Chapter seven

January 6, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Arts & Humanities, Performing Arts, Theatre
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Theatre exists in the present, but is deeply rooted in its past

Many plays seen today are revivals…

Contemporary theatre artists are compared to their predecessors

Some ancient plays adapt to modern times

Many of the world’s great plays are closely based upon preceding ones

One theory suggests that the origins of theatre are in tribal groups, dating as far back as 6000 years…

Another theatre suggests that theatre evolved from rituals that can be seen as collective ceremonies…


Storytelling requires an audience

Storytelling involves character impersonation

In Animism SHAMANS are guides to the spiritual world

Mediums are examples of spiritual guides like Shamans

The Sri Lankan sanniyakuma

A Bundu Devil Dancer

Traditional theatre and drama seems to have its earliest expressions in Ancient Egypt

Abydos Passion Play is likely the first known drama in Egypt.

It was associated with the rites of burial.

Egyptian ceremonies and rites date as far back as 2500 BC The Abydos procession to the Nile was not unlike a modern parade

Other rites appeared in Babylonia and other locations in the Middle East but did not flourish.

The next wave of development occurred in Attica (Greece).

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Century Athens stands as one of the great ages of theatre

Attic rites developed both tragedy and comedy

Evidence exists in mosaics and vases from the period

A dithyrambic chorus

Attic rites honored the God of fertility, harvest and wine


City Dionysia held in Athens in theatre at base of Acropolis

Model of Theatre Dionysia

Artists reconstruction of Greek Theatre at its height

Components of Greek drama 1. Performed for special occasion to celebrate the

seasons or some important civic event 2. It was competitive. Prizes were awarded. 3. They featured CHORAL singing and dancing…the chorus was comprised of from 3 to 50 members. 4. The plays were based upon familiar stories and myths.

Types of Greek Drama - TRAGEDY - COMEDY - SATYR PLAYS

Comedy and tragedy were the most popular types of plays in ancient Greece. Hence the modern popularity of the comedy and tragedy masks to symbolize theatre.

Aeschylus 524 – 456 BC The Persians Seven Against Thebes The Suppliants The Oresteia Agamemnon The Libation Bearers The Eumenides Prometheus Bound

Sophocles (497-406 BC)

Oedipus Rex and Antigone

Euripides 480-406 BC Alcestis Electra The Bacchae Trojan Women

Greek masks and musicians

Greek masks and chorus

Greek Comedy

Aristophanes (447-388 BC)

The Birds (pictured), The Clouds, Lysistrata

The satyr play

Theatre at Epidaurus

Greek costumes


Himation, Chlamys


A Greek Chorus

Greek drama introduced... • Tragedy and comedy • Conventions in costume • The third actor • Skene (elevated stage)

• Choral singing • Stock characters • Trilogy

• Satyr (parody)

Roman Drama



Roman Theatre

Roman theatre in Syria

Medieval Drama After the fall of Rome, theatrical activity in the West was brought to an end. It re-emerged in the 10th century with QUEM QUERITAS

By 1250, Bible-based dramas (Mystery Plays) were common in Europe

Mystery cycles were staged by guilds in European cities York


Pagaent wagons

Logo for York Mystery Play today

Valenciennes Mansion Stage

Morality plays

Renaissance Drama

16th century Commedia dell’Arte troupe

Plautus and Seneca were first translated in the 1470s

Agamemnon Hercules Medea Phaedra Phoenician Women (4BC-65AD)

The Elizabethan Age (15581603)

Theatre’s golden age Christopher Marlowe Ben Jonson

John Webster William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Shakespeare’s first folio-1623

The Plays of William Shakespeare Sir John Gilbert - 1849

The King’s Men

William Kemp

Richard Burbage

Elizabethan Playhouse

A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Theatre

Globe Theatre

Globe Theatre (exterior)


Shakespeare Festival Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon

The Royal Theatre

In Spain, there was Pedro Calderon at the court of Philip IV

Louis XIV in France  Moliere at court

Pierre Corneille

Jean Racine

In England, The Restoration

The Royal Theatres of Europe defined the Neoclassical age Theories of drama were adapted from Aristotle Development of neoclassical ideal of “reasonableness” Onstage violence eliminated Strict unity of style and genre Theatres were moved indoors to encourage new stagecraft

The classical unities TIME PLACE ACTION

Corneille’s LE CID

Moliere’s TARTUFFE


After Neoclassicism came the Romantic Era  A rebellion against Neoclassicism and its rigidity and


 The dominant form of the 18th and 19th centuries  Celebrated the exotic and grotesque and emphasized the

individual over society

 Focused on compassion rather than style  Gave rise to the form of melodrama

Major authors of the romantic age In Germany Johan Wolfgang von Goethe Friedrich von Schiller In France Victor Hugo

Cyrano de Bergerac (1897)

Theatre in the East is rich and diverse ASIAN Theatre is never just spoken, but danced, chanted, mimed and sung Dramatic language is rhythmic and melodic and sound has multiple meanings Eastern forms of theatre are more visual and sensual than literary or intellectual

There is a strong emphasis upon storytelling, but is not tightly plotted It has a rich and long heritage, literally hundreds and thousands of years Asian theatre forms are highly stylized Actors train in traditional forms through an intense apprentice system Asian theatre is deeply traditional with significant connections to folk history, ancient religions and cultural myths

Indian Sanskrit Drama Dates from 200 BC. Performed indoors.

Natyasastra (treatise on theatre) dates from around 100 a.d.

Indian Kathakali (story play)

Chinese Xiqu (tuneful theatre) often referred to as Chinese Opera

The Monkey King

Scale and spectacle in Xiqu

Japanese Noh

Noh theatre groundplan

Noh masks

NOH masks change identity in light and shadow

Kabuki Theatre ka (song) – bu (dance) – ki (skill)

Two major forms – history plays and domestic plays

Modern kabuki actors are descended from 11 families dating to the beginnings of the form. Sakata Tojuro

Tojuro playing the courtesan Ohatsu opposite his son Nakamura Kanjaku as her lover Tokubei in "Sonezaki Shinju"

The Lion Dance

"Yoshitsune Senbonzakura (Yoshitsune and 1,000 Cherry Trees)"

1851 2008

Chikamatsu (1653-1725)was the greatest Japanese dramatist

Chikamatsu also wrote for Bunraku

Theatrical Tradition: East & West COHEN identifies twelve great theatre traditions Greek Roman Medieval Renaissance Royal (Neoclassical) Romantic Sanskrit Kathakali Xiqu Noh Kabuki Bunraku

All of these traditions influenced THE MODERN THEATRE

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