Realism in Playwrighting

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Jessie L. Nichols
Professor Herron
Theater Arts 102
03 May 2011

Realism in Playwright
Realism was introduced to theater in the 19th century as a revolt against writing and theater conventions of the past. Auguste Comet, Charles Darwin, and Emile Zola where major influences on the theater of realism. Realism is a style that focuses mostly on the five senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell, and touch causing a change in costumes and in sets of theater from previous styles of writing. We will explore some of the changes in the paragraphs to come.

Costumes before realism where used to help audience distinguish between characters and give an idea of there actions. For example in Greek theater characters wore white gloves to make movements more noticeable. Realism doesn’t need these gimmicks to show the audience movements. Realism showed the audience the true nature of the character. Realism theater took what was going on in society and introduced it as real as possible. Meaning there was no need to exaggerate the costumes being used.

One of the first innovations of realist stage design was in the shape of the stage itself. Traditionally, stage sets did not reproduce the dimensions of actual rooms. Realist stage sets, however, began to include a "box" shape, reproducing the dimensions of an actual room, with a ceiling and three walls. The fourth wall being open to face the audience that gave the perception of a room.

Realist set design, costuming, and use of props were further characterized by excessive attention to the reproduction of realistic details from everyday life. These changes in realism are still used today in theater and are preferred by must audiences.
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