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    Renaissance Theatre

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    Beginning of Italian Renaissance
    Began to study Roman plays and write imitations of them.
    The 4 Major innovations from Italian Renaissance
    1. Acting (commedia dell-arte)
    2. Dramatic Criticism (Neoclassical Ideals)
    3. Scene Design
    4. Theatre Architecture
    Commedia dell’arte
    Not a literary form but improvised from a plot outline. Each performer always played a stock character with fix attributes and costume.
    Traveling Commedia dell’arte performers
    10 performers. 7 men, 3 women.
    Flaminio Scala
    Published the oldest 50 commedia dell-arte scenarios.
    Commedia dell-arte character. Masked master braggart and coward. Usually unwelcome suitor of female lover.
    Masked Master Commedia dell-arte character. The elderly merchant.
    Masked master of commedia dell-arte. The jealous husband.
    Masked Servant characters in commedia dell-arte
    Arlecchino (Harlequin)
    Most popular commedia character. Masked servant who was skilled acrobat and dancer and carried a “slapstick”
    Masked Servant commedia character who was a companion to the harlequin
    Masked servant commedia character. hunchback with long nose.
    Julius Scaliger
    Italian dramatic critic. Wrote Poetics Libri Septem in which he attempted to standardize literature by relating Aristotle to Horace. Drama is meant to “teach, move and delight.”
    Lodovico Castlevetro
    Translated Aristotle’s Poetics. Argues that drama was invented to “please the ignorant multitude.” He also formulated the centrality of the three unities. My Poetics! My Poetics!
    Neoclassical Ideals
    -Three Unities
    -Purity of Genre
    -No Onstage Violence
    The appearance of truth to life. No chorus, deus ex machina, ghosts, apparitions, soliloquies, etc.
    All characters should behave according to rank, sex, age, and profession.
    Three Unities
    Time (shouldn’t exceed 24 hours)
    Place (restricted to one location)
    Action (No subplots)
    Purity of Genre
    Two forms of genre, tragedy and comedy.
    The lesson of the theatre should be morally acceptable.
    Giovanni Battista Guarini
    Wrote pastoral tragicomedy (Il Pastor Fido) that stirred controversy because it didn’t conform to Aristotelian ideals. He responded to attacks with his Compendium of Tragicomedy
    Compendium of Tragicomedy
    Guarini argued that elements of tragedy and comedy are combined in nature. Tragicomedy is a new, superior drama.
    Sebastian Serlio
    Italian Architect/ Scenic Designer. Sets weren’t meant to be changed/moveable and were three dimensional with angled wings.
    Written by Serlio. The 1st Renaissance work on architecture to devote a section to theatre. Had illustrations of tragic, comic and pastoral scenes based on Vitruvius’ descriptions.
    Giocomo Torelli
    Invented Chariot and Pole system making all scenery able to be changed simultaneously.
    Teatro Olimpico
    Located in Vincenza. Andre Palladio was the architect. Three doors on front, two on side, perspective drawing in back. All painted to look like marble.
    Theatro Farnese
    In Parma. The oldest remaining proscenium.
    Propaganda Plays
    Based off of didactic nature of morality plays. Used in England during King Henry VIII’s break w/ Catholic Church
    Sparked interest of ancient literature among English scholars and writers. Had performances in universities.
    London’s Inns of Court
    Training arena for young lawyers. Wealthy aristocrats were taught music, dance and other graces through the presentation of plays.
    The University Wits
    Wrote for the public stage and bridged the gap between learned and popular audiences.
    Thomas Kyd
    Wrote The Spanish Tragedy. Influenced by Seneca and put all action onstage. Established practice of revenge tragedies
    Christopher Marlowe
    English Playwright. Placed focus on protagonist. Wrote Edward II and Dr. Faustus.
    John Lyly
    English playwright that wrote comedies primarily for boys’s companies.
    Robert Greene
    English playwright that wrote romantic comedies for adult companies.
    Leicester’s Men
    First company to receive a Royal Patent. Headed by James Burbage.
    The Defense of Poetry
    Written by Sir Philip Sydney. Argued that literature is the most effective instrument for teaching morality and moving people to virtuous actions.
    Sir Edmund Tilney
    Master of Revels who was granted in 1581 to license all plays.
    The Queen’s Men
    Established by Elizabeth I. Monopoly of performance in London.
    The Lord Chamberlain’s Men
    One of two official companies in London at the time. Lead by Burbage Family and William Shakespeare.
    The Lord Admiral’s Men
    One of two official companies in London at the time. It’s members illegally formed a 3rd company that performed at the Sway Playhouse.
    Shareholders of English Companies
    Formed the self-governing, democratic body. An actor would invest a large sum of money and commit themselves to a company for a minimum number of years.
    Hired Men of English Companies
    Worked under contract to perform supporting roles/ work as prompter.
    Boy Apprentices of English Companies
    Each company had 4-6 that began around age 10 and remained as an apprentice until 20 yrs. old. Lived with masters who trained them and performed female roles.
    Formal Acting
    An acting style that was lacking individualized characterizations, because of large repertory of plays and limited rehearsal time.
    “Realistic” Acting
    Convincing characters w/ emphasis on contemporary life and manners and truthfulness of human psychology.
    Boys’ Companies
    Originally formed in choir schools and then became popular at court.
    The Children of Paul’s
    1st Boys’ Company to achieve prominence and run public performances at its own playhouse.
    The Children of Her Majesty’s Chapel (The Blackfriars Boys)
    Most famous of Boys’ Companies. Known for outlandish comedies
    Public Theaters
    The Rose (Philip Henslow), Lord Admiral’s Men, The Swan(Francis Langley), The Globe, 2nd Globe (The King’s Men)
    1st Blackfriars at the Old Buttery
    A private theatre led by Richard Farrant who claimed it was only for preparing children to appear before the queen. Closed after it was discovered that public performances were being given.
    2nd Blackfriars at Upper Frater Hall
    Private Theatre related to the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.
    The Swan
    Original drawing by Johannes de Witt (didn’t survive) copied by Arend vand Buchell. Shows trestles under stage, stairs into gallery, people in gallery above stage.
    Ben Jonson
    Leader of writers who “favored conscious artistry.” Mostly wrote masques for the court of James I. Popularized “comedy of humors.” Comedies are described as “corrective.” 1st Poet Laureate of England.
    Beaumont and Fletcher
    Collaborated over 50 plays. Fletcher was chief dramatist for King’s Men after Shakespeare retired.
    William Shakespeare
    Shareholder in Lord Chamberlain’s men for entire career. Part owner of the Globe and the 2nd Blackfriars playhouse.
    Changes in theatre during James I reign
    Plays start reflecting cynicism and doubt. Tragicomedies become increasingly popular. Thrills and excitement. Increased technical skills in playwriting.
    John Webster
    English Playwright who’s protagonists are surrounded by corruption. Protagonist never achieves any new insight. Violence occurs onstage. Wrote the White Devil and the Duchess of Malfi.
    John Ford
    English Playwright barely noticed in his own day. Admired for ability to illuminate evil by associating it with ordinary people. Wrote ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore.
    Court entertainment, not specific plays.
    The Stuart Court Masques
    Similar to the Italian Intermezzi. Performed at court. Allegorical story w/ parallels between person being honored and some mythological person/ event. A lot of moving and dancing. Tended towards proscenium arch.
    Charles I had Inigo Jones convert Royal Cockpit at Whitehall into a permanent theatre to be used by professional companies when used by court. It was octagon-shaped with a semicircular stage.
    Inigo Jones
    1st important English scene designer. Studied in Italy. Designed and staged masques. Used technology such as cloud machines to suspend dancers, movable scenery, etc.
    The Masque of Blackness
    An early Inigo Jones masque with a stage at one end of a hall and perspective scenery of angled wings.
    The Masque of Hymen
    An early Inigo Jones masque that used periaktoi and suspended 8 dancers in a cloud machine that moved from upstage to downstage.
    The Hue the Cry After Cupid
    The 1st known Inigo Jones masque to use a proscenium arch. Also had scenery that parted in teh middle to reveal another scene behind it.
    The Mask of Oberon
    A later Inigo Jones masque that used sets of shutters that were in grooves to reveal 3 successive scenes.
    The Temple of Love
    A later Inigo Jones masque in which he didn’t use angled wings but instead used flats.
    Oliver Cromwell’s effect on Theatre
    A rekindled religious opposition to theatre. Closed all theaters.
    Short plays in between acts with stock characters. Also included the spectacle of scene changes and music and dance.

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