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Theatre

Artscolumbia / Performing arts  / Theatre

The theater is the main kind of spectacular art. The generic concept of the theater is divided into the types of theatrical art: drama, opera, ballet, pantomime, etc. The origin of the term is associated with the ancient Greek theater, where this term meant places in the auditorium. However, today the meaning of this term is extremely diverse.

Theatrical art has specific features that make its works unique, unparalleled in other kinds and arts.

First of all, this is the synthetic nature of the theater. Its works easily include almost all other arts: literature, music, fine arts (painting, sculpture, graphics, etc.), vocals, choreography, and also use numerous achievements of the most diverse sciences and fields of technology. For example, the scientific development of psychology formed the basis for acting and directing creativity, as well as research in the field of semiotics, history, sociology, physiology, and medicine (in particular, in teaching scenic speech and the stage movement).  The development of different branches of technology makes it possible to improve and transition to a new level of stage mechanics; sound and noise economy of the theater; light equipment; the emergence of new scenic effects.

Hence follows the next specific feature of theatrical art and this is the collectivity of the creative process. However, here we are talking not only about the joint work of the numerous theater staff from the cast to the representatives of technical workshops. In any work of theatrical art, there is one more authoritative and important co-author. This is the viewer, whose perception corrects and transforms the play, differently arranging accents and at times drastically changing the general meaning and idea of presentation. Theatrical performance without a spectator is impossible because the very name is connected with the spectator seats. Audience perception of the performance is a serious creative work, regardless of whether the public realizes it or not.

Thus, we can talk about the following feature of the theatrical art. This is its momentary: every performance exists only at the moment of its reproduction. This feature is inherent in all types of performing arts.

The Main Messages Of The Play

As the inspector begins his final speech he makes sure that no one is talking that they are all listening. After he makes them all listen he points out to each of them how they have helped to push the girl towards suicide. He admits that Gerald did at least give the girl some affection and happiness, but stresses that they are all to blame and that they will never forget what they have done. The inspector's tone becomes prophetic as his final speech goes on, he talks how the world will change and soon. He talks of fire and pain and destruction, this could relate to the world wars that are coming. Then after this huge climax and build up...

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William Shakespeare

On Thursday 22nd May, I saw a performance of William Shakespeare's 'Taming of the shrew. ' It was a matinee performance and took place in the Royal Shakespeare theatre, in Stratford upon Avon. The play is about a father (Baptista) with two daughters, Katherine and Bianca. Bianca is sweet and well behaved, and there are lots of men that want to marry her, but her father won't let her get married until he can find a husband for Katherine, who is loud, rude and bad tempered. A man called Petruchio is persuaded to marry Kate because of her money, and proceeds to try and 'tame' her. Meanwhile a man who has fallen in love with Bianca. , Lucientio, disguises himself as...

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When earth becomes a character

A new wave of theatre is inviting the natural world back on stage Everyone is "for" the earth today--from the masses of Americans who want clean air but can't imagine life without cars, to the corporations who appropriate stunning natural imagery for their ad campaigns while despoiling the pictures' originals. In such a climate, it's difficult to create environmentalist theatre without getting swallowed up by a fatuous, feel-good consensus. Earth Drama Lab, a project of San Francisco's Life on the Water Theatre, has tested out a variety of strategies in its three-year history: It has staged outdoor pageants of endangered species, presented Australian aborignial elders' song cycles, produced improvisational comedy on environmental themes, and sponsored on Eco-Rap contest that was so successful...

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Vincent Zulo: guys and pin stripes

Conventional wisdom says "clothes make the man," but can they also make the show? Vincent Zulo is a tailor for the theatre who has left his imprint on hundreds of productions here and abroad, from Broadway extravaganzas to the Barnum and Bailey Circus to modest two-character plays. Robert DeNiro, Dustin Hoffman and Alec Baldwin have passed through his fitting rooms--it's no exaggeration to call him "the tailor to the stars." "Anybody you can mention, they've come through this shop," he says with a crinkly smile and the engaging inflections of his native Italy. Those who imagine a tailor as a bent little man sewing tiny stitches by hand alone in a dark garret might be surprised by Zulo and his shop....

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Vested Interests: Cross-Dressing & Cultural Anxiety

Marjorie Garber's thesis in Vested Interests is challenging and simple: Cross-dressing isn't an aberrant, eccentric or minority art form; it is a mainstream cultural activity which makes evident the deepest ways in which our ideas of who we are and who we aren't are structured. So is she right? I recently had good cause to put some of her arguments to the test. Invited by the Goodman Theatre in Chicago to create a new production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, I decided not to conform to the post-Restoration tradition of performing the play in (heterosexuall) drag, i.e., with men playing parts originally written for women. I had considered doing the text with an all-male company, but this immediately seemed like a very bad...

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Underneath our clothes

Marjorie Garber's thesis in Vested Interests in challenging and simple: Cross-dressing isn't an aberrant, eccentric or minority art form; it is a mainstream cultural activity which makes evident the deepest ways in which our ideas of who we are and who we aren't are structured. So is she right? I recently had good cause to put some of her arguments to the test. Invited by the Goodman Theatre in Chicago to create a new production of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, I decided not to conform to the post-Restoration tradition of performing the play in (heterosexual) drag, i.e., with men playing parts originally written for women. I had considered doing the text with an all-male company, but this immediately seemed like a very bad...

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The redemption of W.B. Yeats

When the clerk in a Dublin bookstore discovered I was interested in William Butler Yeast's plays, she confessed that she didn't think much of the man. "Americans," she said, "are more fond of him than we are." But when she learned that James W. Flannery's festival at the Abbey offered all five Cuchulain plays on a single bill, she allowed she might go see them because it was "good value for money." Her comments are iffy on both counts. The man himself may be acceptable on this side of the Atlantic, but it's not uncommon to hear American theatre professionals and academics alike dismiss Yeast's plays as unstageable. Nobody, they charge, could sit through even one of those things and like...

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The Ayckbourn sting

Unofficially, and without ever planning it, the city of Seattle has become the site of an Alan Ayckbourn performance festival. Three theatres have independently slated Ayckbourn productions running into the fall, including Seattle Children's Theatre's Invisible Friends, and Intiman Theatre Company's How the Other Half Loves. The major theatres have gotten into a slapjack game over the prolific Britisher's plays, waiting for rights to come available and grabbing them when they can. One of the consistent winners is A Contemporary Theatre, which scores a minor coup with its upcoming American premiere of Ayckbourn's two-part The Revenger's Comedies. That an English-to-the-core playwright who works exclusively out of his home theatre in Scarborough has become a box-office draw in Seattle may seem striking...

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Steve Tesich: the only kind of real rebel left, he figures, is a moral person

How do political plays function in an apolitical society? What is the purpose of art in a bankrupt culture? Steve Tesich ruminates on these questions with the weariness of on whose work is inseparable from the social context of its time. Alternately wry and wary as he discusses his most recent play, On the Open Road, the 49-year-old playwright becomes more animated when the topic turns to what he sees as the virtual collapse of the country's political system. Like others of his generation who came of age in the hurlyburly activism of the 1960s, only to see their ideals remain unrealized, Tesich is intent on revealing the consequences of America's retreat from its past promise. In flashes of conersation, Tesich might...

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Shylock meets Mussolini

Stenciled on a Venetian building are a pair of faces -- one black, one white. A sword slices between the heads. "La Difesa de la Razza" ("The Defense of the Race") reads the terse legend. Welcome to 1937 Italy, the apex of Mussolini's power and the setting for the California Shakespeare Festival's season-opening production of The Merchant of Venice, running through Aug. 20. Although the Holocaust is never directly referred to, the audience is well aware of both the imminent passage of Il Duce's virulent anti-Jewish laws and the eventual Nazi-inspired campaign of genocide. "You can't help but approach this play without considering anti-Semitism in the 20th century," director Michael Addison declares. "As a directory you hope you create a millieu that...

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Paul Tazewell: you are what you wear

From Halo Wines's first entrance as psychoanalyst Melanie Klein in the recent production Mrs. Klein at Washington's Arena Stage, her costume said worlds about the character's background and personality. With its somber palette, careful detailing and fine fabric, the beautiful clothing established this woman's place as a renowned professional living in 1930s London. Paul Tazewell welcomed the challenge of designing the traditionally decorative period costumes Nicholas Wright's drama called for. But he gets even more excited when he's called on to turn his imagination loose on productions like Arena's recent Caucasian Chalk Circle. This large-cast Pan-Asian spectacle was peopled with peasants whose costumes, while made to look dirty and ragged, also were full of folk color, bold geometric patterns and varied...

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No justice, no peace

The fire is burning/ It lights up the sky/ From high on the rock/ Down into the sea/ It is taking the children/ It is eating the future/ Smother the fire/ Open your hearts. -- The Song of Jacob Zulu The fire that rages through Tug Yourgrau's powerful new play with music, unveiled this spring at Chicago's Stephenwolf Theatre, is hate -- hate bred of relentless racial and class oppression. In The Song of Jacob Zulu, set in the playwright's native South Africa in 1985, the oppression is specifically named apartheid; but the drama proved eerily reflective of events that exploded in America in mid-May, during the final weeks of its world-premiere run. Unexpectedly, so did a concurrent Chicago production mounted in...

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Nelson, Newell honored

Actor Ruth Nelson is the recipient of the 1992 Zeisler Award for distinguished service to the nonprofit professional theatre. The award, established in 1986 by Actors Theatre of Louisville producing director Jon Jory and named for TCG's executive director Peter Zeisler, is given annually by Theatre Communications Group to a director, designer, actor or administrator selected from nominations by artistic directors of theatres nationwide. Nelson, 86, has spent a lifetime in the theatre. She was a founding member of the Group Theatre in 1931, appearing in such productions as Clifford Odet's Waiting for Lefty. She was a member of the acting company of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis (where she appeared in Hamlet, The Three Sisters and The Glass Menagerie,...

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NEA vetoes unleash protests, walkouts

Escalating controversy leaves the Endowment in disarray Within just two weeks of assuming her position, the new acting chairman of the National Edowment for the Arts sparked a new round of controversy for the agency, creating a volatile atmosphere just as its annual congressional appropriations process was getting underway. Anne-Imelda Radice, who took over the NEA's leadership on May 1 following John Frohnmayer's forced resignation, wasted no time in letting it be known that she meant for the beleaguered NEA to "regain the confidence of the American people and their representatives in Congress," and that, in doing so, she viewed her role and the agency's funding policy quite differently than did her predecessors. After telling a congressional subcommittee that she would use her...

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Moot

When a playwright's subject is the tortuous machinations of the Federal Government, he doesn't need a wild imagination to figure out that the most suitable dramatic genre is likely to be farce. As Milwaukee Repertory Theater's resident playwright John Leicht pored over the yellowing American Civil Liberties Union files of The Progressive case, he discovered that he had a surreal circus right in his hands. When reality turns as absurd as it did in Madison, Wisc. in 1979, the playwright's job of turning public events into theatrical comedy is essentially Moot. After his successful 1985 courtroom play, An American Journey, which focused on the late '50s killing of a Milwaukee man by two local police officers (and that crime's subsequent cover-up),...

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Lost horizon

I must confess that I am not a proper estimator of theatre in America because I see too few productions. But I have my own experience as reference as well as reports I get from writer, actor and director friends. It seems clear, now in 1992, that we are the end of something. Without indulging in overblown praise for theatre in the '40s and '50s, I do think that on the whole theatre had far greater importance than it does now, not least for actors. Television held much less promise then of either fame, steady work or income for actors. And the movies, while always attractive to them for obvious reasons, did not gobble them up as they have since. Judging from...

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Julianne Boyd & Joan Micklin Silver: A smooth-as-silk partnership

As collaborators, Julianne Boyd and Joan Micklin Silver are a hand-in-glove match. They share the same artistic and political values, they laugh at the same things, they even finish each other's sentences. So what if they only work together every eight years? They'll be the first to say they plan their projects in response to social currents, and not because they need a job. Boyd is a stage director with an extensive list of credits; Silver works primarily in the film and television industry. Together they have conceived and directed the popular musical revue A...

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Hot noir

In Native Speech, On the Verge and In perpetuity Throughout the Universe, Eric Overmyer manifested a extraordinary command over the tools of language: sound, syntax and image. None exhibited much control over, or interest in, the more mundane devices of the playwright's art. In Dark Rapture, which premiered at Seattle's Empty Space Theater in May, Overmyer's verbal dexterity is acute as ever, but this time it's harnessed to a plot delivered by characters who seem driven by purposes of their own. It's by far Overmyer's most satisfying play. Dark Rapture may not, however, earn its author the critical praise it deserves it certainly didn't in Seattle because it adheres so strictly to the rules of a genre. In the written arts,...

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Dark Rapture

In Native Speech, On the Verge and In perpetuity Throughout the Universe, Eric Overmyer manifested a extraordinary command over the tools of language: sound, syntax and image. None exhibited much control over, or interest in, the more mundane devices of the playwright's art. In Dark Rapture, which premiered at Seattle's Empty Space Theater in May, Overmyer's verbal dexterity is acute as ever, but this time it's harnessed to a plot delivered by characters who seem driven by purposes of their own. It's by far Overmyer's most satisfying play. Dark Rapture may not, however, earn its author the critical praise it deserves it certainly didn't in Seattle because it adheres so strictly to the rules of a genre. In the written arts,...

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Bay sayers

Up until the last week of April, the Marsh was located in the back room of an artsy little Mission District espresso joint called Cafe Beano. Patrons would walk in off Valencia Street, maybe get a cup of something or a health-foody hunk of pastry from the cafe counter, and head through a narrow door into a space the size of a one-car garage. The seating consisted of several rows of mismatched chairs, mostly dinette-set orphans and garage-sale stragglers. The cramped stage area looked just spacious enough to hold a single performer. A theatre with space for only one actor? No problem: the Marsh, founded in 1989 and managed ever since by a determined young woman named Stephanie Weisman, functions principally...

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Atomic circus

When a playwright's subject is the tortuous machinations of the Federal Government, he doesn't need a wild imagination to figure out that the most suitable dramatic genre is likely to be farce. As Milwaukee Repertory Theater's resident playwright John Leicht pored over the yellowing American Civil Liberties Union files of The Progressive case, he discovered that he had a surreal circus right in his hands. When reality turns as absurd as it did in Madison, Wisc. in 1979, the playwright's job of turning public events into theatrical comedy is essentially Moot. After his successful 1985 courtroom play, An American Journey, which focused on the late '50s killing of a Milwaukee man by two local police officers (and that crime's subsequent cover-up),...

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Art & uprising

The fires are out in Los Angeles, but cultural institutions may have been permanently scorched. It was late in the afternoon of Thursday, April 30, and much of Los Angles was, quite literally, in flames--burning in an uprising sparked by the acquittal of four white police officers in the savage beating of motorist Rodney King. As the city immolated and began the first night of a dusk-to-dawn curfew that was to continue through the weekend--virtually shutting down the city's cultural institutions for four days Gordon Davidson, director of the Center Theatre Group, was alone in his office in the deserted theatre comples. Like many top managers of business across the city, Davidson had ordered his employees home earlier in the afternoon while safe...

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American sentiment, British sensibility

For a country that mounts a lot of American theatre, England doesn't seem particularly to like it. Reviewing Tina Howe's Painting Churhes, which expired on the West End after several weeks in February following the worst set of reviews in recent memory, Michael Billington in the Guardia wrote of a "crisis in American drama [that stems] from its maudlin domestic fixation." Discussing a concurrent production of All My Sons, Nicholas de Jongh in the Evening Standard used the play as an excuse to take a brickbat to "the bungalows of postwar American theatre" over which Arthur Miller's 1947 imitation Ibsenism "towers high." If our contemporary theatre were really so depleted, how, then, would a Briton account for a current New York...

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A vessel too fragile

Among the more ambitious and exotic offerings this season at Pittsburgh's Three Rivers Shakespeare Festival is the American premiere of Ophelia, a vivid and compelling variation on the Hamlet story, created by the Kyoto-based NOHO theatre group. NOHO may not exactly be the father of Japanese-American cross-cultural fusion, but it has been so prolific and influential that it can be called at least the uncle of Japanese theatre's new international visibility. The Three Rivers production, running through July 11, is a collaboration between NOHO artists and members of the Festival's Young Company, based at the University of Pittsburgh. This kind of joint effort may be nothing new for NOHO, which has been pushing the envelope of East-West theatre experimentation for over...

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A fire in the basement

A jolt of energy, imagination, color and creativity hit the San Francisco and New York theatre communities this past season, and it came from an unexpected quarter: the Soviet Union. Not from the new Russia, jittery and vibrant with the ongoing process of perestroika; not from the twilight of old Russia, where Chekhov and Stanislavsky pointed to a new dawn; but fresh from the formative years of the Soviet Union, back on the far side of stagnation, even before Stalinization. The points of impact were unusual, too: museums. The Palace of the Legion of Honor, a constituent of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, mounted "Theatre in Revolution: Russian Avant-Garde Stage Design 1913-1935" last winter, and the IBM Gallery of...

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The hero nobody knows

With 37 plays in the Shakespeare canon to choose from, the chances of four American theatres staging one of his most obscure works - Pericles, Prince of Tyre - all during the same winter would seem awfully remote. But to listen to the actors who performed the title role, this convergence of Peticleses isn't really a coincidence. Synchronicity is the word they're more likely to use. For Jung is in the air, and Joseph Campbell too. And Pericles is seemingly a play whose time has come round - again. As the first of Shakespeare's four romances - those fantastic, often mystical tragicomedies which rounded out his career - Peticles enjoyed a popularity in its day which was rivalled apparently only by...

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The quality question

We live in a moment of extreme ideological confusion. The Soviet Empire and cold war seem to have have ended almost overnight. Like so many social and political spectacles in America now, the Clarence Thomas - Anita Hill drama seems to have come and gone without an author, and no one with a radical or conservative label can provide it with an appropriate script. Magic Johnson, a globally revered heterosexual sports hero, has the HIV virus. Clearly many assumptions and categories on which people have been depending to make sense of their lives have crumbled. The degree of our confusion can be felt in our language. In the last couple of years the discussion of culture has been shot through with...

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Volvograd, Ohio

On June 13, the New Experimental Theatre of Volgograd, Russia, opens a Russian-language version of A Streetcar Named Desire - at the Cleveland Play House. By then, the Milwaukee Repertory Theater will have just closed a revival of Our Town - at the Omsk State Drama Theatre in Siberia. At the joint behest of the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Moscow Arts Theatre, playwright Richard Nelson and his Russian partner Alexander Gehlman will be in the midst of final rewrites on their collaborative piece about the attempted Moscow coup that almost toppled perestroika. And Bob Leonard of the Road Company in Johnson City, Tenn. will probably be still wishing he had enough money to propel him and his small theatre...

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Waiting for Godot

Going to see Joseph Chaikin's production of Waiting for Godot at Seven Stages in Atlanta, I found myself wondering what effect the director's own "divine aphasia" would have on the "fundamental sounds" of this cornerstone of contemporary theatre. Chaikin has long had a love hate relationship with Beckett's work. While he's been repeatedly drawn to it as actor and director, he has usually found himself enervated after the work, and at times questioned the morality of producing nihilistic texts in a society where hope is already a rare commodity. "One walks out with a little less," he once said about the audience's experience of Endgame. The Seven Stages Godot (which traveled to The Hague as part of the International Samuel Beckett...

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Take money from thy verse

At the risk of turning my own creeping anecdotage into a shortcut to perceptible truth, I'm prepared to share a tale told me in Houston some months ago, a familiar tale, one might say, about a poet confronted by a mob. Seven young acting interns with Houston's Alley Theatre were scheduled to perform a mini-version of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar at a local high school. Upon arriving there, they discovered that their performance had been canceled; the school, unable to raise money for their fee, couldn't in good conscience continue to sell $5 tickets to the students who, at any rate, weren't buying them. Undaunted, the Alley troupe gave the performance as a benefit, no doubt suffering, as actors do, from...

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