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Continental Theatre . 19 th Century 1800-1915. Styles of the Continental Theatre. 1. Romanticism - closet drama (Byron, Shelley, Tennyson) - adventures (Dumas) 2. Realism - illusion of reality- (Ibsen, Strindberg) - clear conflict- (Stanislavsky)

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Continental Theatre

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Continental theatre

Continental Theatre

19th Century


Styles of the continental theatre

Styles of the Continental Theatre

  • 1. Romanticism

    - closet drama (Byron, Shelley, Tennyson)

    - adventures (Dumas)

  • 2. Realism

    - illusion of reality- (Ibsen, Strindberg)

    - clear conflict- (Stanislavsky)

    - psychoanalysis-(Freud)

  • 3. Fantasy- (J.M. Barrie)

Playwrights of the time

Playwrights of the time

  • 1. Goethe-


  • 2. Victor Hugo-

    The Hunchback of Notre Dame

  • 3. Alexander Dumas-

    The Three Musketeers

  • 4. Henrik Ibsen- The Father of Realism

    The Doll’s House; Ghosts

  • 5. Strindberg

    Miss Julie

Playwrights of the time1

Playwrights of the time

  • 6. Chekhov

    The Cherry Orchard

  • 7. George Bernard Shaw


  • 8. Oscar Wilde

    The Importance of Being Earnest



  • escape from reality

  • emotional:

    - adventure

    - chivalry

    - beauty

    - sentimentality

    - idealism

    Examples: The Three Musketeers, Man in the Iron Mask, Faustus, Cyrano de Bergerac

Realism ibsen


  • depicted a selected view of real life

  • relied on keen characterization

  • revolutionized theatre with use of social problems

  • had women as central characters

  • wrote about divorce, women’s rights, sexually transmitted disease, women having jobs, insanity

  • characters depicted came from lower class and farm



  • Freud –

    influenced the workings of the mind

  • Chekhov-

    revolt against Romanticism and the control

    of the Czar and ruling class



  • J.M. Barrie-

    Felt that realism had gone too far and thought that theatre needed to be an escape for the audience.

    Example: Peter Pan

New acting method stanislovsky

New Acting Method: Stanislovsky

  • Belief: actors had to get away from bombastic, overdone styles of acting

  • Developed: a new theory for acting which is still the basis of much acting theory today

New acting method stanislovsky1

New Acting Method: Stanislovsky

  • Actors should develop both body and voice

  • Actors should have techniques for moving about the stage that should be studied and realistic

  • Actors should be observers of reality

  • Actors should build an inner connection to a part they are portraying

  • Actors should thoroughly analyze the script

  • Actors should give illusion of action as it occurs (illusion of the first time)

  • Actors should strive for perfection

Staging innovations

Staging Innovations

  • Chariot and Pole sets

    slots were cut in the stage floor to support uprights, on which flats were mounted. These poles were attached below the stage to chariots mounted on casters that ran in tracks parallel to the front of the stage

Staging innovations1

Staging Innovations

  • Revolving Stages

  • Rolling Platforms

  • Lighting:

    - gas lights replaced by incandescent lights

    - by 1913- 1000 watt bulbs

    - light bridges to hang lights

    - footlights are gone

Other changes

Other changes

  • Wagner- (German)

    believed theatre should be a myth-maker, not so realistic, wrote opera

    influences seen yet in Lord of the Rings, Star Wars


    - fly space above the stage

    - modern seating-classless seating

    - did away with bench seats and areas for

    wealthy and designed chair style seat

    - promoted the “fourth wall”

    - wanted illusion, but also wanted detail in a


Other changes1

Other Changes:

  • Appia and Craig

    very different philosophies

    Appia Craig

    Appia- liked many sets-anti-realistic staging.

    Craig- liked one set with many uses-3 dimensional sets

    they both thought theatre should have-

  • a single effect and unity

  • a strong director

  • unity of actor, scenery, director

  • all plays have a rhythm of text, actor, set

Next theatre history

Next Theatre History:

  • 19th Century American Theatre

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