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Arts and Humanities
History of Theater
Chapter 7: Theatre of the English Renaissance
Terms in this set (31)
named as such because the major political figure during this time was Queen Elizabeth, who reigned for 45 years of this period.
Began later than the Italian Renaissance but was equally explosive and led to major developments in English society and culture, especially theatre.
during the this age, many elements--politics, exploration, literature, learning--converged to produce a favorable climate for England and for English playwrights.
It began during the reign of King Henry VII's who became king in 1485, and ended with the Puritans' takeover of England (1642).
During the reign of James I (1603-1625)
During the reign of Charles I (1625-1642)
breif dramatic entertainments written and staged by professionals. Under Henry VII and Henry VIII, these were presented at court and in the homes of the nobility
these plays, written at the universities and presented at schools and colleges rather than for the general public, usually reflected some Greek and Roman influence, but they also used many medieval dramaturgical techniques.
best known ones are "Ralph Roister Doister" (late 1530s) and "Gammer Gurton's Needle" (late 1550s)
became popular from early 1550s-1580
many early Elizabethan dramatists were known as this because they were trained at the universities and had contact with drama there.
all of whom were university graduates and professional dramatists including: Christopher Marlowe, Thomas Kyd, John Lyly, and Robert Greene.
they and others, who had attended universities or studied law at the Inns of Court, wrote plays based on Roman models and also introduced medieval elements into them. these paved way for Shakespeare and his contemporaries.
this structure involves many characters and many scenes ranging through time and shifting from place to place.
The Spanish Tragedy
this play was an important forerunner of later plays in more ways than one; it skillfully incorporated a number of devices that had come to the fore front during the 16th century, such as episodic structure, ghosts, soliliquies, and the theme of revenge.
written by Thomas Kyd, most popular play of its time
example of a play in which scenes moved freely from one place to another
wrote "The Spanish Tragedy", most popular play of its time (all through the 1580s and early 1590s
most famous of the university wits, the first significant dramatist to emerge in the Elizabethan period, who set a standard for dramatic structure and contributed a gallery of interesting characters to English theatre.
he focused on another element that was to be central in later Elizabethan plays--dramatic poetry.
critics speak of his "mighty line," the power of the dramatic verse he developed.
In his hands dramatic verse in iambic pentameter developed strength, subtlety, and suppleness, as well as great lyric beauty.
he also developed another element that had originated in medieval mortality plays: good and bad forces vie for the soul of the main character
his plays include: The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus, The Massacre at Paris, Tamburlaine (Parts I and II)
Rhythm of speech written in Dramatic poetry. pattern of 5 sets of unstressed - stressed syllables per line.
English poet, actor and dramatist considered one of the greatest English writers. famous for originality of characters, diversity of plots, understanding of human psychology, and a gift for language; he was a renaissance man in his appreciation for classical culture, individualism, and humanism; wrote comedies, tragedies, and histories; people see themselves in his characters, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and more.
He took established elements--Senecan devices; episodic plot structure; the platform stage; powerful dramatic verse, and stories from English history, Roman history, Roman drama, and Italian literature-- an fused them into one of the most impressive bodies of plays ever created.
From 1595 until his retirement, he was associated with London's leading troupe, Lord Chamberlain's Men (after 1603 King's Men)
"word music"- his verse especially in the power of his metaphors and imagery and the rhyme and music of his language--is extraordinary; even the sound of his words are wonderful. this aural quality was described by George Bernard Shaw as "word music"
deWitt's drawing (or sketch)
this drawing of the Swan Theatre is a copy of a sketch made by a dutch visitor in 1596. It shows a platform stage, tiring house, yard, and galleries.
public, outdoor playhouses
some of these theatres used to be bearbaiting rings or inns adapted for performances
the theatres that were designed especially for performances became popular playing spaces for professional adult companies.
Between 1560s and 1642 at least 13 of these theatres were built outside London.
these theatres were built outside the city limits of london, to the north or south of the city across the Thames River. The reason was that the London city fathers opposed theatre on moral grounds and forbade it in the city.
This opposition was offset by the support of theatre from Queen Elizabeth, members of the nobility, and many ordinary citizens.
private, indoor playhouses
indoor spaces, lit by candle.
in England at this time, private theatres were open to the general populace, though they were more expensive to attend than the outdoor, public theatres; poorer people would be excluded not based on policy but bc they could not afford the price of admisson
private theatres were usually smaller than public theatres, seating only 600 to 750 spectators; this is why they were more expensive than public theatres
Bear baiting and Bull baiting took place in purpose built arenas. these arenas influenced the appearance and configuration of the outdoor playhouses.
a raised platform surrounded on three sides by the audience
three story building that served as a place for changing costumes as well as storing properties and set pieces. Its facade was the basic scenic element in the Elizabethan public theatres.
dressing room, provided actors a variety of entries to the stage: windows, balconies, and two or more large doors.
reveal space on the first level.this space is needed by the spectacular Elizabethan "discovery" scenes in which a body might be suddenly discovered (theory for where Polonius was hiding in Gertrude chamber in Hamlet)
directly behind the main stage was a recessed inner stage, called the "inner below," either closed off by a curtain or opened up for the presentation of scenes where an indoor or enclosed atmosphere was required
similar to the "inner below" area but between the two windows in the tiring house.
Scenery technique used during the English Renaissance, characters would describe settings, indicating they were in a castle, forest, or bedroom
a roof, extended out from the tiring house, protected the stage. this roof was supported by pillars in some theatres and was suspended from the back in others. The underside of the roof was often painted to represent the heavens literally.
Lord Chamberlain's Men
Most famous acting company, during English Renaissance
Shakespeare acted in company & wrote most of his plays for it
1st troupe performed at The Rose, then The Theatre, then built The Globe as its permanent home
1603: when King James I became king he became, and changed its name to the King's Men
the King's Men
Formerly known as The Lord Chamberlain's Men during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, it became The King's Men in 1603 when King James ascended the throne and became the company's patron. The company of actors to which William Shakespeare belonged throughout most of his career.
"sides" and "plots"
-the actors received these, which contained only their lines rather than the whole script
-outlines of the dramatic action of the various plays, were posted backstage so that performers could refresh their memory of the sequence of scenes during a performance.
Playwright, literary critic, and poet (rapper)
Championed neoclassical principles
Bridged 2 eras Jacobean and Caroline
Plays include Isle of Dogs, Eastward Ho, and Volpone Developed Comedy of Humours
Quarreled with Inigo Jones over set design. Jonson felt that such settings distracted from his poetic allegories
Turned away from Elizabethan era drama when he retired
a popular entertainment not found in public or private theatres. solely a court entertainment
these were usually created to honor the king or a member of the royal family or the nobility
There was an emphasis on music and dance, and even more on spectacle; elaborate, painted backdrops and side pieces, as well as moving equipment such as clouds that rose and fell.
usually incorporated mythological and allegorical figures--gods/goddesses, nymphs, signs of the zodiac, and the like
Whatever the story, the monarch proved to be the hero
the set designer that often quarreled with Ben Jonson over the use of spectacular settings, Court architect and designer for James I and Charles I
Staging methods became standard after restoration
Influenced by Parigi and Palladio
Masque of Blackness - first stage design
New machinery; revolving platforms for magical scene changes
brought the end of the elizabethan era in 1642
"comedy of humours"
(early 1600s, England) A type of comedy developed by Ben Jonson based on the ancient physiological theory of the "four humours" - blood, phlegm, choler and melancholy. Each principle character had an excess of one trait or humor. He considered his plays to be important works, and thought of drama as literature.
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