THE RENAISSANCE. “Rebirth” In England and Italy. Medieval Theatre’s influence in England. Complex dramatic conventions, staging practices and audience attitudes Secular ( nonchurch ) history is addressed in a providential (advantageous) design similar to the cycles
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In England and Italy
Elizabeth’s reign: 1558-1603
James I: 1603-1625
Charles I: 1625-1649 (beheaded, Puritans
come to power; Olivier Comwell
head of the government)
1. based on inn yards and arenas used for bear baiting
2. outdoor, no roof over main courtyard where spectators stood. These standing spectators were called “groundlings.”
3. thrust stage
4. 8-12 sided structure of 3 stories
*public and private theatres were the primary playing spaces
Private: mostly in the courts of royalty where the players were summoned to perform.
Public: the outdoor theatres, where spectators of all levels of society attended
*audience was very vocal during the performance (often rude and crude: answering the players back and throwing food if the play or players were bad
4. Lots of plots (actions). They seemed to proceed independently but were really interwoven and came together before the climax. Therefore, all resolutions lead to one!
5. Took place over a long period of time.
6. Characters were well-rounded. We laughed with them/at them and cried for them. They were so complex that they appeared to be “real living individuals”.
7. What was popular within the plays?
- on stage violence (Seneca influence)
- ghosts/magic (Seneca influence)
- some folk dance of the period
The audience knew the story lines before going in but not how the story was to be told.
he was at his height of popularity. His
plays were done in their actual length:
The Lord Chamberlain oversaw all the theatrical offerings:
Each company had to have a license to perform.
It is important to remember that companies built their theatres on the other side of the river Thames, to try to avoid being shut down by the government.
Think: why might they be shut down??
Fun Fact: HAMLET is based on an old, old story
dating back to Ancient Greece.
*We have been discussing the Public Theatres in England up to this point.
Court Masques were popular entertainments performed at court by professional companies.
Most popular under James I and Charles I
and what did he learn in Italy where he studied?
special effects (flying scenery/actors)
* *perspective painting on angled wings set in grooves in the floor.
The Italian Renaissance will change theatre between 1550-1650
2 great areas of change:
Yes, they had acting and dramatic criticism but the above two were the most important.
Not only did they have court masques but:
These two would develop over the years in many countries to what we see today.
-series of improvisations
-outline of the play to be performed written and tacked up backstage)
-stock characters (Roman influence)
-performed in found space (traveling troops)
These plays are still performed today.
Extensive: broad, widespread or vast (Shakespeare)
Intensive:concentrated (Italian Court Masques)
Art is always evolving.