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.