Religious Theatre in the Spanish Golden Age!

     Religious drama is a very important part of the Spanish Golden age. Once the country of Spain was united at the end of the fifteenth century, religious theatre was fully established and flourished (Wilson and Goldfarb 193). The importance of this religious theatre in Spain continued for a long time; much longer than in other countries (Wilson and Goldfarb 193). These religious dramas were first performed actually inside the churches during ceremonies and masses. 

     There a few aspects of Spanish religious theatre that differentiates theatre created in Spain from that of other cultures. Spanish religious plays were known as autos sacramentals, which were written for Corpus Christi festival. These one act plays would honor and refer to the sacraments (Wilson and Goldfarb 195). The plays would serve to validate the teachings of the church. The plays had characteristics of medieval morality and mystery plays (Wilson and Goldfarb 195). 

     In the 1600s, professional troupes performing autos sacramentals would have to perform their piece for the king and then the city council to approve before performing for the public (Wilson and Goldfarb 195). The troupes would tour through villages and mount their plays on carros, or wagons that the plays could travel on (Wilson and Goldfarb 195). All of these plays and their equipment were funded by the government (Wilson and Goldfarb 195). This shows that the production of religious plays was very important to the spanish culture at the time. Religious dramas are still important to Spain today as some are in fact still performed. 

 

Works Cited:

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

Shakespeare in Elizabethan Drama

     The time that Shakespeare wrote in is known as the Elizabethan age, or the English Renaissance. In this time literature, exploration, politics, and further education were booming in England, making this a valuable time fro playwriting (Wilson and Goldfarb 160). This was the time that William Shakespeare, one of the greatest play writes of all time began his work. Shakespeare was able to use so many valuable elements to creating a play set by those before him. He used English and Roman history, ancient Roman drama, Italian literature, the ideas of episodic plot structure, dramatic verse, Senecan devices, and more, to create some of the greatest theatrical works of all time (Wilson and Goldfarb 163). 

    Shakespeare, born in 1564, grew up in Stratford Upon Avon. His father was a leather glove maker (Wilson and Goldfarb 163). He attended the King’s New School in his childhood where he studied a lot of latin. It is recorded that he married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and began having children with her. By 1590 he was working in London as an actor and play write (Wilson and Goldfarb 163). 

    While in London, Shakespeare wrote narrative poems and worked for the London acting company. He associated with the leading troupe in London, the Lord Chamberlain’s men, later known as the King’s men. With this troupe he produced his many plays from about 1595 to 1614 (Wilson and Goldfarb 164). He was skilled in all aspects of theatre making his works so remarkable. Shakespeare was an actor, play write, and member of a dramatic company, who also understood the technical aspects of the theatre (Wilson and Goldfarb 164). His characters were complete and well rounded and the verse used in his writing were extraordinary (Wilson and Goldfarb 164). He had all the right tools to create brilliant and timeless works. 

Works Cited:

 

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

Neoclassicism in the Italian Renaissance

      Neoclassical ideals are rules of dramatic criticism fabricated during the Italian Renaissance (Wilson and Goldfarb 151). The neoclassical ideas had a great affect on theatre criticisms and theories there forward. Neoclassicists were influenced by the works of ancient Greek and Roman critics. Mainly, the ideas appear to be based on the models of Horace as they set out to make requirements for play writes to abide by in writing their plays (Wilson and Goldfarb 151).  

        A main principle of neoclassicism is known as decorum. Decorum is the idea that all fictional characters  in dramatic works need to act in ways suitable to their age, gender, and social class. It was an expectation that all characters would act appropriately to their status in life (Wilson and Goldfarb 152). In doing this, theatrical works would be more accurate to real life and reflect real people. The situations in plays would be relatable to every day people. This concept of making stories true to life is known as verisimilitude (Wilson and Goldfarb 152). This meant that events that did not happen in the real world were forbidden from the stage such as ghosts appearing or supernatural events taking place (Wilson and Goldfarb 152). Verisimilitude made stock characters “recognizable and verifiable from real life” (Wilson and Goldfarb 152). These concepts were big characteristics of the neoclassicists beliefs. 

       Neoclassicists also had a very certain definition of genre. There were specific traits that belonged to each genre that could not be strayed from. In their idea of tragedy, this type of play would only involve royalty. A tragedy must end in disparity. On the other hand, a comedy involved only the common people and ended in joy (Wilson and Goldfarb 153). These genres could never mix. Other rules the neoclassicists had were to keep all stage actions morally acceptable and exclude stage violence (Wilson and Goldfarb 153). The neoclassicists were very particular in their ways of doing things. These ideals had a great impact and are still looked upon today. 

 

Works Cited:

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

New Architecture of the Italian Renaissance!

  During the Italian Renaissance, new architectural designs in theaters were being discovered. Theatre designs and scenery on stage were revolutionized in this period (Goldfarb and Wilson 140). In this time, three particular theatre buildings were founded that still stand today, which is really cool because they were created in the 1500s! These theaters are known as Teatro Olimpico, the theatre at Sabbioneta, and Teatro Farnese and the proscenium stage. 

     The Teatro Olimpico was the oldest of the three. This theatre was in fact built with intention of being used as an Olympic Academy in Vicenza. When the chief architect on the project, Andrea Palladio, died, the structure was continued and completed and built into a theatre by Vincenzo Scamozzi in 1584. The venue was modeled after the structure of a Roman theatre. The difference is that it is indoor and smaller. This theatre holds room for three thousand audience members! They are seated on elliptical benches that create a semicircular orchestra (Goldfarb and Wilson 141). The stage was raised as it is in modern auditorium style seating. This theatre specialized in creating three demential set pieces and creating the illusion of depth on the stage. They accomplished this by having openings in the facade that would have ally ways or street scenes that appeared to be happening in the distance (Goldfarb and Wilson 141). The theatre was very innovative.

     The next is the theatre at Sabbioneta. This theatre was built by Scamozzi in 1588. This theatre was different because it was very small, holding only 250 seats. It can be seen as a smaller and intimate version of the Teatro Olimpico (Goldfarb and Wilson 141). The stage is raised and has a painted panoramic scene at the back. This theatre was simple and did its job. 

    The last of the three is the Teatro Farnese and the proscenium stage. Teatro Farnese was constructed by architect Giovan Battista Aleotti. He created the Teatro Farnese in Parma which became the most well known and impressive theatre building of the Italian Renaissance (Goldfarb and Wilson 142).  The raised horseshoe seating in this theatre held 3,500 audience members. The orchestra in this theatre could actually be filled with water to create scenes at sea on stage! The most important part of the Teatro Farnese was the invention of the proscenium-arch stage (Goldfarb and Wilson 143). The proscenium arch is now one of the most popular of theatre spaces and is used constantly in theatres all over the world. The proscenium allows stage mechanisms to be hidden from the audience, contributing to realism on stage (Goldfarb and Wilson 143). The Teatro Farnese was revolutionary. 

 

 

Works Cited:

 

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

New Architecture of the Italian Renaissance!

 During the Italian Renaissance, new architectural designs in theaters were being discovered. Theatre designs and scenery on stage were revolutionized in this period (Goldfarb and Wilson 140). In this time, three particular theatre buildings were founded that still stand today, which is really cool because they were created in the 1500s! These theaters are known as Teatro Olimpico, the theatre at Sabbioneta, and Teatro Farnese and the proscenium stage. 

     The Teatro Olimpico was the oldest of the three. This theatre was in fact built with intention of being used as an Olympic Academy in Vicenza. When the chief architect on the project, Andrea Palladio, died, the structure was continued and completed and built into a theatre by Vincenzo Scamozzi in 1584. The venue was modeled after the structure of a Roman theatre. The difference is that it is indoor and smaller. This theatre holds room for three thousand audience members! They are seated on elliptical benches that create a semicircular orchestra (Goldfarb and Wilson 141). The stage was raised as it is in modern auditorium style seating. This theatre specialized in creating three demential set pieces and creating the illusion of depth on the stage. They accomplished this by having openings in the facade that would have ally ways or street scenes that appeared to be happening in the distance (Goldfarb and Wilson 141). The theatre was very innovative.

     The next is the theatre at Sabbioneta. This theatre was built by Scamozzi in 1588. This theatre was different because it was very small, holding only 250 seats. It can be seen as a smaller and intimate version of the Teatro Olimpico (Goldfarb and Wilson 141). The stage is raised and has a painted panoramic scene at the back. This theatre was simple and did its job. 

    The last of the three is the Teatro Farnese and the proscenium stage. Teatro Farnese was constructed by architect Giovan Battista Aleotti. He created the Teatro Farnese in Parma which became the most well known and impressive theatre building of the Italian Renaissance (Goldfarb and Wilson 142).  The raised horseshoe seating in this theatre held 3,500 audience members. The orchestra in this theatre could actually be filled with water to create scenes at sea on stage! The most important part of the Teatro Farnese was the invention of the proscenium-arch stage (Goldfarb and Wilson 143). The proscenium arch is now one of the most popular of theatre spaces and is used constantly in theatres all over the world. The proscenium allows stage mechanisms to be hidden from the audience, contributing to realism on stage (Goldfarb and Wilson 143). The Teatro Farnese was revolutionary. 

Medieval Liturgical Theatre

    During the Middle Ages, religion played a huge role in the medieval society. The church was involved in nearly every aspect of people’s lives, thus creating the birth of medieval liturgical drama (Goldfarb and Wilson, 107). It comes at no shock that religious theatre would be produced as the church was the center of society. In fact, a lot of theatre would literally be performed in cathedrals and church sanctuaries. It is very interesting that in this time the church was in great support of and even taking part in theatrical productions, as in the past, the church had been very anti-theatre, attempting to rid society of it all together (Goldfarb and Wilson, 107). Let us explore the ways in which the church contributed to the rebirth of theatre in the Middle Ages.

     One clue as to how the church aided the rebirth of theatre can be seen in Roman Catholic rituals. These rituals performed are actually very theatrical (Goldfarb and Wilson, 108). There are many theatrical elements in a mass. Many people congregate to watch and take part in the event. The priests, deacons, and other alter servers wear elaborate vestments, like costumes (Goldfarb and Wilson, 108). The masses are also accompanied by music. Roman Catholic holidays and holy days of obligation could also be seen as theatrical events, like the burying and raising of the cross on Good Friday and Easter Sunday, or the May Crowning ceremony of the Virgin Mary. 

    Music was also a big part in the development of liturgical drama. Songs played in the medieval church would be done in two groups responding and interacting to each other’s music (Goldfarb and Wilson, 108). Eventually, lyrics were added to the music and songs became a huge part of worshipping in the mass. These extended musical passages were known as tropes. One trope performed at Easter services, the Quem quaeritis, was basically a little play where people played roles such as the weeping women and an angel (Goldfarb and Wilson, 108). About four hundred trope plays have been discovered since then about the Marys’ visit to tomb to find Jesus had risen (Goldfarb and Wilson, 109). Thus began the staging of liturgical dramas as many more plays like these of bible stories were regularly performed at church services. 

Works Cited

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.

Japanese Theatre Styles: Kabuki

     One of the most popular styles of theatre originating in Asia, is the Japanese form of theatre known as kabuki. This art form was created in the early seventeenth century and has retained its popularity to the present day (Wilson and Goldfarb 94). Kabuki was born out of the roots of other Japanese theatre styles that were practiced before its invention. One of the main characteristics of kabuki is the element of dance. One theory of the origin of kabuki was that it was originally founded by a Japanese Shinto priestess who would dance on a stage on the Kamo River (Wilson and Goldfarb 94). It is a belief that her dances were influenced by a samurai warrior who passed on the traditions of dance used in “no” theatre. Her story telling through dance became extremely popular very quickly, and she and her dance group would tour Japan performing their kabuki shows (Wilson and Goldfarb 94). Her new invention, kabuki, would go on to greatly impact society. 

  The dance shows created in kabuki would tell romantic and erotic stories that would appeal to the public of the time (Wilson and Goldfarb 95). Kabuki caused quite a commotion among the Japanese community at the time. The Japanese government feared a mixing of social classes caused by kabuki so they took drastic measures to keep the art form under control (Wilson and Goldfarb 95). They feared women performers having sexual relations with audience members and banned troupes of women from performing. They also went on to ban young boys from performing for the same sexual reasons. To this day, only men perform kabuki due to these laws put in place long ago (Wilson and Goldfarb 95). The troupes of men performing were watched under a close eye, but eventually the erotic aspect of this theatrical form was reintroduced. Male kabuki actors are trained at a young age the technique to portraying a woman on stage because men play women’s roles (Wilson and Goldfarb 97). They are also heavily trained in voice, dancing, and acting. They wear intricate and beautiful costume that emphasize elegance and grace (Wilson and Goldfarb 97). Kabuki was revolutionary to Japanese theatre and it is wonderful that this interesting theatrical form is still executed today. 

 

Works Cited:

 

Wilson, Edwin, and Alvin Goldfarb. Living Theatre: History of Theatre. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. Print.