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Renaissance Theater 1485-1660

Renaissance Theater 1485-1660

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Renaissance Theater 1485-1660

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  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.