Department of Drama
DRA1007: Theatrical Interpretations (Practitioners)
Formative Essay, due 5th February, 2015
STUDENT ID (the number on your University Student Card): 620023599
TUTOR: Swati Arora
Essay title: Outline what you consider to be the most significant aspects of the emergence of modernism. Draw evidence for your argument from performances and performance texts. Show your awareness of historical context. Focus your essay on the work of two practitioners discussed in lectures and seminars so far.
WORD LENGTH: 978
Outline what you consider to be the most significant aspects of the emergence of Modernism. Draw evidence for your argument from performances and performance texts. Show your awareness of historical context. Focus your essay on the work of two practitioners discussed in lectures and seminars so far.
In this essay I will be focusing on the work of both practitioners Henrik Ibsen and Constantin Stanislavski and how they were pioneers for modernism within theatre. I will also be explaining how Emile’ Zola first outlined naturalism in his literature which then became a stepping stone for leading practitioners in modernism. On the other hand I will also be touching on the Bauhaus movement and how it was a focal point for modern architecture however, not modernist theatre. He regarded his novels, some of which he later turned into plays, as clinical laboratories in which he might scientifically explore the consequences upon his characters of their birth and background. Inevitably his creatures appeared to be victims of society, and all his conclusions seemed pessimistic. (J.L.Styan 1981:6). Emile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin is one of his most popular published works. It is a seedy story of how the wealthy and poor mixed over the fascination with dead bodies being on display. I think this portrayal is interesting whereas in plays before this time the middle class and lower class would never mix for any events or enjoyment. Another modernist practitioner during this time was Hendrik Ibsen. In 1879 Ibsen published A Doll’s House which is still current to today’s society as it was during that time. The play is based on 19th century marriage, it concludes with the main protagonist Nora leaving behind her husband and children to seek a life she never dreamed off. During that time it was very controversial as women didn’t have any rights and lived within their husband’s shadow. If we are overwhelmed by the theme of women’s rights and the concept of a woman’s duty to herself rather than her self-sacrifice in marriage, perhaps we should be as impressed by the fact that Ibsen had also visualized his Nora right down to the ‘blue woollen dress’. (J.L.Styan 1981:20). I strongly agree with this statement as it is against the judgment of Nora it also suggests that theatre makers before this time did not concentrate on women’s roles within plays unlike men. Within the play Nora is the main character which is also controversial as men usually were lead roles or even the only roles in theatre. Ends promptly when its point is made. (J.L.Styan 1981:22). For a German edition of the play Ibsen was persuaded to re-write a happier ending for audience appraisal. If he was not a modernistic practitioner he would have made the play this way. The play is continuously being performed all over the world for this reason, that modernism is what people are interested in. The Moscow Art Theatre created by Nemirovich- Danchenko and Constantin Stanislavski was the main starting point for the naturalistic movement. Its theories and methods were the beginning of naturalistic acting which are still currently being used worldwide within acting techniques. Whereas other practitioners or theatre creators only imitated real life, Danchenko and Stanislavski used inner honesty of physiological depth to create naturalistic theatre. The Seagull truly inaugurated a new era in Russian theatre. (J.L.Styan 1981:75). The...
Bibliography: Styan, J.L. (1981). Modern drama in theory and practice, Volume 1, Realism and naturalism. Pp. 6-75
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