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
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
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
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
"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.
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.
Interpretive vs. Generative
Interpretive--playwright's work is faithfully translated to the stage.
Generative--the playwright freely makes changes to the script
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
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
Symbolism, Expressionism, Surrealism, Absurdist, Epic
Paul Ford's Theatre d'Art 1890
Evolution of Modern Musical
Musical Revue--review--1866 The Black Crook
Musical Drama--Oklahoma!--Drama Ballet
East vs. West
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
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