Give some examples of Josef Svoboda’s “multimedia” experiments.
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Polyekran and Laterna Magika.
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What was the argument behind Allan Kaprow’s happenings?
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In addition to the art objects on display, the space and all those who attend must be considered essential parts of the total artistic experience.
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What makes up performance art pieces?
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It may intermingle borrowings from visual arts, dance, music, video, and theatre.
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What effect did the NEA & regional theatres have on Broadway?
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Broadway came to premiere plays less and less frequently, choosing instead to present new plays that had been successful in regional, Off-Broadway, Off-Off-Broadway, or British theatres.
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What remained Broadway’s favorite fare?
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Musicals.
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In 1968, what was the significant change with Broadway’s “favorite fare”? What was the crucial production that brought about the change?
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“Hair” broadened what might be used as subject matter for a musical and explored different ways dance and music might be used to convey thought and dramatic action.
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Who was the most successful AMERICAN writer/composer on Broadway at this time?
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Stephen Sondheim.
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How did his works depart from previous American musicals?
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His musicals departed from the upbeat optimism of previous American musicals; they offered ironic and melancholic views of human behavior and social values and avoid happy endings. He also made the songs and music much more complex.
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What replaced the American musical on Broadway in the 1970’s & 1980’s?
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English musicals.
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Which ENGLISHMAN became the most successful musical composer? What are some of his best-known works?
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Andrew Lloyd Webber; Jesus Christ, Evita, Cats, and Phantom of the Opera.
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The American musical was reasserted in many ways which include:
answer

1. Revivals 2. Dynamic, new musicals 3. 42nd Street Development Project 4. Disney producing musicals 5. Musicals based on films and pop music
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LIST the 7 new generation playwrights that came into the scene after 1960.
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1. Edward Albee 2. Neil Simon 3. Lanford Wilson 4. David Mamer 5. Terrence McNally 6. Christopher Durang 7. Sam Shepard
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During the years between the end of WWII & the 1970’s, theatre underwent many changes. What was the most significant change?
answer

The decentralization of theatre.

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