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Likeliness; the appearance of an actual reality (as in a stage setting)

Well-Made Play

19th C--a superbly plotted play, particularly by such gifted French playwrights as Eugene Scribe

Today--a play that has a workable plot but shallow characterization and trivial ideas

Andre Antoine and the Theatre Libre

Realistic playwright; Theatre Libre was a realist theatre

Strives for historical accuracy, ensemble, management of crowds

Objectives of Realism

1. Art must truthfully depict real world
2. Truth can only be obtained by direct observation
3. Only contemporary life can be observed
4. Observer must obtain objective distance
5. Art must illuminate social issues
6. Behavior is shaped by nature and nurture

Romanticism and Melodrama

Romanticism--movement away from neoclassic formalism toward out-sized passions, exotic and grotesque stories, and all-encompassing worldviews.
Survives today in grand opera and 19th C based musicals

Melodrama--Suspenseful, plot-oriented drama featuring all-good heroes, all-bad villains, simplistic dialogue, soaring moral conclusions, and bravura acting

Box Set

A stage set consisting of hard scenic pieces representing the walls and sometimes the ceiling of a room, with on wall left out for the audience to peer into. This set design was developed in the 19th C and remains in use in realistic plays


The first major antirealistic movement in the arts and in the theatre. Symbolism, which emphasizes the symbolic nature of theatrical presentation and the abstract possibilities of drama, flourished as a significant movement from the late 19th C to the early 20th


An artistic style that greatly exaggerates perceived reality in order to express inner truths directly. Popular mainly in Germany between the world wars, expressionism in the theatre is notable for its gutsy dialogue, piercing sounds, bright lighting and coloring, bold scenery, and shocking, vivid imagery


An art movement of the early 20th C, in which the artist sought to go beyond realism into superrealism

Epic Theatre

As popularized by Brecht, a style of theatre in which the play presents a series of semiisolated episodes intermixed with songs and other forms of direct address, all leading to a general moral conclusion or set of integrated moral questions

Theatre of the Absurd

A theatrical style that has been applied to the post-WWII plays of Beckett, Ionesco, Genet, and others.

Plays with unrealistic and illogical plots, repetitous and disconnected language, and unclear themes, reflecting a world in which humans "absurdly" seek meaning but never find it

"New Stagecraft"

simple staging decisions

created by Appia and Craig in the 19th C

Production Team

Stage Manager
Set, Costume, Lighting Designers
Any assisstants

The 4 "R"s


Appia and Craig


the two designers that objected to a three-dimensional actor standing on a flat floor surrounded by acres of "realistically" painted canvas used in Europe in the 19th C

"New Stagecraft"

"Funnel" Theory of Collaboration

the script goes into the funnel (and all the ideas being put into the funnel), and the final product comes out of the funnel.

The process of deciding what the final product is is the funnel.

Lighting Design Options and Tools


Scene Design Options and Tools


Costume Design Options and Tools


Straight vs. Character Make-up

Straight make-up is make-up that corrects for the lights

Character make-up is make-up that alters the appearance to suit the character of the actor

Reviewer vs. Critic

Reviews watch the play and relate it for entertainment value. Critics look for entertainment, social significance, human significance, and artistic quality.

Responsibilities of the Dramaturg


Cohen's Critical Perspectives










Directorial Concept


Interpretive vs. Generative

Interpretive--playwright's work is faithfully translated to the stage.

Generative--the playwright freely makes changes to the script

Paradox of Acting

The actor has to be both the character and the actor

Dual consciousness

Outside-In vs. Inside-Out

Outside-In--the actor changes his/her appearance to look like the character, and then takes on the character's personality and traits

Inside-Out--the actor alters his/her personality and the appearance follows

Character Autobiography


Affective Memory

Emotional recall

Goes along with the sensory memory


founder of the Moscow Art Theatre (MAT) in 1898

Actor's Instrument


Group Theatre


Method Acting


Given Circumstances

Unchangeable facts about the characters
1. Who am I?
2. Where am I?
3. What am I doing?
4. When does the action take place?


The character's overall goal within the play.

I (want to, need to, must) action verb.


The methods that a character uses to achieve his/her superobjective.

Induction or Threat

Postmodern Trends

Fragmented "Super-jumpy"
Non-linear "Random"
Anti-realist movement
Symbolism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Absurdist, Epic

Paul Ford's Theatre d'Art 1890

Evolution of Modern Musical

Musical Revue--review--1866 The Black Crook

Musical Comedy--Showboat

Musical Drama--Oklahoma!--Drama Ballet

Contemporary Musical--Wicked

Broadway and Off-Broadway


Regional Theatre Movement


Stock vs. Repertory


East vs. West

Eastern Theatre:
Music--chanted or sung NOT spoken
Presentational--masks--present archetype characters
Classical traditions are more important
Based on myths or legends many people were familiar with
Production trumps text
Acting value

Chinese Opera

6-7 musicians--string, percussion, and singers

Simple backdrop, extravagant costumes, facial paint

Golden Age--13th C Beijing, Ming and Qing Dynasties--development of regional theatre--audience drawn from the common place, Pecking Opera--national Opera in China

300+ regional types, well known story with twist ending, 2-3 hours, four main character roles, actors must be trained very young, trained for one specific role


originate with women dancing in the river bed (prostitutes), censorship, onnagata (men playing women), Genroku period--move toward realism

three categories: Jiada-Mono (historical) Sewa-Mono (domestic) Shosagoto (dance), mie--stance at climatic moment

the art of song and dance, orchestra onstage, no singing

aisle down the center of the crowd, elevating platform, facial paint to signify characters


Started lower class, inspired by nature, ~600 yrs old, the art of walking, passed from father to son

only men performers, masks to convey character, rehearse together once

no scene enactment--use appearance and movements, not much dialogue, three kinds--Okina, Kyogen, and Kiri

Vocal chorus (no harmonies, no set pitch) and instrumental chorus (flute, small hand drum, large hand drum, large drum)

stage--four cyprus pillars and large roof, trees painted on back wall (spirits), narrow bridge for exits/entrances, Noh Shozoku (robes), costume defines character, osode and kosode, masks

250 different plays, based around shite (main male), concerned with revelation, not conflict, influenced by Shinto, Buddhism, Shamanism, samurai patrons, funeral rites, Kamigakari, and Chinese/Japanese poetry


Biwa storytellers and travelling puppeteers, Takemoto Gidayu, Chikamatsu, sewamono and love suicides, kabuki actors want puppet movements, puppeteers want realism, heads represent character types, three puppeteers, 1740s--height of Golden Age, 1966--National Theatre built, four performances and travelling show

thoughts/emotions pushed to limit, play begins with samisen solo, samisen--most popular, chanter interprets the text, memorizes text, samisen player conducts the play, samisen player and chanter sit to the left of the stage

samisen player and chanter sit on a revolving platform, kashira (head) determine who the character will be, kimonos (and sash, sash band, chemise, or collar), Omozukai (head puppeteer), Hidarizukai (left hand), Ashizurkai (foot)

only men, one or two rehearsals, based on history literature current events, 3 or 5 act plays

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