Chapter eight - The Modern Theatre.

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THE
MODERN
THEATRE
THE THEATRE BY ROBERT COHEN
CHAPTER 8
MODERN AND
POSTMODERN
Previous ages include –
Classical (Greece and Rome)
Medieval (Mystery and Morality Plays)
Renaissance (The Elizabethan Age in England)
The Royal Theatre (The Court Theatre of Spain and France)
The Restoration
The Romantic Theatre (Neoclassical)
THEATRE IN THE EAST
India (Sanskrit drama, Kathakali)
China (Xiqu)
Japan (Noh, Kabuki, Bunraku)
MODERN AND
POSTMODERN
Modern drama is said to date from about 1875.
• Fed by revolutions in the US and France in the 18th century.
• Simultaneous to the political revolutions were revolutions in
philosophy, science and religion.
Important treatises of the “modern era”
• Darwin ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES
• Karl Marx DAS KAPITAL
KARL MARX
CHARLES
DARWIN
REALISM
was the first expression of a modern theatre was a theatre of
experimentation
REALISM
Realism as a reaction against ROMANTICISM sought to
develop an aesthetic that was not abstract, rather, one that
was “like life.”
REALISM
The romantics and neoclassicists sought art that was like life
or an idealized life. The realists sought to present art that
was life.
REALISM
As a form of artistic expression, it was tested in the late 19th
and early 20th centuries in all aspects of expression and
remains an enormously significant style today.
REALISM WAS
CONCEIVED AS A
LABORATORY
Objectify society in an effort to study
it scientifically
Thus realism adhered to the scientific
method
THE LOWER DEPTHS AT
MOSCOW ART THEATRE (1902)
Early on, the proscenium stage was modified to
accommodate a new form of scenery – THE BOX SET and the
aesthetic became the “theatre of the fourth wall removed”
TECHNIQUES OF
REALISM
PRESENT THE AUDIENCE WITH “EVIDENCE” AND PERMIT
EACH SPECTATOR TO ARRIVE AT HIS OR HER OWN
CONCLUSIONS...
Woody Harrelson in a realistic production of
Tennessee William’s THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA
London, 2005.
PIONEERS OF
REALISM
Henrik Ibsen, 1828-1906
A Doll’s House (pictured)
Hedda Gabler
Ghosts
An Enemy of the People
ANDRE ANTOINE
(1858-1943)
FOUNDED THE
THEATRE LIBRE IN
1897 TO STAGE
REALISTIC DRAMA
DAMAGED GOODS
BY EUGENE BRIEUX (1858-1932)
WAS A REALISTIC PLAY ABOUT SYPHILIS
“Brieux was among the few of his day to treat the question in
a frank manner, showing that the most dangerous phase of
venereal disease is ignorance and fear, and that if treated
openly and intelligently, it is perfectly curable. Brieux also
emphasizes the importance of kindness and consideration
for those who contract the affliction, since it has nothing to
do with what is commonly called evil, immorality, or
impurity.”
GERHARD HAUPTMANN
(1862-1946) GERMANY
The Weavers, 1892
GEORGE BERNARD
SHAW (1856-1950)
Misalliance
Mrs Warrens Profession
MAJOR BARBARA
(1905)
ANTON CHEKHOV
(1860-1904) RUSSIA
CHEKHOV READING THE SEA GULL
TO THE CAST AT THE MOSCOW ART
THEATRE (1896)
STANISLASKI AS
ASTROV IN
CHEKHOV’S
UNCLE VANYA
(1899)
CHEKHOV’S
TECHNIQUE
He created deeply complex relationships with his characters. As an example see this scene from THE
THREE SISTERS (1901)
VERSHININ
I have the honor to introduce myself, my name is Vershinin. I am very, very glad to be in your house at last.
IRINA
Please sit down. We are delighted to see you.
VERSHININ (with animation)
How glad I am, how glad I am! But there are three of you sisters. I remember—three little girls. I don't remember
your faces, but that your father, Colonel Prozorov, had three little girls I remember perfectly, and saw them with my
own eyes. How time passes! Hey-ho, how it passes!
IRINA
From Moscow? You have come from Moscow?
VERSHININ
Yes. Your father was in command of a battery there, and I was an officer in the same brigade. [To MASHA] Your
face, now, I seem to remember.
MASHA
I don't remember you.
VERSHININ
So you are Olga Sergeyevna, the eldest. . . . And you are Marya. . . . And you are Irina, the youngest. . . .
OLGA
You come from Moscow?
VERSHININ
Yes. I studied in Moscow. I used to visit you in Moscow. . . .
CHEKHOV’S REALISTIC
STYLE
Although Masha and Vershinin
will become lovers in the course
of the action, they are seen here
as distant and engaging in the
type of small talk that people
engage in real life.
This type of scene required a
realistic form of acting to develop
the Subtext of the scene which is
not explicit in the text. THE
REALISTIC DRAMA gave rise to a
realistic style of acting as
practiced at the Moscow Art
Theatre.
DRIVING MISS DAISY
BROADWAY 2010
Realistic plays do not necessarily
require realistic scenery.
NATURALISM
Emile Zola (1840-1902)
NATURALISM VS.
REALISM
• To proponents of naturalism, behavior was
predetermined by environment
• Social ills were not changeable
• They sought to express art as a “slice of life...”
• ...and sought to eliminate every vestige of dramatic
convention. Zola’s manifesto declared that “all the
great successes of the stage are triumphs over
convention.”
These ideas are clearly expressed in three works...
MISS JULIE (1892)
AUGUST STRINDBERG
This domestic “tragedy” plays out in real time and recounts
the seduction of a Count’s daughter by her father’s groom.
The play ends with the Miss Julie’s suicide and the groom’s
return to this duties. The play dates from the same time period
as Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE and marked a turning point in
Strindberg’s style of writing.
Film Trailer for 2014 film of MISS JULIE
LA RONDE (1900)
ARTHUR SCHNITZLER
Arthur Schnitzler's play depicts love as a bitterly comic
merry-go-round and was deemed immoral by American
censors and banned from entering the country for many
years. It is told in ten sketches in which an interconnecting
group of lovers changes partners until the liaisons come full
circle...
Nicole Kidman was featured in the English Version of La Ronde, Blue Room
LA RONDE by
ARTHUR SCHNITZLER
The Max Ophuls
film (1950)
EUGENE O’NEILL’S
LONG DAYS JOURNEY INTO NIGHT (1956)
1888-1953
Broadway, 2003
AMERICAN PLAYWRIGHTS
INFLUENCED BY REALISM AND
NATURALISM
Arthur Miller
Tennessee Williams
August Wilson
Wendy Wasserstein
David Mamet
Neil LaBute
Miller’s DEATH OF A SALESMAN
BRAIN DENNEHY AS
WILLY LOMAN (1999)
ANTIREALISM MOVEMEMTS
SYMBOLISM (PARIS, 1880S)
Maeterlinck’s THE BLUEBIRD, 1896
TENANTS OF
SYMBOLISM
•
Reaction against realism which
expressed outward reality
•
Focus upon inner realities that
cannot be directly perceived
•
Replace reality with poetry, imagery,
novelty, fantasy, extravagence,
profundity, audacity, charm and
superhuman magnitude
•
Purity of vision rather than
accuracy of observation was the
symbolists’ aim
PROPONENTS OF
SYMBOLISM IN FRANCE
Paul Fort (1870-1960)
Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949)
SYMBOLISTS
Defined (in part) by competition between
competing organizations
• Theatre d’Art
Paul Fort
• Theatre Illustre
Andre Antoine
Their theatre’s “war” brought writers like
Arthur Rumbaud, Maurice Maeterlinck and
Edgar Allen Poe to the stage and artists like
Pierre Bonnard and Maurice Denis
PAUL FORT PRODUCED
MAETERLINCK’S
THE INTRUDER (1890)
A contemporary
production of
The Intruder
OTHER NOTABLE WORKS
OF SYMBOLISM
Alfred Jarry’s UBU ROI (1898)
1904
STRINDBERG’S
A DREAM PLAY (1902)
Directed by Diane Paulus, 2006
IBSEN’S
WHEN WE DEAD AWAKEN (1899)
A Swedish production, 2008
A NEW STYLE OF
PRODUCTION
Realistic directors like Antoine and
Stanislavsky were challenged by
scores of new directors. Notable
among them was another director
from the Moscow Art Theatre...
...Vsevolod
Meyerhold
(1874-1940)
MEYERHOLD’S THE
MAGNIFICENT CUCKOLD (1922)
THE ERA OF “ISMS”
FUTURISM
DADAISM
IDEALISM
IMPRESSIONISM
EXPRESSIONISM
CONSTRUTIVISM
SURREALISM
...ALL ARE
FORMS OF
STYLIZED
THEATRE
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920
FRENCH
AVANT-GARDE
Jarry’s UBU ROI (1896)
EXPRESSIONISM
O’Neill’s THE HAIRY APE (1921)
EXPRESSIONISM
Elmer Rice THE ADDING MACHINE (1923)
METATHEATRE
Six Characters in Search of an Author – 1921
by Luigi Pirandello
THEATRE OF
CRUELTY
Antonin Artaud (1896-1948)
JET OF BLOOD (1925)
Theatre Alfred Jarry (1926)
The Theatre and Its Double (1938)
PHILOSPOHICAL
MELODRAMA
Jean-Paul Sartre
1905-1980
THEATRE OF THE
ABSURD
Samuel Beckett
(1906-1989)
ALBERT CAMUS
(1913-1960)
EUGENE IONESCO
1909-1994
EDWARD ALBEE
1928-
The Sandbox, 1959
THEATRE OF ALIENATION
(EPIC THEATRE)
Bertolt Brecht
1898-1956
GOOD PERSON OF
SETZUAN (1943)
COMEDY OF CONTEMPORARY
MANNERS
Alan Ayckbourn
(1939)
BEDROOM FARCE
1977
NEIL SIMON
1927-
BAREFOOT IN THE
PARK (1963)
THE DINNER PARTY
(2000)
POLITICAL SATIRE
DAVID MAMET
1947-
Race (2009)
November (2007)
CARYL CHURCHILL
(1938- )
Serious Money, 1987
URINETOWN
(1999)
2010
BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW
JACKSON (2010)
created & performed by Mike
Daisey directed by Jean-Michele
Gregory
Appropriate for ages 14 and
up. Running Time: Approximately 1
hour and 45 minutes (no intermission)
WATER
(2013)
A PLAY ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING
BROOKLYN ACADEMY OF MUSIC
THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE
NIGHT-TIME
SUMMARY
MODERN THEATRE
Today’s theatre is and can be anything and
everything. As styles merge, blend, morph,
reconfigure—all theatre remains essentially one of
two forms:
Representational (realism)
-orPresentational (stylized)
Individual artists will continue to explore old and
new forms so long as audiences come.

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