Elements of Drama Theater by wuyunyi


									                                        Elements of Drama/ Theater


              Theater—Production, Performance, and Dramatic Elements Guided Notes

          A _____________________________ is the writer of the novel, movie, or play. Authors create
plots. A plot is __________________________________________ that take place before an audience.
Plots can be broken down into specific genres. We will discuss these later. For now, you need to know
that all plots written by authors and dramas. A Drama is ___________________ to be
_______________________ in front of the ____________________________________.
           Often, authors will employ literary tools in order to assist them in the entertaining of the audience.
One of these literary tools is called foreshadowing. _____________________________ is a plot device
that exposes what will happen in the plot at a later time. Another literary tool is called reversal. If a
character or the plot itself has a major change in direction, this can be defined as
________________________________. An example of reversal is the Hobgoblin helping Spiderman beat
Venom and Sandman after they had kidnapped Mary Jane Watson in Spiderman 3.
          Sometimes, as a reader, you have to really look into the script or play you are reading. You must
try to find actor’s reasons for playing parts and playwright’s reason for writing the play in the first place.
Many plays are chock full of subtleties and symbolism you may miss if you simply scanned the plot for
entertainment. If you are reading between the lines of a play to get a deeper meaning and trying to
understand the subtle actions of the actors that tell the emotion that the words do not convey, you are adept
at understanding _____________________. Subtext is used in all areas of human contact. An example of
subtext is when your mother tells you clean your room, then taps her foot with her hands on her hips while
staring a hole through you. Through her nonverbal clues, you know she means business. These nonverbal
clues are subtext. Another interesting literary focus in drama is motivation. Motivation can be defined as

                                           . Perhaps a character has had a bad childhood or parents that
didn’t love them enough. Every action and word should have a reason behind it. Your job, as a reader, is
to find those reasons.

          The tools of drama are really simple. There are four tools employed. They are:
These four tools are necessary in almost all productions. The first of these tools is props. Props are things
_________________________ by the actors that further the story. That is, they must be used or employed
to be considered a prop. A gun is a prop only if it is handled. A pie sitting on a windowsill is not a prop
unless it is touched. If it remains untouched, it is a part of the set. Sets do two things. They
Another tool of theater is costumes. Costumes, like sets, dress something. In this case, they dress the
actors. This allows the actor to __________________________ the character they will be playing.
Finally, the last tool of drama is the lighting and/ or technology. Lighting and technology may be simple or
complicated. Through lighting and. Or technology, the playwright or director wants to help get across the
_______________________ of the play.

          When the playwright writes, he, like authors for other genres, like short stories, novels, or other
fictional works, uses specific literary concepts. Most important among these is Freytag’s Pyramid. All
stories employ Freytag’s Pyramid when building a plot. There are five parts to Freytag’s Pyramid. It looks
like this

                                        It is called Freytag’s Pyramid because the five parts correspond to a
 specific part of a triangular structure. The exposition is gives ___________________________ about the
  characters or setting of the play. Exposition is entirely told and not acted out. You don’t see exposition;
 you hear it. For example, in a Shakespearean play, the exposition is often told/ sung at the very beginning
 of Act I by the Chorus. Rising action can also be called the _____________________________. It is the
   progression of the plot of the play. At the beginning of the rising action, the first event takes place that
        begins to tell the story. This opens the plot to the audience. This beginning point is called the
          During the rising action, characters are put into conflicts by the playwright. In the middle of the
action—as the characters struggle to find answers to the situations they have been put in—the rising action
turns into the _______________________. This can be defined as the __________________ of the play.
After the climax, the characters deal with the situation. This is called the falling action. By the end of the
falling action, the characters have all undergone some sort of change. This change—this solution or
explanation tells the audience what will happen ―_______________________________.‖ An example of
resolution is found in the play, Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet have committed suicide already. The
resolution is that the families—both Montague and Capulet—band together and forget their feud which
caused Romeo and Juliet to die. They will build monuments to the fallen lovers and live ―happily ever
after.‖ In short, these characters have all learned how their hate led to the death and destruction of true

          Speaking of characters, playwrights have specific types of characters they must use. A character
can be defined as ___________________________________________________. The main characters
found in a play are generally the protagonist and the antagonist. The protagonist can be defined as
________________________________________________________ . Protagonists do not necessarily
have to be good guys. They don’t necessarily have to be heroes. They do have to be the main characters
found in the play. The person opposite the main character is the
_____________________________________. This character caused _______________________ in the
life of the protagonist. If your life were to be made into a play or movie, your ex-girlfriend or boyfriend
may be an antagonist. So, too, may your teachers, parents, or the police. An example of a protagonist from
today’s world is Captain Jack Sparrow. He’s not necessarily good or a hero; he is the main character in the
movie trilogy. His antagonist would probably be Davy Jones, the squid-bearded guy with the cool accent
and the crew that looks like a mix of man and sea.
          The art of acting and performance, meanwhile, depends on a variety of things. However, the most
important of these are fairly simple. The first performance tool is verbal quality. When critiquing a play or
an actor, you must first hear them, right? Verbal quality can be defined as

Playwrights depend on verbal quality to express their words. These words can be broken down into two
subsets. The first of these is when one actor speaks a large portion of the play by himself. This is referred
to as a                              . When two or more people are speaking at the same time, this is
referred to as                                . Sometimes, actors don’t need to speak to convey emotion.
When actors use nonverbal cues to symbolize emotion—such as crying silently or falling down a flight of
stairs, they are employing _________________________________. This is the art of transferring
information without words.
                                           Renaissance Overview


After the fall of Rome, Europe entered a period called the ―                                .‖ This period of
history is labeled ―dark‖ because historians point out that there was an obvious
                                                                  in many of the categories of civilization.
Government and community organizations deteriorated, writing became rare, education was reserved for
those entering a                                                                   , engineering techniques
were lost, most of the population lived on                                                  , where personal
health and hygiene suffered.

By the 14th Century, a dramatic change swept across the continent which marked
Renaissance. In 1446,                                                              invented the printing
press and

Education became more available to the masses, and many studied the works of the
                                                                                             and developed
skills in the arts.

                                                         , sometimes called the birthplace of the Renaissance,
the                                                                                   was the driving force
behind the ―rebirth‖ and hired the best artists to beautify the city. Many of the artists discovered a new
technique that gives a three- dimensional appearance to paintings, a method known as

The best known of all Elizabethan authors was                                                        .

                                     A Midsummer Night’s Quiz

1.   You have to read a play for English 200 in college. The play synopsis includes the following
     snippet of information:

―When Titania wakes, the first creature she sees is Bottom, the most ridiculous of the Athenian
   craftsmen, whose head Puck has mockingly transformed into that of an ass. Titania passes a
   ludicrous interlude doting on the ass-headed weaver. Eventually, Oberon obtains the Indian boy,
   Puck spreads the love potion on Lysander’s eyelids, and by morning all is well.‖

Which play are you likely going to read?
a. A Midsummer’s Night Dream
b. Othello
c. MacBeth
d. Richard III

2.   Who was King of the Fairies?
a.   Lysander
b.   Demetrius
c.   Theseus
d.   Oberon

3.   Who was Queen of the Fairies?
a.   Hermia
b.   Puck
c.   Titania
d.   Oberon

4.   In A Midsummer’s Night Dream, who eventually ends up married?
a.   Oberon and Titania
b.   Hermia and Lysander
c.   Helena and Demetrius
d.   All of the above

5.   What is Puck’s other name?
a.   Robin, the Boy Wonder
b.   Robin Leach
c.   Oberon
d.   Robin Goodfellow

6.   Who is turned into an ass?
a.   Puck
b.   Oberon
c.   Lysander
d.   Bottom

7.   As you watch A Midsummer Night’s Dream, you notice the prevalence of fairies, magic, and
     names meant for an audience more Greek and Roman than English. Which of the following helps
     to explain Shakespeare’s use of Greek and Roman influences in his plays?
a.   His education
b.   His early travels spent touring Europe, especially Greece and Rome
c.   Greek and Roman plays were the only plays to read and emulate
d.   Greek and Roman culture was really unpopular at the time and Shakespeare was a leading part of
     bringing it back into popularity with the public
                                            Commedia D’ell Arte


Harlequin Masks
There are three types of Harlequin masks:

The traditional Arlecchino mask is speckled with wart looking blemishes.

The lozenge costume gave his name to a fashion motif, the mask to a shape for eyeglass frames: see
    Harlequin. Oddly enough, Arlecchino was originally created by the French, and later adapted by the

Arlecchino (Harlequin, Truffaldino),
a                                                                                                  , one of
the zanni.
He is a poor peasant who has left his native Bergamo to seek his fortune in the city of Venice.
He is                                                                                              , a fact
that often causes amusement when a message arrives and Arlecchino pretends to read it.
He is                                                                                               and a
                                                                                  and carries a baton which
he sometimes uses to bash other characters for comedic relief, leading to the modern term

Brighella (Figaro, Scapin, Mezzetino),
A money-grabbing                                                                  , one of the zanni
characters, and often a partner of Arlecchino.
He is a self-made man, who has become comfortably off despite humble beginnings.
He is sometimes the proprietor of the                                                                . He is a
ladies' man, and a typical Latin macho, with all the charm that involves, and all the drawbacks. He is
associated with Bergamo.

Columbina (Columbine, Harlequine, Pierrette),
A maidservant to the Innamorata and lover of                                                . She is usually
involved in intrigue and is rather intelligent. She is associated with Venice.

Il Capitano (the Captain)
A cheap he-man soldier, but a                                                      underneath. He is often
one of the vecchio.

Il Dottore (the Doctor, usually called Dottore Balanzone or Dottore Graziano),
 A local aristocrat, who went all the way to Bologna to read for his degree.
He is                                                                                                , with
"old" money and is one of the vecchio. He adores food and good wines, thus he is a little

Innamorata (the Lover)
The leading woman. She wore no mask (see innamorati).
Innamorato (the Lover)
The leading man. He wore no mask (see innamorati).
Pantalone (Pantaloon, Cassandro, Cassandrino, Facanappa)
A rich and miserly merchant who is frequently the                                                  , and is
one of the vecchio. He also employs Arlecchino and treats him                                       . He is
associated with Venice.

Pedrolino (or Pierino, most commonly nowadays known as Pierrot, also Burrattino, Bertoldo,
A mild-mannered zanni. He tends to be so kindly that other characters
for things he never did, and he                                        that it was all his fault.

Is a hunchback who still                                                               , and is one of the
zanni. He was the model for Punch in the English puppet theatre Punch and Judy. He is associated with

La Ruffiana (Old Woman)
Is usually a                                                                     or
                                                                who intrudes into the lives of the Lovers.

Scaramuccia (see also Scaramouche)
A roguish adventurer and swordsman who replaced Il Capitano in later troupes. He is the servant to
another character. He wears a black velvet mask and black trousers, shirt and hat.

Is a threadbare old servant from Bergamo. He is associated with Venice.

                                             Shakespeare Overview


      Born 1564 in                                                                                       ,
      England…April 23rd

      Shakespeare—The facts
•Parents were John—glovemaker, local politician and Mary—daughter of wealthy landowner
•Shakespeare had 7 brothers and sisters
•Spelling not yet standardized, thus name spelled in different ways
•      Shakespeare, Shakspere, Shackspere, Shaxper, Shagspere, Shaxberd, etc.
•Throughout the Middle Ages, plays were performed by workers in towns and were
                                                                          , often retelling stories from the

      Elizabethan writers introduced theatre audiences to horror, the supernatural and gore.

      Elizabethan Playwrights
      The most well known playwright of Elizabethan times is                       .

      The Plays
•plays firmly attributed to Shakespeare:
•14                                                                                             – ends in
                   A Midsummer Night’s Dream,
                   Merchant of Venice,
                   Twelfth Night,
                   As You Like It,
                   Much Ado about Nothing
•10                                                                                    – primarily tales of
English kings and heroism
           •Richard III,
           •Richard II,
           •Henry IV
•10                                                                                                          – ends
in death
           Romeo and Juliet,
•4                                                                                              –
           •A Winter’s Tale,
           •The Tempest
    The Performances
•The theatres often had mechanisms that allowed                                        and                to be
lowered down onto the stage. Stages were also equipped with a trapdoor leading to a
beneath the stage. The trapdoor was also used as a                           in theatrical funerals.
•There was very little                                                                available for theatres, so
the writers often used                                                                                    to
explain to the audience where the scene was taking place.
•                                                                                                was very
important in Elizabethan theatre. Actors wore colourful and elaborate costumes that would tell the audience
the characters status, family ties or profession.
•The emphasis that was given to a character’s clothing made the theme of                                  a
common convention of Elizabethan theatre. In order to exchange places with another character or conceal
his identity, all an actor needed to do was to change his costume.
     • The Elizabethan theatre also used a variety of                                           . Music played an
     important role in setting the mood of the plays. Other sounds created were thunder, running horses,
     falling rain, and cannon blasts.
     Shakespeare Today
•Elizabethan theatre is still plays a part in our day to day lives, mostly through the influence of
Shakespeare. You can find references to his work in
Even today, his characters and storylines continue to inspire.
     Shakespeare in Language
     Elizabethan theatre has had a very important effect on today’s theatre, and other parts of every day life.
     For example:
•Shakespeare coined over                                                           words still used today
including countless, critical, excellent, lonely, majestic, obscene and its.

•Names coined by Shakespeare:
     -      Imogen in the play Cymbaline,
     -      Jessica in the play The Merchant of Venice
     -      Miranda in the play The Tempest
     -      Olivia in the play Twelfth Night
     -      Cordelia in the play King Lear

    And lastly, ―If you cannot understand my argument, and declare "                                    ", if
    your lost property has                                                                              , if you
    have ever refused to                                                                       or suffered from
                                                             , if you have
                                                   , if you have been                                   ,
                                                       , if you have
                                                                 , insisted on
                                                       ,                                                 , if you
    have                                                                                       , if you have
                                                                           or if you think it is
                                                        and that that is
                                                       , if you believe that
    and that                                                                          even if it involves
                                                                          , if you
    till the                                                                          because you suspect
                                                                 , if you have your
                                                       )                                                    - it is
    all one to me, for you are quoting Shakespeare!‖
                                           Renaissance Era Overview


                                                                                                    ~ The
             original Renaissance man, he studied all forms of knowledge, including art and science.
                                                                                                    ~
             known for painting the Sistine Chapel and for sculpture. At left is his sculpture of Moses.

Da Vinci was a master of                                                        ,
                                                   , and
                                                   . Not since classical Rome had the world seen such
                                                                       depictions of real people, as seen
in the famous example of Mona Lisa. Notice the background that seems to fade in the distance. This is
                                                   . This is a skill completely absent in art from the
medieval period.

It is often reported that the eyes of Mona Lisa seem to follow the observer; however, the photo below
which was taken of the painting disproves those rumors... or does it?

Giovanni Palestrina ~ "one of the greatest Renaissance masters. A prolific composer of
                                                         ,                                    and other sacred
works, as well as madrigals, he was basically conservative. In his sacred music he assimilated and refined
his predecessors'                                                                    techniques to produce a
'seamless' texture, with all voices perfectly balanced. The nobility and restraint of his most expressive
works established the almost legendary reverence that has long surrounded his name and helped set him up
as the classic model of Renaissance                                        ."
(from http://w3.rz- berlin.mpg.de/cmp/palestrina.html - 2/14/2005)

Commedia dell' Arte ~ "a type of comedy developed in 16th and 17th century Italy, characterized by
improvised text based on plot outlines (scenarios). Commedia dell' Arte featured
                                                                              , some of whom wore distinctive
                                                                    . Literally, it means comedy (Commedia) of
the professional guilds or artists (dell' Arte). Its popularity in Renaissance Europe can be attributed to the
talents and special skills of the actors who were acrobats, dancers, musicians, orators, quick wits, and
improvisors possessing thorough insights into politics and human nature. The populace loved the stock
characters and their antics, much the way contemporary audiences love the Marx Brothers' movies or TV
                                                                               with stock characters like
'Gilligan's Island' and 'Friends.'"
(from http://www.commedia-dell- arte.com/commediainfo.htm - 2/15/2005)

William Shakespeare ~ greatest playwright of the Renaissance. During the Elizabethan Age, he produced
many comedies, such as The Taming of the Shrew, tragedies such as Othello, histories such as Richard III,
and over 150 poems such as Sonnet XVIII. He was not only the "                                   " of the
Renaissance poets, he was the                                                                    .
Shakespearean Tragedy
    a story of exceptional                                               leading to the
       of an exceptional man of high estate but with a
    uses the                                                                        (such as the insane), the
                                                                                                       (such as
        ghosts), and the concept of
       has a conflict that is partially                                                  , meaning at least
        part of the problem is outside the hero’s control, and partially                          , thus
        meaning that the hero struggles within himself; therefore, heroes are responsible for the
        catastrophe of their falls.
       contains a plot that follows these steps:











    Renaissance Dance
    The Renaissance Period saw the beginning of                                                       , which
    were fancy occasions for the upper class to show off in front of the nobility.

    Two such dances were the pavane and the galliard. The pavane was a sad, slow dance, something you
    might expect to see at a funeral. The galliard, on the other hand, was a lively dance, looking
    something like a combination of a skip and an Irish jig. Both dances involved foot work only; the arms
    during the Renaissance were usually so encumbered with fancy lace, heavy material, and other articles
    of clothing that dances left their arms dangling at their sides. Legs were relatively free of confining
    wear, since both men and women wore stockings.

                                         Romantic Era Overview

Characteristics of Romantic Era
   Against                                  and
   Revolt against
   Left wing statements against established government

    Intensity of vision
    Individuality of artist, born talent
    Idealized nature, not idealized forms
    Historic paintings of                                                        , tragic victim

    A reaction to the
    A tendency to portray life as                                                ;

             Life may distort the real world in order to                         from it.
             (Romanticism stands opposed to                                     )
             A defiance of the established artistic rules
                     Romanticism is the opposite of
                     Faith in the                                                         .
                     Reason came in second to                         and                           .
                     Playwrights abandoned the old rules and started using stylized methods

    Faith in the
              Humanitarianism and interest in the common person became important

    Intense interest in the past, especially                             and
    Growing interest in                                         as a positive force in man's existence
              Nature was conceived of as                        in opposition to society which was
    Belief in                                                            .
              Anyone, even a rebel or outlaw, standing outside the evil influence of society, was good if he
              or she lived by                                            , not                       .
              It viewed man in isolation and a creature of emotion instead of man as part of a social order
              and a creature of reason.

    Music in Romanticism style contains strong

         Beethoven's later music is considered a transition to the Romantic. He produced beautiful
    melodies for                     and powerful symphonies with strong themes, but it must be noted that
    he was mainly known as a Classical composer.
                                                       wrote sweet, light                          . His
    ballets are recognized around the world. Tchiakovsky’s most famous ballet is The Nutcracker, a
    Christmas favorite. Tchaikovsky also composed The 1812 Overture, in which a cannon is used to
    simulate battle.

        Wagner composed stirring                         (in German, of course) based on Germanic
    themes. The Bugs Bunny cartoon, What’s Opera, Doc? with the song, Killed the Rabbit, by Elmer
    Fudd, is a parody of Wagner’s operas.

                                                                                  grew out of Romanticism.
Several differences between melodrama and Romantic drama, including Melodrama had
acts, romantic had            acts and Romantic dramas                         happy endings
and were more poetic.

     Melodramas have 3 acts and can be defined as

Usually, the                      was more memorable than the                           . (Example: the
villain who ties a lady to railroad tracks.) and they had highly developed cliffhanger.

Romantic Literature
   The literature of the Romantic period was just as melodramatic as the
            .                                             wrote the classic Wuthering Heights in the
   middle of the 1800s. The story is set in the bleak moors of remote England, with the characteristic
   windy storms, hopeless love, haunted houses, and mystery so frequent in literature from this

     Two other great writers of the Romantic period were                                    and
                                                 , both of whom showed the Romantic idea that

                                 ; in other words, when you feel happy, the world around you will be
     physically brighter, the birds will sing louder, and the clouds will all be rose-colored, but if you
     are depressed, the weather will be stormy, the sun will hide behind storm clouds, and birds will
     burrow in their nests.

                                        Questions After Reading:

1.   In your opinion, what one word would be best in describing the Romantic Era? Why?

2.   In looking at the aspects of melodrama, can you think of a modern day theater form or television
     show that follows the melodramatic principles?
3.   Do you agree with the Romantic notion that we should view the world as it is not, rather than as it
     is? Why or why not? Is this a realistic notion?

4.   Do you agree with the assertion that people influence their own emotions and the day around
     them, as Wordsworth and Dickinson believed? Why or why not?
                                        Romantic Era Theater

Romantic Era Plays
 Romantic Plays, old and new, tended to appeal to                                   rather than
                                                 focused on the supernatural and the mysterious –
   visual over                         ,                                   rather than intellectual..
 Aristocrats tended to go to the opera and ballet, and more                                   now
   went to the theatre.
                             – Doctor makes a deal with the Devil in order to live a few more years.

   Romantic Theater Practice
   Audience size increased even more.
   As

    (remember, the sound was so important before, and detailed, realistic sets were not the norm), the
    orchestra seats (which had up till then been the cheap seats) became more valuable.
   The upper galleries – the "                   " – were the cheapest.
   Audiences, especially those in the gods, were                    and            .
   Scenery included drops, flats, ground rows (

                                        and                         painted.
   Natural settings.
   Candles or oil lamps and gaslight used to better illuminate and capture attention of audience
   Gaslight increased illumination, had better control of intensity, but still had wavering flames.
   Many special effects:


   Assumptions:


   Significance
   While Romanticism was not at all realistic in its acting, drama, or direction, in
             ,                                   , and                                  it attempted to
    be as realistic as possible.
   Romanticism inadvertently paved the way for easier acceptance of Realism.
     Primary form of theatre during the 19th century
     Still popular today.
     Focused on

Characteristics of Melodrama
    Comes from "music drama" –

       Signature Music– Superman theme
       A simplified moral universe;

       Episodic form: the villain poses a threat, the hero or heroine escapes, etc.—with a

       Almost never five acts – usually 2-5
       Five acts reserved for "serious" drama.
       Many special effects: fires, explosions, drownings, earthquakes

Melodramatic Forms
    Equestrian dramas: horses, often on treadmills –
          o forerunners of the modern Western.
          o True Grit
    Canine melodramas
          o Lassie
          o Benji
    Nautical melodramas
          o interest in the sea
          o The Poseidon Adventure
    Disaster melodramas
          o Armageddon
          o Dante’s Peak
                                      Melodrama for Your Momma

   DIRECTIONS: Research each of the following movies, television shows or plays and tell what
   form of melodrama they might be. Write an “E” for westerns/ equestrians; write a “C” for dog
   movies; write an “N” for sea stories; write a “D” for disaster stories.

       1.    Black Beauty c
       2.    Chism E
       3.    Das Boot e
       4.    Day After Tomorrow d
       5.    Deep Impact d
       6.    El Dorado e
       7.    Gunsmoke e
       8.    Heroes e
       9.    Homeward Bound c
       10.   Hurricane! n
       11.   Lonesome Dove e
       12.   McKlintock! d
       13.   Milo and Otis c
       14.   Moby Dick n
       15.   My Friend Flicka c
       16.   Rin Tin Tin d
       17.   The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly e
       18.   Titanic n
       19.   Twisterd
       20.   Unforgiven d

DIRECTIONS: Decide whether the following movies, serials, and television shows might be
melodramas. Write an “M” next to those that are melodramas and an “NM” next to those that are
not. Research those you are not familiar with.

       21.   When Harry Met Sally nm                        46.   Mission Impossible m
       22.   Gone With the Wind m                           47.   The Rock m
       23.   Casablanca m                                   48.   The Mummy m
       24.   Superman m                                     49.   Streetcar Named Desire nm
       25.   Guiding Light nm                               50.   The Birds m
       26.   Kill Bill nm
       27.   16 Candles m
       28.   The Breakfast Club nm
       29.   Back to the Future m
       30.   Batman Returns m
       31.   The Perfect Storm m
       32.   Silent Hill m
       33.   Nightmare on Elm Street m
       34.   Dazed and Confused nm
       35.   Blazing Saddles m
       36.   Ferris Bueller’s Day Off m
       37.   The Graduate m
       38.   The Great Escape m
       39.   The Godfather m
       40.   Chinatown nm
       41.   Children of the Corn m
       42.   Varsity Blues m
       43.   Die Hard m
       44.   Goldfinger m
       45.   Never Say Never Again m

Henrik Ibsen—―                                                                       ‖

Examined the realities that lay behind many social facades, most often

Hedda Gabler
The Doll’s House

Ibsen’s most famous play

First truly feminist play

                                    leaves husband,                                                      , after he
accuses her of bringing shame to his family name.

Quote from play, A Doll’s House
NORA: "I was simply your little songbird, your doll, and from now on you would handle it more gently
than ever because it was so delicate and fragile… I realized that for eight years I'd been living with a
strange man and that I'd borne him three children. Oh, I can't bear to think of it - I could tear myself to little
pieces!" Act III

George Benard Shaw
Nobel Prize winner (1925)

Playwright of

Shaw’s work
Before WW I, light and clever
After WW I, dark and clever

Protagonists—                                                      and Dr.

"I have to live for others and not for myself: that's middle class morality."
"I sold flowers. I didn't sell myself. Now you've made a lady of me I'm not fit to sell anything else."
" . . . the difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she's treated."
                                      Modern/ Contemporary Theater
Modern Theater

Modern Drama genres:

Experimentation key word to all Modern Arts

Two American cities central to Drama:

Two key 20th century playwrights:


           Poetry recitation
           Dramatic scenes/ Monologues
           Trained animals

Developed from saloons, bars, concert halls, freak shows, and other public entertainments
Performers would re-create                             act day after day, year after year
Allowed for security of professional actors, but little real money
Perfecting the craft
Popularity waned, so acts went with ―big money‖ of Hollywood
Made good money for a short time, but left with little to nothing
No royalties

Vaudeville stars who “made it big”

English   Vaudeville ―star‖
The   Little Dictator

―All things considered, I’d rather be in Philadelphia.‖
―Never work with dogs or children.‖
Buster Keaton

the Marx Brothers
                                  ,                                       , and
Duck Soup
―Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.‖
I shot an elephant in my pajamas. What he was doing in my pajamas I’ll never know.‖

Jack Benny
Cheapskate stereotype
Most popular radio/ television show of early media

The Three Stooges
                          ,                          , and
Nyuck, nyuck, nyuck

 Abbott and Costello
                                                     routine

Bob Hope
Variety shows
Road movies (with Bing Crosby)
Thanks for the Memories

 Judy Garland
Wizard of Oz
Meet me in St. Louis, Louis

After invention of radio and popularity of Broadway, Vaudeville became a kind of minor league for
Broadway/ Hollywood
Many stars moved either to larger venues/ movies/ radio, retired, or went to the ―Borscht Belt‖

Effects of Vaudeville
         Stuck on You (Greg Kinnear, Matt Damon)
         There’s Something About Mary (Ben Stiller, Cameron Diaz)
         Saturday Night Live
         Late Night with Conan O’Brien
Liar, Liar (Jim Carrey)
Who’s Line Is it Anyway?


Most Broadway shows are commercial productions intended to make a profit for the producers and
investors (                         ), and therefore meant to have open-ended runs, meaning
                                                                                                , word
of mouth, and the effectiveness of the show's advertising, all of which determine

Two genres of plays:
―                                  ‖

Serious Drama
Tennessee Williams
         The Glass Menagerie
         Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Arthur Miller

Tennessee Williams
Williams won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for ―A Streetcar Named Desire” and for “Cat on a hot tin

Streetcar Named Desire
Leading characters/actors                                  (JessicaTandy),
                          (Marlon Brando)
Marlon Brando is one of the most important and famous actors of Modern Theater.
Career lasted almost 50 years
Famous for works like A Streetcar Named Desire, The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, and On The

Streetcar Named Desire
The Plot follows with Blanche DuBois, who has deep family money, arriving at her sister’s house.
                         , Blanche’s sister, is married to                             and is carrying
his child.
Stanley who is physically and emotionally abusive towards Stella turns toward Blanche.
In the end Blanche has a nervous breakdown from Stanley raping her.

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