Before realism, theatre was bound up in melodramas, spectacle plays (disasters, etc.), comic operas, and vaudevilles (acrobats, musicians, ect.).Realism began in the late 1800s as a trial, in hope of making theatre more relevant to life and society.
Today, many aspects of realism are still present in contemporary theatre practices. For majority of the 20th-century theatre, realism has been main stream. Due to a reaction against melodramas (romanticized plays) realism began as an experiment to make theatre beneficial in society which has eventually led to realism being the leading figure of theatre in the 20th century.
At the heart of all drama in realism there is the requirement to making acting believable. Actors have the responsibility of studying, analyzing and believing in their characters to create a convincing and believable performance. If the audience forgets they are sitting in the theatre while watching a play and completely focuses on the play before them, then the actors have successfully made the audience leave their disbelief, and are therefore performing a convincing and believable realistic play. This concept of realism was largely influenced by the Russian actor and theatre director, Constantin Stanislavski.
Born in Russia in 1863, Constantin Stanislavski drew a wide range of ideas that significantly influenced to realistic theatre practices. During Stanislavski’s younger years, theatre was moderately boring to society. Actors merely spoke to the audience and did not interact well with each other. Actors walked on stage and delivered their lines with no intensions and no effort to make their performances realistic. Sets were basic and unchanging and the costumes consisted of whatever people could come across....