Theatre History and Literature 2, Study Guide – FINAL People Carlo Gozzi and Carlo Goldoni (Servant of Two Masters): Writers of the 18 th century and rivals. Gozzi inspired the romantics of the early 19 th century and nonrealistic theatre of the 20 th century; writer of The King Stag . Goldoni was a more realistic playwright who created a movement that would dominate the modern period; writer of The Servant of Two Masters . The Servant of Two Masters : Comedy about marriage and mistaken identity. A commedia dell’arte play. Denis Diderot: French philosopher who published Torelli’s drawings in the late 18 th century in his Encylopedie . Advocated a rationalist philosophy, based on nature and the intellect. Wrote an essay titled, “The Paradox of Acting”, where he explained actors should be calculated to give consisted performances (they shouldn’t experience the emotions of themselves). Creator of the “fourth wall”. Johann Gottsched & Caroline Nueber: German actor-managers who attempted to reform popular theatre. They introduced more traditional neoclassical dramatic forms, focused more on rehearsals and carefully staged performances, and (at first) eliminated some of the comic characters who had predominated. They were unsuccessful but inspired other significant German actor-managers. Friedrich Schiller: German playwright and dramatist who wrote The Robbers as his first play about his disaffection as a recruit at a military academy. Closely associated with Goethe , and led him to take a new interest in the court theatre. Believed that drama should transcend ordinary experience and reveal ideal truths, they transformed the Weimar theatre. Johan Wolfgang von Goethe: A theatrical director, a playwright, critic, philosopher, and minister of the court of Weimar. He is known for his directorial innovations, such as, intensive rehearsals and expecting his actors to work as a unified ensemble company, and he penalized those who broke his rehearsal rules. Was not a fan of a more natural acting style, he believed actors should address the audience rather than each other. He followed routine blocking patterns, emphasized careful stage composition. Carefully oversaw settings and costumes and believed in historical accuracy, our modern tradition of audience decorum was established by Goethe. John Gay ( The Beggar’s Opera ): Writer of The Beggar’s Opera and creator of the new dramatic form, Ballad opera , a parody of Italian opera. There was no sung dialogue- that is, no recitative. Instead, spoken dialogue alternated with songs set to popular contemporary melodies. Characters were drawn from the middle and lower classes, and ballad operas were social and political satires poking fun at contemporary issues. The Beggar’s Opera : A play about a man who sleeps with a bunch of women and impregnates them, only to be saved at the end. A happy ending, he marries Polly. George Buchner ( Woyzeck ): German playwright, wrote Woyzeck , who wrote more radical and enigmatic pieces compared to his other dramas. Became popular in 20 th century when there was an increased interest in naturalism, expressionism, and absurdum. Woyzeck : A rather sad lower-class man caught in the forces of environment and heredity. More radical and enigmatic. Often staged in the 20 th century by avant- garde directors who are intrigued by its presentation of the physical and emotional destruction of a lowly soldier. Bibiena family: Known for scenic and theatre design, spanning over three generations, producing seven members who were successful designers. They’re noted for 3 innovations. Their use of baroque art in scenic design, the vast scale and elaborate ornamentation of their settings, and their use of angle perspective. Their style of scenic design dominated the 18 th century. Richard Wagner: An opera composer/stage and directing theorist. Believed that a production, no matter what kind, should be a masterwork in which all elements (music, words, action, scenery, lighting) are integrated as “total theatre.” He also believed that one person should serve as writer, composer, and director. Strongly innovated stage illusion; he would forbid musicians to tune their instruments in the orchestra pit, and audience members were not supposed to applaud during the course of a presentation, he is credited with being the first director to extinguish the house lights in order to focus the audience’s attention on the stage. Victor Hugo (Hernani): French playwright who opposed neoclassicism, and was a strong believer in romanticism. Hernani : Written by Victor Hugo, it broke all the neoclassical rules causing a theatre riot to take place in Paris in 1803 when it premiered. For the next 55 nights’ riots and fights broke out between believers of neoclassicism and romanticism. William Macready: An actor and director of English theatre in the 19 th century. A dignified, studious actor, who researched and rehearsed each role. He was a pioneer in stage realism and introduced the “Macready pause” (where he paused momentarily during delivery of lines to show he was thinking). One of the first directors to impose blocking on his actors, and he also made them act during rehearsals rather than go through the motions lifelessly. He also improved the repertoire by persuading leading literary figures to write for the stage and produced plays by old famous playwrights. Madame Vestris: One of the few women involved in theatre management, the proprietor of the Olympic Theatre in England. She paid close attention to every aspect of a production and coordinated all elements as a unified whole. She is credited with introducing the box set-complete with ceiling- to England around 1832. She dressed all her settings with real properties, rather than just painting them on. She replaced exaggerated costumes with everyday clothes and was practiced strict control over her acting companies. Duke of Saxe-Meiningen: Also known as George II , a German late 19 th century stage director. He insisted on historical accuracy and created appropriate scenic illusions. He decorated the stage floors too, and its acting ensemble was unified. He is considered one of the first modern directors, his actors rehearsed with scenery and costumes for an extensive period before performances. He used professional actors for everything, even crowds or company actors. Edwin Forrest: An American star, who was noted for his portrayal of melodramatic heroes, had made an unsuccessful English tour, and he blamed its failure on Macready, whose style was more subtle and realistic. This is where he got into a fight/riot with Macready. Edwin Booth: Known as America’s finest actor, specifically known for his portrayal of Hamlet. He built his own theatre, where for five years he presented a series of significant Shakespearean productions. He used heavy set pieces and freestanding scenery to create historically accurate settings, and he introduced an elevator stage for raising and lowering entire sets/ installed flying equipment to raise scenery out of sight above the proscenium. His theatre was forced into bankruptcy. Charles Macklin: An actor who is best-known for his revolutionary sympathetic portrayal of Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice . Born in Ireland and worked in London , where he was primarily a comic performer. Known for his more natural style of performing, rooted in his gift for observation and mimicry. He coached several other actors throughout his career. He also wrote plays and eventually produced about 40 plays total, he is credited with bringing a more lifelike style of performance to 18 th century stage, and focusing on observation of daily life as means of establishing character and costume. Dion Boucicault ( The Poor of New York ) : Responsible for the introduction of fireproofing in the theatre when one of his melodramatic plays called for an onstage fire. A 19 th century melodramatic playwright who used many special effects (despite the less sophisticated technology). Writer of The Poor of New York , where a tenement burned onstage. The Poor of New York : The piece revolves around the efforts of a middle-class family, newly impoverished by the financial panic of 1857, to survive against a villainous banker . Ira Aldridge: One of the leading Shakespearean actors of the 19 th century. Performed for almost 40 years mostly in Europe where he won wide recognition. African American and had to fight racial obstacles. Inducted into the New York Theatre Hall of Fame for his bravery and performances. Anna Cora Mowatt ( Fashion ): One of the few female playwrights and an actress. French, and was praised for her natural style by the author Edgar Allan Poe. Mowatt’s status as a member of the social and literary elite ensured that Fashion would get more sympathetic attention that was usual for a new American play. Fashion : Very successful, one of the very first American social comedies. It advocated American sensibility rather than slavish imitation of foreign fashions. It had different character types and it was important because American drama was not highly esteemed at that time. It criticized the American tendency to prefer anything European. Sarah Bernhardt: A French star who dominated the international stage in the late 19 th century. Flamboyant and eccentric. A master of stage technique, but her chief asset was her voice, often compared to a golden bell. Managed theatres twice in Paris, a sculptor, and a writer of poetry and plays. Eleanora Duse: The other French star. She foreshadowed the sincere realism of the 20 th century. She was as quiet and reclusive as Bernhardt was flamboyant. Her style was greatly admired by critics, for its realism. She wore no makeup and just focused on the expressionism of her characters, coming off to audiences as very sincere. Phillippe Jaques de Lourtherbourg: Franco-British painter who became known for his large naval works , his elaborate set designs for London theatres, and his invention of a mechanical theatre called the "Eidophusikon". Dramaturgical Concepts/Genres Neoclassic Ideals: Rules formulated by Italian critics. The rules imitated the Greeks and Romans, but they were actually more rigid than Aristotle. Scaliger and Castelvetro were two of the biggest dramatists. Rules: Decorum (all dramatic characters should behave in ways based on their age, profession, sex, rank, etc.), verisimilitude (“true to life”), the Unities (Time, Place, Action). The Unities: Should not exceed 24 hours, the action of a play happened at one locale , one central story with a relatively small group of characters and NO subplots. Genre (the “type” of play) was defined very narrowly…tragedy dealt with royalty, comedy dealt with common people, tragedy must be resolved calamitously, comedy must be resolved happily, and the two genres must NEVER be mixed. Nothing unrealistic could happen onstage, no chorus, no deus ex machina, no soliloquies, no ghosts, no deaths, and no monsters. Middle Class Tragedy: Any serious play that did not fit the neoclassical definition of tragedy. It ignored the requirement of royal protagonists and drew tragic heroines from the emerging middle class. This emergence reflected the rise of the middle class as a political and social force, and middle class audiences expected dramas to show their problems and point of views. Sentimental Comedy/laughing comedy: Popular in England, like Restoration comedy but it reaffirms middle-class morality; the virtuous are rewarded and the wicked punished. Sentimental comedies are comedies of manners, satirize social conventions and norms and have the character types found in Restoration comedy. Later in the 18 th century English dramatist, Oliver Goldsmith, attacked sentimental comedy and created laughing comedy. This comedy would force audiences to laugh at their own eccentricities and absurdities. Overall playwrights tried to find a balance between upholding middleclass virtues and making fun of social pretensions. Ballad Opera: A parody of Italian opera and was popularized in the 1730s by John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera . There is no sung dialogue, instead spoken dialogue is alternated with songs set to popular contemporary melodies. Characters in ballad operas were drawn from the middle and lower classes. Ballad operas were often social and political satires poking fun at contemporary issues. Melodrama (consider early beginnings in France as well as development in the U.S.): Emerged in Paris at the end of the 18 th century. Plays presented spectacular effects, violent action, and moral lessons, they are visually spectacular and dramatize the battle between good and evil. It means “song drama” or “music drama.” The music refers to the background music that accompanied these plays, and the special effects were meant to evoke suspense, fear, nostalgia, and other strong emotions. Heroes and heroines were clearly delineated and stood in sharp contrast to villains, and there were other easily recognizable stock characters. There is a suspenseful plot with a climactic moment at the end of each act. Domestic Tragedy: Domestic tragedies focused on bourgeois family concerns. They often rewarded the virtuous and punished the wicked, and they tended to be sentimental and melodramatic. They openly appealed to the emotions as they pitted good against evil. Very similar to Middle Class Tragedy. Sturm & Drang (Storm and Stress): A German movement that admired Shakespeare and the Elizabethans. They rejected dramatic rules, were not uniform in their playwriting techniques, and some patterned their works after Shakespeare (episodic structure, mixing genres, and presenting violence onstage.) Popular storm and stress playwrights were Goethe and Schiller. The plays were radical in subject matter and style. Romanticism: Influenced by the German “storm and stress” movement. A revolutionary philosophical and literary trend of the first half of the 19 th century. The romantics rejected the neoclassical rules and all other artistic rules, suggesting that genius creates its own rules. Many romantics used Shakespeare’s structural techniques: Their plays were episodic and epic in scope. But they were often more interested in creating mood and atmosphere than in developing believable plots or depth of character. They did not believe in purity of genre, they considered all subject matter to be appropriate for the stage, and they often used supernatural elements. The hero was usually a social outcast who quested for justice, knowledge, and truth. A common theme was one about the gulf between human beings’ spiritual aspirations and their physical limitations. Concepts of freedom and liberty were in the air, and some popular romantic plays were, Hernani and Woyzeck . Opera Comique: Known as comic opera. A pantomime-like entertainment. Actors dressed as cupids held signs onstage on which were printed the other characters’ speeches (in rhymed couplets). The action was mimed by the performers and spectators would often sing the dialogue, encouraged by performers plant4edin the audience. The characters were drawn from commedia dell’arte. It became more like ballad opera as legal restrictions were removed, since it used popular music, satirized political and social issues or other forms of drama, and had no recitative. But eventually became more sentimental by midcentury. Well-Made Play: A play that builds mechanically to its climactic moments and is intended mainly to arouse the audience’s interest in these contrived climaxes- not to create truthful emotions or characterizations. When critics describe a show today as a well-made play they are usually being condescending. It emphasizes careful cause-and-effect development, and is usually a tightly constructed crisis drama. Action usually revolves around a secret known to the audience but not to the characters, and the opening of the play carefully spells out the needed background information, or exposition. Each act builds to a climactic moment. Throughout the play, d evices like letter and lost documents often motivate the dramatic action. Playwrights focused on more realistic and socially relevant subject matter. Early American Drama (stock types): Supported the minstrel show, burlesque, variety, vaudeville, and the circus. Performers were often white with some black, and burnt cork was used (exaggerated lips and eyes before minstrelsy). Architecture/ where was it/ what did it look like/ acting practices (what was the organization & the “technique” or role) Bombastic acting v. declamatory acting: Bombastic – Standardized patterns of stage movement, addressing their lines to the audience, not to the character to whom they were supposed to be speaking. Both terms suggest its emphasis on oratorical skills. Declamatory was a more natural approach , but it was still very speech-like. 18 th Century touring companies: Varied from country to country, and sometimes within the country. English companies rehearsed their plays under the supervision of an actor-manager, who was the company’s leading performer, rehearsals were usually 3 hours a day for 2 weeks, and actors were contracted fro a specific period of time. In France, the sharing plan remained in use in government-supported theatre companies in Paris, while the others were managed by business entrepreneurs. English companies offered a night with varieties of performances while the French would not offer quite as much entertainment. 18 th Century acting styles: Actors were often employed by “lines of business”, that is, according to type. Typically , actors possessed their parts, once they performed a role, it would remain theirs until retirement or death. Some tried to create a natural, individualized characterization s, but they were not in the m a i nstream . They opposed the emphasis on declamation, stereotypical positioning of performers onstage and singsong delivery of verse; they wanted to create individual characters, and have a more careful rehearsal process. But this was restricted by conventional stage practices, and they could not attempt to reflect everyday life onstage. Comedie Francaise: A democratically organized acting company. The company members voted on such issues as the bill. This bill le d to larger acting companies. Bayreuth Festpielhaus: A few years after Edwin Booth inaugurated his NY theatre, this innovative 19 th century theatre building opened in Europe. It was built for Richard Wagner as a home for his operas and theatrical theories. There were 1,300 individual seats in 30 raked rows, forming a fan-shaped auditorium; the rows became longer the farther away they were from the stage, and audiences entered and exited at the ends of rows (continental seating). 300-seat balcony above them, and the price was the same for every seat in this opera house. There was a double proscenium arch, and a sunken orchestra pit, which separated the audience from the stage. Booth’ s Theatre: A modern proscenium-arch theatre, with elevators to bring scenery in and out from above, a modern orchestra area, and balconies. It was not raked and was not a typical wing-and-shutter scenery. Often said to have been the first modern theatre in New York City. African Grove Theatre: The first formal black theatre company in America (in NYC), was founded in the season of 1820-1821 by William Brown and James Hewlett. On its stage, King Shotaway believed to be the first play both written and performed by African Americans. Racial tension led the police to close the African Grove. Covent Garden: Where Aldridge (popular African American performer) returned to when racial tensions rose at other theatres. A theatre in London, known ass the Royal Teatre . The Box Set: Slowly the wing-and-shutter system grew old and out of style. The Box Set was an alternative for holding scenery. A box set consists of flats hinged together to represent a room; it often has practicable elements, such as doors and windows, which were used during performances. The moving panorama: Painted settings on a long cloth, which could be unrolled across the stage by turning spools, and it created an illusion of movement and changing locales. Gas lighting (when did it emerge, who had it?): Emerged in the 19 th century (1816) in Philadelphia’s Chestnut Street Theatre. The Lyceum Theatre in London demonstrated gas lighting in 1803 and used it fully in 1817. The gas table was the equivalent of a modern dimmer board, it allowed a single stagehand to alter the intensity of lighting throughout a theatre. It was controlled lighting that allowed significant changes in architecture and staging. Very dangerous. Events (What happened? Where? Why do we care?): Licensing Act of 1737: Restricted the presentation of drama to the Drury Lane and Covent Garden theatres and made the lord chamberlain responsible for licensing plays. Many theatrical figures tried to circumvent the Licensing Act. Some managers simply opened unlicensed houses, hoping that the act would not be vigorously enforced. Old Price Riots: Took place when London’s Covent Garden Theatre was remodeled in 1809 and prices for admission were raised by the actor-manager John Philip Kemble. When the lower-class audiences learned about the higher prices and also dis c overed that the third-tier gallery had been turned into expensive private boxes rented for the season, they disrupted performances for over sixty nights, chanting, sounding noisemakers, and throwing things. Management gave in and the old prices for the pit were restored and the number of boxes were reduced. Astor Place Riot: This riot erupted in NYC in 1849, and was a result of nationalistic fervor and the passionate involvement of theatre audiences. It was set off when working-class fans of American star Edwin Forrest attacked a theatre in which the English actor William Charles Macready, who had supposedly insulted Forrest, was performing. Hernani Riot (1839): When Hernani by Victor Hugo premiered at the Comedie Francaise, the home of French neoclassical drama. Hugo was a romantic and therefore opposed to neoclassicism, and his show broke all the neoclassical rules. For 55 nights, shouting, rioting, and fights broke out in the theatre between supporters of neoclassicism and advocates of romanticism. 18 th century government regulation of theatres in France & Germany: In France, there were government restrictions on what types of plays could be produced. Three major Parisian theatres were subsidized by the government: the Opera, the Comedie Francaise, the home of nonmusical drama, and after 1716 the Comedie Italienne, the home of commedia dell’arte and later of comic opera. In Germany, government was not unified, there were multiple independent states. Therefore, German theatre struggled to become established in the early 18 th century but became an important artistic force during the last bit of the century.