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Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway

Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway

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Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway

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  1. Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway Jason & Serena

  2. Reasons 1/2 • People think that theatre must be entirely self-supportting. • The government had financed the Federal Theatre during the 1930s in order to reduce unemployment.

  3. Reasons 2/2 • After the Federal Theatre came to the end in 1939, no further government assistance was given until the mid-1960s. • Following WWII, a number of nongovernmental groups were looking for means to decentralize the theatre.

  4. Beginning • The financial conditions forced Broadway producer to cater almost exclusively to mass audiences. • Theatrical groups found out of the way buildings where low production costs permitted them to offer short runs of plays.

  5. Features • Forced to experiment with spatial arrangements. • Many Off-Broadway companies played to small audiences. • Also contributed to the preference for intimate theatre.

  6. Circle in the Square • The original Circle in the Square did not have a theater license, but the founder was able to get a cabaret license; the production staff and off duty actors served as waiters if anyone insisted on ordering food or drinks. Many of the theater personnel, both acting and technical, lived on the premises.

  7. Circle in the Square • It won critical acceptance both for itself and for Off-Broadway when in 1952 it achieved resounding success with Tennessee Williams’sSummer and Smoke,a failure on Broadway.

  8. Change • By the 1960s, Off-Broadway had become so successful that theatrical unions insist on stricter working conditions and higher wages. The production costs rose. • This promoted the development of Off-Off-Broadway.(in more out of the way spaces where unions were largely ignored)

  9. LaMama • Of the early Off-Off-Broadway groups, the most important was the LaMama organization, founded in 1961 by Ellen Stewart. • It provided a place free from restrictions where dramatists could see their plays performed. • It presenting many innovative, defying and altering accepted notions of dramatic effectiveness, and this kind of spirit also extended to directorial techniques.

  10. Tom O’Horgan • Tom O’Horgan was the most successful of LaMama’s directors. • He subsequently directed Hair, Jesus ChristSuperstarand Lenny, on Broadway , using the approach he had perfected at LaMama, which seemingly owed much to Artaud.

  11. Artaud • Extensive use of nonverbal vocal sound , overamplification of sound , highly varied lighting , oversized effigies or symbolic stage properties, and the “ physicalization ” of almost every moment. • Look at p.190 ch7 Artaud and the Theatre of Cruely

  12. LaMama • When LaMama toured abroad, it seemed so innovative that it was asked to establish branches. • So its influence was international.

  13. By 1970, the distinctions between Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway were so eroded that they were indistinguishable. • A few of these organizations have been especially important. • The most influential of these organizations is New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre, head by Joseph Papp.

  14. New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre • After a modest beginning in the 1950s, Papp persuaded municipal authorities to let him stage plays free of charge in Central Park. • And then this program become very popular.

  15. New York Shakespeare Festival Theatre • Not only does this organization maintain a heavy production schedule, composed of Shakespeare’s plays, revivals, and new plays , but also it provides performance space for many other companies.