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Renaissance Theater 1485-1660. Preeminent period of English drama Drama originated from religious ceremony Early types of plays Miracle or mystery plays – based on Bible Moralities – taught people how to live Interludes – a variety of one-act plays

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Renaissance theater 1485 1660
Renaissance Theater1485-1660

  • Preeminent period of English drama

  • Drama originated from religious ceremony

  • Early types of plays

    • Miracle or mystery plays – based on Bible

    • Moralities – taught people how to live

    • Interludes – a variety of one-act plays

  • Comedy was introduced during Renaissance


Renaissance drama
Renaissance Drama

  • Two groups of dramatists

    • University graduates – known as high comedy – witty and sophisticated

      • Robert Greene

      • John Lyly

    • Those who were not formally educated – wrote a “lower comedy” – farcical in nature

      • Shakespeare

      • Ben Jonson

    • Tragicomedy – ends happily like a comedy, but characters endure life-threatening circumstances like a tragedy – developed by John Fletcher


Shakespeare
Shakespeare

  • Father was a mayor

  • 1582 – married Anne Hathaway

    • had 3 children

  • 1592 – became an actor and playwright

    • actors were not considered respectable

  • Theaters were constant target of officials

    • felt employees wasted their time at theaters

    • felt that disease was too easily spread

  • 1594 – joined theater group known as Lord Chamberlain’s Men

  • 1603 – became known as the King’s Men

    • their patron was King James

  • Acted and wrote for this group until he retired in 1612

  • In all, wrote 37 plays in 20 years – averaged 2-4 plays per year

    • known most for his comedies, histories, and tragedies

  • Characters are universal – true to life


The globe
The Globe

  • plays were not published after performances – didn’t want to give other theater groups material

    • makes it difficult to account for dates and accurate manuscripts

  • performed in the Globe theater – the wooden “O”

    • In 1576 James Burbage built a theater in the suburbs of London – “the Theater” was the first public theater.

    • Others were then built outside the city limits to avoid license requirements and closings imposed by London officials.

    • land was leased – owner raised rent

    • in 1599 decided to tear it down, take pieces to another property and rebuild it just south of the Thames River

    • then became known as the Globe

    • held crowds of 2 to 3 thousand people


The globe1
The Globe

  • Three parts of the Globe:

    • The building proper – 3 stories high – surrounded the inner yard

    • The stage – stuck out in the yard with spectators on 3 sides

    • The tiring house – 2 story back wall for the stage – also, a gallery above for musicians, certain scenes, etc.

  • The curtains at the back of the stage helped distinguish indoors from outside props.

  • Audience could sit on 3 sides of the stage – very close to stage

  • Limited the amount of sets they could use

    • audience relied on imagination

      • no artificial lighting/no curtain as we use it today

  • Atmosphere was more like a professional baseball game than Broadway today

    • audience openly expressed its reactions to the play

    • they ate, drank, and talked during performances

  • In 1613 the Globe burned down when cannons were fired and sparks landed on the thatched roof.


Macbeth
Macbeth

  • Tragedy – a play in which human actions have their inevitable consequences, in which a character’s bad deeds are never forgiven or corrected.

    • An ill-judged action will lead to a catastrophe

  • Tragic hero – usually the title character in a tragedy whose actions bring about his own downfall

  • Tragic flaw – the problem or character defect that causes the hero to do such destructive actions

  • Soliloquy – a long speech in which a character who is usually alone onstage expresses his private thoughts or feelings.

  • Aside – private words that a character in a play speaks to the audience or another character, which are not supposed to be overheard by others onstage.


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