Theater from Restoration Through Romanticism

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THEATER FROM RESTORATION THROUGH ROMANTICISM

The drama of the English Restoration combined aspects of English and continental Renaissance theater, both in playwriting and in theater architecture. French influence was also felt with the introduction of neoclassical ideals into serious English drama. By the eighteenth century, there was an attempt to break away from the Italianate traditions. Theater shapes changed, and playwrights abandoned the neoclassical ideals in favor of romanticism. As the middle classes became socially more prominent, the theater created sentimental comedy, middle-class tragedy, and drama to suit their tastes. In addition, productions became more unified and more historically accurate. In the nineteenth century, this trend continued with the birth of the theatrical director, or regisseur. Comfortable modern proscenium theaters were built, such as Booth's Theater and the Bayreuth Festspielhaus.

ROMANTICISM
The era of Renaissance theatre happened after the Reformation, where the Church of England broke away from papal control and Rome. In this era, plays replaced a large majority of the general public’s moral teaching and where they got it. The increase in attendance to plays meant that costumes could become more colorful and interesting, which meant that costumes were often contemporary exaggerated translations of historical dress rather than accurate representations. It is in this era when playwrights became celebrities of the day, rather than scholars as Aeschylus and Sophocles had been in ancient Greece. William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe wrote plays that drew large crowds, and were regarded as self-made men, as they had came from humble backgrounds and worked for their success. Women were still not allowed to be professional or amateur dramatists, and female characters were played by younger male actors with padding to give the appearance of curves and cleavage. As an addition to tragedy and tragicomedy, historical and morality plays emerged portraying stories to educate and inform. The Renaissance era ended in 1642, as the Puritan movement gathered power and deemed enjoyment as sinful, wrong and against the Lord. This resulted in London theatres, such as the Globe, the Curtain Theatre and the Red Romanticism first had its lyrical poetry, which was the natural expansion of deeply aroused sensibility bursting beyond the bounds of all doctrines; its dramatic poetry, on the contrary, was 0the application of long elaborated ideas and theories, in open and deliberate antagonism with those by which Classic tragedy had been governed. The words Classicism and Romanticism took their most precise meaning from the theatre, in reality the true battle-ground of these two schools. The innovators clearly perceived that they must become masters of the stage in order to win their cause. Here they were confronted by two of the greatest names in our literature, and a dramatic system perfect of its kind and in touch both with the society in which it had been formed and with the peculiar temperament of our race as fashioned by centuries of Classic culture. All the militant activity of the young school turned to the drama for the final field of victory. The Age of Independence

The Rise of the middle class was occurring – trading and manufacturing joined agriculture as major sources of wealth. Concentration of people in towns and cities increased. Between 1750 and 1800, Romanticism took hold, and flourished between 1789 and 1843 in Europe. The American Revolution (1770) and the French Revolution (1791) further asserted that men had freedom to act on their own consciences. Known as the “Age of Independence.”

Since Romanticism, at bottom but "liberalism" in art, aimed to substitute a "popular" for a "court" literature, it was obviously necessary to address the people; therefore a new theatre must be created. The people had formerly been but a "thick wall upon which art had only painted a fresco;" now was...
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