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Ch 5 (7th Ed) Ch 4 (8th Ed) -- Theatrical Genres
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Ch 5 (7th Ed) Ch 4 (8th Ed) -- Theatrical Genres

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  • 1. Chapter 4
  • 2.  Genre  A French word meaning “category” or “type”  Oldest and best-know genres are: ▪ Tragedy ▪ Comedy 2© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 3. Tragedy – Dramatic form involving serious actions of universal significance and with important moral and philosophical implications, usually with an unhappy ending. Conditions or Climate for Tragedy – (Golden Age in Greece 5th Century BCE and Renaissance 14th -17th century in Europe) 1) Human beings are capable of vast accomplishments 2) World is potentially cruel and unjust 3© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 4.  Traditional Tragedy  Tragic Heroes and Heroines ▪ A person of stature—king, queen, general ▪ Stand as symbols of an entire culture or society ▪ Trapped in a fateful web of tragic circumstances  Tragic Fate  Acceptance of Responsibility  Tragic Verse  The Effects of Tragedy 4© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 5.  Modern Tragedy  No queens or kings as central figures  Written in prose rather than poetry  Probe the same depths and ask the same questions 5© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 6. Comedy – in general, a play that is light in tone, concerned with issues that are not serious, has a happy ending and is designed to amuse. Characteristics of Comedy  Suspension of Natural Laws ▪ Slapstick – Type of comedy or comic business that relies on ridiculous physical activity – often violent in nature – for its humor.  Contrast Between Individuals and the Social Order  The Comic Premise 6© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 7. Comic Premise – Idea or concept in a comedy that turns the accepted notion of things upside down. 7© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 8. Comedy (Point of View) – the world is relatively normal and the individual is absurd and out of sync with reality. (Tartuffe, Pee-wee Herman, many Jim Carey movies) Modern Comedies and especially Tragicomedy (Point of View) – The world is absurd and ridiculous and an ordinary person is set at odds against it. (Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, Zombieland) 8© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 9.  Forms of Comedy  Farce – dramatic genre usually regarded as a subclass of comedy, with emphasis on plot complications and with few or no intellectual pretensions. ▪ Thrives on exaggeration ▪ Has no intellectual pretensions ▪ Aims are entertainment and laughter ▪ Has excessive plot complications ▪ Humor results from ridiculous situations as well as pratfalls and horseplay 9© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 10.  Forms of Comedy continued  Burlesque – Satire of a more serious form of drama ▪ Relies on knockabout physical humor, gross exaggeration, and occasional vulgarity ▪ Historically, it was a ludicrous imitation of other forms of drama 10© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 11. 11 Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest” (A Comedy of Manners) © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 12.  Forms of Comedy continued  Satire ▪ Uses wit, especially sophisticated language; irony; and exaggeration to expose or attack evil and foolishness ▪ http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-october-7-2009/  Domestic Comedy ▪ Usually deals with family situations ▪ Found in TV situation comedies 12© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 13.  Forms of Comedy continued  Comedy of Manners – form of comic drama that became popular in 17th century France and the English Restoration, emphasizing a cultivated or sophisticated atmosphere and witty dialogue. ▪ Concerned with pointing out the foibles and peculiarities of the upper class ▪ Uses verbal wit  Comedy of Ideas ▪ Uses comic techniques to debate intellectual propositions such as the nature of war, cowardice, and romance 13© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 14.  Heroic Drama – serious but basically optimistic drama, written in verse or elevated prose, with noble or heroic characters in extreme situations or unusual adventures  Serious drama that has heroic or noble characters and certain other traits of classic tragedy  Has a happy ending  Assumes a basically optimistic worldview © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 14
  • 15.  Domestic Drama (or Bourgeois) – drama dealing with problems – particularly family problems – of middle and lower class characters.  Deals with people from everyday life instead of kings, queens, and nobility  In last 150 years, has replaced both classical tragedy and heroic drama as the predominant type of serious drama  Common themes are: ▪ Problems of society ▪ Struggles within a family ▪ Dashed hopes ▪ Renewed determination 15© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 16.  Melodrama  Means “song drama” or “music drama”  Originally comes from the Greek  Made popular by the French at end of 18th century and beginning of 19th century  “Music” refers to the background music that accompanied these plays 16© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 17.  Melodrama continued  Relies on surface effects that create suspense, fear, nostalgia, etc.  Heroes and heroines are clearly delineated from villains  Has easily recognizable stock characters  Virtue is always victorious  Has a suspenseful plot 17© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
  • 18.  Tragicomedy – during the Renaissance, a play having tragic themes and noble characters but a happy ending; today, a play in which serious and comic elements are integrated. ▪ Point of view is mixed ▪ Prevailing attitude is a synthesis, or fusion, of the serious and the comic  Shakespearean Tragicomedy  Modern Tragicomedy  Theatre of the Absurd – Plays expressing the dramatist’s sense of the absurdity of human existence. 18© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.