Ch 14 (8th Ed) Ch 15 in 7th Ed

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Ch 14 (8th Ed) Ch 15 in 7th Ed

  1. 1. Chapter 14
  2. 2. Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen was a pioneer in developing modern realistic drama. Along with playwrights like August Strindberg, he revolutionized the theatre of the late 19th century by dealing with taboo subject matter in a manner that mirrored everyday life. Much of their work was controversial and could not be produced in state or commercial theatres. Shown here, Cate Blanchet in “Hedda Gabler” in a Sydney Theatre Company Production. © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 2
  3. 3.  Background: The Modern Era (1875-present)  Pioneers ▪ Henrik Ibsen (Norwegian) ▪ August Strindberg (Swede) ▪ Anton Chekhov (Russian)  Began in the late 19th century and continues to this day © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 3
  4. 4.  Theatrical Realism  Everything onstage is made to resemble observable, everyday life  Power lies in its credibility and sense of identification  Departure from realism © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 4
  5. 5.  Realistic Playwrights  Henrik Ibsen ▪ Considered founder of modern realistic drama. ▪ Best known for “A Doll’s House” and “Hedda Gabler” ▪ Felt drama should tackle taboo subjects for stage ▪ Refused to make clear moral judgements in his plays © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 5
  6. 6.  Realistic Playwrights  August Strindberg ▪ 20 years younger than Ibsen; took realism another step in plays like “Miss Julie” and “The Father.” ▪ Personalized and intensified Ibsen’s realism ▪ Instead of focusing on people in a social context, focused on people at war with themselves and with each other ▪ Took realism closer to “naturalism” in early part of his career  No intermission  Characters multidimensional, complex and contradictory  Scenery needs to be real pots and pans, etc  Dialogue is interrupted and fragmented to imitate real life © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 6
  7. 7.  Realistic Playwrights  Anton Chekhov ▪ “The Seagull” was at first a failure, then a huge success at the Moscow Art Theatre ▪ Major plays include “Uncle Vanya,” “Cherry Orchard,” and “The Three Sisters.” ▪ Introduced important element to realism – ▪ ▪ ▪ ▪ moved away from melodramatic elements like suicide Dealt with a full gallery of characters (12-14) not just 5 or 6 Orchestrated characters so their stories overlapped Developed tragicomedy © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 7
  8. 8.  Naturalism -- special form of realism developed in Europe in 19th century; not carefully plotted or constructed but meant to be a “slice of life”  Developed alongside realism  A subdivision of realism, or an extreme form of realism  Began in France and spread to other countries  Most famous naturalistic theorist and playwright was Emile Zola (French) © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 8
  9. 9.  Naturalism continued  Everything onstage should seem to have been lifted     directly from everyday life Dramatic action should never seem contrived but rather look like a “slice of life” Many naturalists believed subject should be lower class Often focused on the sordid aspects of society More strict than realism ▪ Insists on showing stark side of life ▪ Can’t structure events in a way that is aesthetically satisfying © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 9
  10. 10.  Producers of Realism: Independent Theatres  Exempted from government censorship  Not striving for commercial success  Presented plays to small audiences interested in new dramatic forms  Best known: Theatre Libre (Free Theater) in Paris in 1887 by Andre Antoine  Most influential 19th century theater dedicated to realism was the Moscow Art Theatre ▪ Founded by Konstantin Stanislavski © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 10
  11. 11.  Producers of Realism: Independent Theatres  After initial objection and censorship stopped, realistic plays staged in Europe and America  Most important producing group between WWI and WWII was the Group Theatre ▪ Founding members were Lee Strasberg, Cheryl Crawford and Harold Clurman ▪ Resident playwright was Clifford Odets ▪ “Waiting for Lefty” © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 11
  12. 12.  During Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt established the Works Progress Administration (WPA) ▪ Included The Federal Theatre Project ▪ Helped revitalize theater outside of New York city ▪ Assisted African-American Theatres and artists ▪ Eventually ended because some members of Congress said linked to Communism.  Playwrights around the world continued to write realism between the two World Wars ▪ Irish playwrights, John Millington Synge (“Riders to the Sea”) and Sean O’Casey (“The Plough and the Stars”) ▪ US, Eugene O’Neill (“Desire Under Elms,” “Long Day’s Journey into Night”) and Lillian Hellman (“The Children’s Hour”) © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 12
  13. 13.  Theatrical realism is often seen as having serious limitations  Realistic drama excludes a number of effective, long-standing theatrical devices ▪ Music, dance, symbolism, poetry, fantasy, and the supernatural  Led to “departures from realism” or “antirealism” ▪ Often uses symbolism, non-linear narratives and dream imagery to avoid realistic representation © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 13
  14. 14.  Antirealist Playwrights:  Ibsen – “Master Builder” and “When We Dead Awaken” – used symbolism  Strindberg – “A Dream Play,” “The Ghost Sonata” – evoked a world of dreams  Frank Benjamin Wedekind (German) – “Spring Awakening” – combined symbolist and grotesque elements with realistic and controversial subject matter © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 14
  15. 15.  Symbolism – movement of the late 19th century and early 20th century that sought to express inner truth rather than represent life realistically  Leading antirealistic movement between 1880 and 1910  Drama should present not mundane day-today activities but rather the mystery of being and the infinite qualities of the human spirit  Goal to evoke atmosphere and mood, not to tell a story  Argued against realistic detail in set design © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 15
  16. 16.  Symbolism continued  Called for poetic theatre in which symbolic images rather than concrete actions would be the basic means of communicating with the audience © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 16
  17. 17.  Symbolism continued  Relied on independent theaters  Two theaters in France: ▪ The Theatre d’Art organized by Paul Fort ▪ The Theatre de l’Oevre ▪ Most notorious production was NOT symbolist but a play by Alfred Jarry called “Ubu the King” (Ubu Roi, or Ubu Turd (but really a nonsense word)  Farcical plot that used profanity and scandalous references  William Butler Yeats part of the audience that rioted  Ubu Roi banned from stage and Jarry moved it to a puppet theater © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 17
  18. 18. King Ubu by Alfred Jarry, Marionetteatern 1964 Direction: Michael Meschke © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 18
  19. 19.  Antirealist Designers: Appia and Craig  Adolphe Appia  Edward Gordon Craig  Both presented symbolist’s theories visually  Their designs were atmospheric, using levels and light, and revolted against realistic reproductions  Influenced many of the leading 20th-century American designers © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 19
  20. 20.  Unit set – single setting that can represent a variety of locales with the addition of props or scenic elements © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 20
  21. 21.  Russian Theatricalism: Meyerhold  Vsevolod Meyerhold ▪ Leading Russian antirealist between 1905 and 1939 ▪ Frequently experimented with theatricalism ▪ Exposing the elements of theatre—the way stage machinery works—to make the audience aware that they are watching theater ▪ Devised an acting system known as biomechanics ▪ Emphasized external, physical training ▪ The performer’s body could be trained to operate like a machine © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 21
  22. 22.  Russian Theatricalism: Meyerhold  Meyerhold ▪ An early “auteur” director ▪ Argued for the use of “found space” ▪ Experimented with multimedia ▪ His sets were known as constructivist – Post WWII scenic design movement in which sets – frequently composed of ramps, platform and levels – were nonrealistic and intended to provide opportunities for physical action © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 22
  23. 23.  Eclectics  Theatre artists who tried to bridge the gap between realism and antirealism  Argued each play should define its own form  Eclectic directors ▪ Max Reinhardt ▪ Yevgeny Vakhtangov ▪ Peter Brook © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 23
  24. 24.  Expressionism – movement in Germany at about the time of WWI, characterized by an attempt to dramatize subjective states through distortion; striking, often grotesque images.  Flourished in Germany during World War I  Representation of reality was distorted in order to communicate inner feelings  Highly subjective  Dramatic action is seen through the eyes of the protagonist and therefore frequently seems distorted or dreamlike © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 24
  25. 25.  Expressionism continued  Plays have common themes – dehumanization of the individual by society and deterioration of family  Protagonist is a Christlike figure  Characters are representative types  Language is telegraphic (brief) Eugene O’neill’s “The Emperor Jones” like many of his plays from the early 1920s, uses expressionistic techniques. The audience sees the drama through the eyes of the protagonist, a Black dictatorial ruler of a Caribbean Island who is fleeing from his people in the jungle. Here we see John Douglas Thompson in the title role in a production at the Irish Repertory Theatre in NYC. © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 25
  26. 26.  Futurism, Dada and Surrealism  Futurism – Art movement, begun in Italy, which idealized mechanization and machinery ▪ Originated in Italy around 1909 ▪ Idealized war and the machine age ▪ The audience should be confronted and antagonized ▪ Dada – movement in art between the world wars, based on presenting the irrational and attacking traditional artistic values. Not interested in glorifying war. © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 26
  27. 27.  Futurism, Dada and Surrealism continued  Surrealism – departure from realism that attempted to present dramatically the workings of the subconscious ▪ Outgrowth of Dada, began in 1924 ▪ Subconscious is the highest plane of reality ▪ Attempted to recreate the subconscious dramatically © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 27
  28. 28.  The Theatre of Cruelty and Epic Theatre  Antonin Artaud (French) ▪ Proposed a theatre of cruelty in the 1930s – Artaud’s visionary concept of a theater based on magic and ritual which would liberate deep, violent and erotic impulses ▪ Emphasis on the sensory—viewers’ senses should be bombarded ▪ Western theatre was antithetical to its ritualistic origins ▪ There were no more masterpieces ▪ Theatre artists should study stylized Asian theatres © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 28
  29. 29.  The Theatre of Cruelty and Epic Theatre continued  Bertolt Brecht (German) ▪ Developed epic theatre – form of episodic drama associated with Brecht and aimed at the intellect rather than emotions ▪ Epic in scope, episodic in structure ▪ Cover a great deal of time ▪ Shift locale frequently ▪ Have intricate plots and many characters ▪ Goal: to instruct ▪ Believed that theatre could create an intellectual climate for social change © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 29
  30. 30.  The Theatre of Cruelty and Epic Theatre continued  Bertolt Brecht cont’d ▪ Believed in alienation -- Brecht’s theory that, in his epic theater, audiences emotional involvement should be minimized to increase their intellectual involvement ▪ His work was highly theatrical and audience always made aware they were watching theater ▪ Narrator frequently used ▪ Used “historification” – plays set in past but really concerned with paralleling contemporary events © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 30
  31. 31.  Some Background on Asian Theatre  Cross-fertilization between Western and Asian theater was exciting and continues today  3 ancient forms in Japan that still continue: ▪ No – rigidly traditional form of Japanese drama combining music, dance and lyrics; performers trained from a young age ▪ Kabuki – form of popular Japanese theater combining music, dance and dramatic scenes; involves mie (mee yay) – slow motion ▪ Bunraku – Japanese puppet theater © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 31
  32. 32.  Some Background on Asian Theatre  India ▪ Kathakali – traditional dance drama of India ▪ Staged at night by torchlight ▪ Presents violence and death in dance and pantomime ▪ Good vs. evil and good always wins © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 32
  33. 33. KATHAKALI: INDIAN DANCE DRAMA Much Asian theater includes a large element of dance. A prime example is kathakali, a dramatic form found in southwestern India. In kathakali, stories of strong passions, the furies of gods, and the loves and hates of extraordinary human beings are told in dance and mime. Notice the makeup and stylized costumes and headdresses on these dancers in Kerala, India. © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 33
  34. 34.  Some Background on Asian Theatre continued  China ▪ Beijing opera – Popular theatre in China developed in 19th century. ▪ Elements of folk drama and other genres ▪ Colorful and striking theatrical form ▪ Preserves traditions of singing, acrobatics, acting, elaborate and colorful makeup, movement and dance ▪ Offers symbolism © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 34
  35. 35. BEIJING (PEKING) OPERA A highly formalized theatre, Beijing Opera was developed in China in the 19 th century. It is not like Western grand opera; rather, it is a popular entertainment filled with song, dance, and acrobatics. It makes wide use of symbols – with, for instance, a table standing for a mountain, or a blue fabric for the sea, as shown here – and is performed in highly colorful and stylized costumes like the ones we see in this performance. This production is “The Legend of the White Snake.” © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 35
  36. 36.  Global Exchanges  Chinese and Japanese playwrights influenced by ground-breaking work of Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekhov 36
  37. 37.  Global Exchanges  Western playwrights influenced by Mei Lanfang (world famous actor of Beijing Opera in the 1930s) and the storytelling techniques of Chinese theatre  Exchanges not confined to East and West Julie Taymor rehearsing “The Lion King” using techniques adapted from Indonesia © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 37
  38. 38.  Unique Voices  Impact of Totalitarianism on Theatre  The development of European theatre and drama was curtailed  Government-supported theatres became instruments of propaganda  Experimentation and freedom of expression were suppressed  Theatrical artists did resist totalitarianism © 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 38

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