Restoration Theatre - Group A

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Restoration Theatre - Group A

  1. 1. RESTORATION THEATRE Lisa Thomas, Linda Burrows, Vesna Golubovic
  2. 2. BACKGROUND <ul><li>In 1629 Charles I dismissed parliament, determined to rule alone, but his controversial methods of raising income and divisive religious policies caused an uprising amongst the Puritans. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1642 the Puritan revolution began led by Oliver Cromwell which resulted in Charles being overthrown and subsequently beheaded. </li></ul><ul><li>Cromwell then took leadership of the country being known as the Lord Protectorate. This was the only time in history Britain was not run by a monarch. </li></ul><ul><li>Between 1642 and 1660 Cromwell outlawed theatre because of its connections with the monarchy and according to his Puritan values was immoral. </li></ul>
  3. 3. BACKGROUND <ul><li>During this time all theatre activity was forbidden but music was still allowed, for example, William Davenant staged what is considered to be the first English opera in 1654 using imported Italian scenery, performed privately. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1660 Charles II was restored as king and theatre required a fresh start as actors’ groups had been disbanded years before and the theatres had become dilapidated. </li></ul><ul><li>Charles II charged Thomas Killigrew and William Davenant with reviving theatre in Britain. </li></ul>
  4. 4. KILLIGREW AND DAVENANT <ul><li>After being given the Patents under which to work, both Killigrew and Davenant opened theatres in converted tennis courts. Killigrew created a platform stage very much like those of the Elizabethan theatres for his company, The Kings Men. On the other hand Davenant reinvented the stage, building a proscenium and using scenic art like that seen in Italy and France. As a result of this contrast, the public preferred the more visually exciting and innovative performances with Davenant’s theatre and company, The Duke’s Men. Both new theatres showed a mixture of English and continental practices reflecting the time Charles II spent in Paris during Cromwellian Britain. </li></ul>
  5. 5. INNOVATIONS <ul><li>Both Killigrew and Davenant had theatres designed for them by Sir Christopher Wren. When designing these theatres Wren had to consider the fact that this type of theatre had never been required before, and could not be based on the Elizabethan public playhouses of before the civil war. </li></ul><ul><li>The proscenium layout was very innovative for the time. The doors, or wings, on each side allowed the actors to enter and exit the large stage with versatility. </li></ul>
  6. 6. INNOVATIONS <ul><li>The large stage area also gave plenty of room for scenery. The use of scenery was another technique borrowed from Italian and French theatre. The scenery was not used in the same way it is today, to convey the place the action is based. It was a large painted spectacle designed to accompany a particular phase in the plot, maybe only changing with each act. </li></ul>
  7. 7. WOMEN IN THE THEATRE <ul><li>After a brief failed attempt to introduce women to the stage in 1629, it later became acceptable in Britain after it did in Europe. </li></ul><ul><li>In 1656 Davenant designed The Siege of Rhodes , a semi-private entertainment, in which the actress Mrs. Coleman took a lead role, and is noted as the introduction of women to the English stage. </li></ul><ul><li>It is also thought that it was more lenient to allow women on stage because young boys had not been trained to play women adequately while theatre had been outlawed. </li></ul>
  8. 8. WOMEN PLAYWRIGHTS <ul><li>Soon after the restoration, women began to be recognised as writers of drama. </li></ul><ul><li>One of the first was Mrs. Aphra Behn, who was established as one of the most industrious female playwrights. She wrote 18 plays, of which the majority were highly successful, matching up to her male counterparts. </li></ul><ul><li>Other established female playwrights included Mrs. Manly and Mrs. Susannah Centlivre. Bothe achieved great success, and adaptations from the french, made by Centlivre were hugely popular and remained on stage for almost a century. </li></ul>
  9. 9. RESTORATION DRAMA <ul><li>Restoration Drama was far inferior to Elizabethan drama. The early playwrights used powerful, original characters in their works, whereas restoration writers were happy with the portrayal of the artificial type. </li></ul><ul><li>The works of playwright Wycherley reflected a small section of life, with an edge of perfection, similar to that of upper class living. </li></ul>
  10. 10. RESTORATION COMEDY <ul><li>The heroes of restoration comedies were lively, foolish gentlemen. The husbands and fathers were dull in personality, and the heroines were perfect and lovely, with companions who were busy bodies and gossips. The stage plays seemed to be exaggerations of everyday life which were popular with audiences, keeping theatre alive. </li></ul><ul><li>Present day comedy TV shows use basic satire and extreme versions of stereotypes first used in restoration comedy, showing that the idea has remained foundation to entertainment, still pleasing people to this day. </li></ul>

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