Chapters 15, 16, 17, The Beginning of B’Way, and American Playwrights
The very beginning, children playing games and the caves with paintings of animals they hunted Community – life of group more important than the individual
Teenage gangs, religious organizations, congregations, military, some teams
Collective – individual most important, uses group to further individual’s goals
Produce collectives, theatre today, cities, self gov’t
Alexander Pope “the proper study of mankind is man.”
Humans have very basic needs:
Food 2. Shelter 3. Mate to procreate 4. Grouping for shelter
Greek farmers may have used stone rings to thrash wheat – where the circle or orchestra came from with dancing and singing Greek: Theatron: orchestra, dancing circle; Thymele, altar; parados, where chorus came in; skene, stage house; proskene, in front of stage house where actors performed. Greek theatre had masks, music, instruments, costumes, tragedy, comedy, chanting, and singing Roman: half circle; connected seating to stage house; auditorium, hearing place
3 best known Greek playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides
Rome liked Greek culture brought back a captured slave Livius Andronicus who became the Father of Roman Literature = could translate Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey
1. Rome collapsed no more central gov’t
2. Barbarians came
3. Growth of Christian Church
No theatres built for 1000 yrs. (476 AD to 1500 AD) all mimests excommunicated I 5 C Medieval wagons bought theatre to town squares or Mansion (Fr. word for house) stages made of pageant wagons lined up Elizabethan England gave us verse drama, language, literature, ballad opera, and exploration with circle globe theatre groundlings = audience that stood in the circle for one pence with least expensive tickets Italian Renaissance gave us opera, commedia dell’Arte, and proscenium arch earliest built theatre with a proscenium arch that is still standing is Teatro Farnese built in 1618 It was during the Renaissance that theatres moved indoors.
NOTE: stage is now behind the arch unlike Teatro Olympico with stage still in front. The first playhouse to be completely gas lit was the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia in 1816 After Thomas Edison invented the incandescent bulb in 1879, the first theatre to use electric lighting was the Savoy Theatre in London in 1881 Commedia dell’ arte 1550 to 1750 AD
Vecci = old people Zanni = eccentric servants Innamorati = young lovers
Beginning with West Side Story, directors have looked for triple threats (person who is equally strong actor, dancer, singer) Sondheim (West Side Story, Gypsy, Sweeney Todd, Company)
Meta-musical=musicals about musicals, make references to other musicals Major spectacle in modern musical (Spiderman, Wicked)
Puritans- MA Bay Colony 1620
Theatre= immoral work-moral play immoral theatre idleness=devil’s plaything Actors=pretend to be someone else lying= agent of the devil Bible=honest Actors = prostitutes and gamblers
Profit=smiled on by God Calvinist strain of Protestantism if business made $=good 1716 first theatre built in Williamsburg VA
Tough on non-profit OK for profit - still today as well
Four Ways Theatre is Produced
Commercial enterprise=B’Way, Off B’Way, Off-off B’Way, Touring, Cruises, Casinos, and Theme Parks 2.
Not-for-profit=LORT(League of Resident Theatres – started 1960’s) 3.
Academic REP & PTTP for example
Broadway - get investors (angels) for pay royalties to writers, composers, lyricists, directors, librettists (90% of all investments lose $) b.
Off-Broadway (started 1950’s)
Off-Off-Broadway (smaller and less expensive tickets)
Touring Productions (first class, bus and truck, road with per diem) e.
Cruises, Casinos, and Theme Parks
Foundations (Ford, Rockefeller)
Corporations (MBNA, etc.)
Individuals (you and me)
Government grants NEA
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