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Arts and Humanities
History of Theater
Literary Criticism Types of Plays and Shows
Lit Crit types of plays and shows
Terms in this set (45)
a literary composition of any length, designed to be performed by actors who impersonate characters, speak dialogue, and enact the appropriate actions.
the fourth and final play in the bill of tragedies in Greek drama; so called because the chorus was make up of horse-tailed goat-men called satyrs. Intended for comic relief after the three tragedies, it had the tragic structure and serious subject matter, but was grotesquely comic in manner. Only surviving satyr play from Greeks: Euripides's "Cyclops"
a play, usually in verse, designed to be read rather than acted. Examples: Seneca's tragedies, Milton's "Samson Agonistes".
poetic plays written to be acted, like Closet Drama.
the most popular form of theatre in Japan since the mid 17th century. It is a dance and musical theatre, telling the old stories, using all male actors who are skilled dancers and acrobats.
the most important form of Japanese drama, Noh literally meaning "highly skilled or accomplished." Written between 1300 and 1600, they were originally part of the religious ritual of the Japanese feudal aristocracy. 240 still exist and are presented at a festival of programs with each of the 5 types of Noh plays. They use highly stylized sets and present lavish, symbolic costuming.
includes all drama in the Middle Ages, but usually refers to religious drama and its allied forms. As early as the 10th century, tropes- musical elaborations of the church services with priests playing parts- became a regular part of the service. Eventually the tropes went outside, were secularized when the town authorities took charge and dramatic companies were formed. Cycles developed which showed the whole plan of salvation. Mystery, Miracle, and Morality plays were performed. By they became so secularized that the church disapproved when Noah's wife was presented as a shrew and comic scenes were added such as the sheep-stealing scene in the "Second Shepard's Play". All of this led to Elizabethan comedy as Felix E. Schelling says, it was "in the ruins and debris of the miracle play and morality that Elizabethan drama struck its deepest roots."
the great cycles of medieval religious drama.
a medieval play based on biblical history; a scriptural play. They developed from Liturgical Dramas into the great Cyclic Plays, performed outdoors and eventually on movable pageant wagons which went from town to town. They included: Old Testament plays, New Testament Plays, Death and Resurrection plays. "Mystery" came from the Latin mysterium ("secret rite") and ministerium ("work," "occupation") referring to the trade guilds who performed them.
Corpus Christi Plays
another name for Mystery Plays because of the habit of performing the plays on Pageants connected with the Corpus Christi processional.
used in three senses: a scaffold or stage; plays performed on the stages; modern dramatic spectacles to celebrate some historic event. Modern pageants include processionals, outdoor drama, floats, bands, etc. Example: "The Lost Colony" by Paul Green which has run for the summer months every year since 1937 in North Carolina.
another name for the mystery plays which were part of the liturgical service of the church. Originally they were operatic because the lines were chanted or sung rather than spoken.
in the Mystery Play Cycles, the plays that dealt with the life of Christ. Now it refers to plays dealing with the last days, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection of Oberammergau in Upper Bavaria every tenth year since the 1630's.
in the Cyclic Drama the plays based on the legend of a saint or on a miracle performed by a saint or sacred object.
same as Miracle Play
A medieval non scriptural play based on saint's lives in which the Virgin Mary takes an active role in performing miracles.
medieval games or spectacles (also called disguisings or mummings) in which a procession of masked figures went through the streets and into homes, silently dancing and playing at dice. First English masque- 1512 Epiphany give by Henry VIII. Heyday of the masque was during the reigns of James I and Charles I when they appealed to the eye and the ear, with rapidly changing scenes and Tableaux of gods, heroes, fairies, withches, etc. were presented to music. Jonson created the antimasque which added literary qualities and pastorals to what had been mere spectacle. They wre features of celebrations such as weddings or coronations and were entertainment at inns of court. Examples of maks in literature: Spenser's "The Fairie Queen", Shakespeare's "As You Like It". The masque era ended with the Puritan Revolution (1642).
a grotesque, usually humorous dance interspersed among the beautiful and serious actions and dances of a masque. Performed by professional actors to serve as a foil to the masque with its amateur performers.
Spectacles of a popular or folk character.
Masked folk processions, dancing, and plays.
a simple performance, presented by masked or disguised players, farcical pantomime.
a poetic drama which was dramatized allegory in which abstractions (such as mercy, Conscience, Perseverance, and Shame) appear in personified form and struggled for a human soul. Example: "Everyman". Morality plays lead to the interludes but lost their popularity in Elizabethan times.
unsophisticated treatment of folk themes by the folk themselves, particularly activities connected with populat festivals and religious rites. Began in the Middle Ages with St. George play and the mummers' play. Modern American playwrights reflect the customs, language, attitudes, and environmental difficulties in the folk dramas such as "Carolina Folk-Plays".
plays that show the life of the common folk and the middle class rather than that of the courtly or the rich. Examples: Heywood's "Interludes", "Grammer Gurton's Needle".
a kind of drama, developed in the late 15th and early 16th century England that helped secularized drama and led to Realistic Comedy. The word can mean a play brief enough to be present during the interval of a dramatic performance or a dialogue between two people. The essential qualities are brevity and wit. The chief developers are John Heywood and John Rastell, the first English dramatists. Example: Heywood's "The Four P's".
a pantomimic performance used in a play, particularly to such specimens of silent acting as appeared in Elizabethan drama. Usually accompanied by music with allegorical figures, it sometimes foreshadowed coming events or provided comment. Example: the play within a play "Hamlet"
the pastoral conventions so popular at times in poetry and in the pastoral romance are reflected also in a form of drama occasionally cultivated by English dramatists.
a nonliterary farcical dramatic performance, the words being sung to the accompaniment of dancing.
a short dramatic piece (also known as "drollery" or "droll humor") cultivated on the commonwealth interregnum stage in England as a substitute for full-length or serous plays that were not permitted by the government. It was usually a "short, racy, comic" scene selected from some popular play.
Elizabethan drama which drew its English historical materials from the 16th century Chronicles, such as Holinshed's, and stressed the patriotism of the times. Featuring loose structure, large casts, and spectacular events, they helped teach English history to the uneducated.
synonym for Chronicle Play. Strictly speaking, any drama whose time setting is in some period earlier than that in which it is written.
the practice of writing and performing plays at schools contributed to the development of the Elizabethan drama. In universities students were expected to participate or risk expulsion. The earliest extant university play in English is "Grammer Gurton's Needle". The plays were usually performed at night by costumed actors in the college hall before a restricted audience. The University Wits left the universities at a time when academic plays were flourishing and went to London to play important roles during the formative period of Elizabethan drama.
plays written and performed in schools and colleges in the Elizabethan age.
Plays produced by undergraduates at Oxford and Cambridge during the Elizabethan Age
all serious drama in which problems of human life are presented as such or the representation in dramatic form of a general social problem or issue
a drama that presents a social problem and proposes a solution; sometimes known by the French "Piece a these".
a serious play between tragedy and comedy developed by the French in the 18th century; a problem play
(piece bien faite in French) certain Problem Plays, Comedies of Manners, and Farces in the 19th century which had tight, logical construction, with apparent inevitability. The contained: a plot based on a secret which, once revealed, produces a favorable reversal for the hero; suspense, exactly timed entrances, mistaken identity; a climax culminating in an Obligatory Scene (scene a faire); a logical Denouement. Chief creators were Eugene Scribe and Victorian Sardou.
silent acting. A serious legendary story is told through dancing and songs with a spectacular background and many scene changes. Silent movies featured Charlie Chaplin, Harpo Marx, and Buster Keaton; television stars Red Skeleton and Jackie Gleason used pantomime routines.
a type of tragedy and tragicomedy developed in England during the Restoration, characterized by excessive spectacle, violent conflicts among the main characters, bombastic dialogue, and epic personages. Set in a distant land, with heroes and villains meeting their rightful end (Poetic Justice), with grand action revolving around the conquest of some empire, they were usually written in heroic couplets.
a play based on a romantic plot and developed sensationally with little regard for motivation and with an excessive appeal to the emotions of the audience. Poetic justice is superficially secured- the characters are rewarded or punished according to their deeds. The term means "a play with music" and at one time it was applied to the opera in a broad sense. In England in the 19th century it became widespread to circumvent the Licensing Act, which restricted "legitimate" plays to the Patent Theatres but which allowed musical entertainments in other theatres. The first English melodrama was Thomas Holcroft's "A Tale of Mystery".
a form of Vaudeville very popular in America in the last half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. White men in "blackface" impersonated stereotypical characters in song and dance routines and in exchanges between a white "Straight man" (like the satiric Adversarius) and the blackface character who usually won in the battle of wits. The straight man was called "Mr. Interlocutor"; he exchanged repartee with the "end men," "Mr. Tambo," who played a tambourine, and "Mr. Bones," who played bone castanets. It began in 1830 when T.D. Rice began to "dance Jim Crow." Christy's Minstrels, which began in 1842 and later featured songs by Stephen Foster, developed the form of the minstrel show, which became immensely popular.
an entertainment consisting of successive performances of unrelated songs, dances, sketches, acrobatic feats, juggling, Pantomime, puppet shows, animal acts, and varied stunts. The word is derived from Vaude-Vire, a village in Normandy, where a famous composer of lively, satirical songs lived in the 18th century. The name vaudeville was attached to the popular variety shows in America in the early 20th century, but its popularity decreased after the advent of talking and moving pictures, radio, and television. One-Act Play- a form of drama that has come into its own since about 1890 with the Little Theatre movement. Before that time it was used on Vaudeville programs and as curtain raisers in the legitimate theatre.
a short play- either one-act or a skit- presented before the principal dramatic production on a program; by analogy, anything preliminary.
a short dramatic sketch or a brief, self-contained comic or burlesque scene, usually presented as a part of a revue or on a television or radio program.
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