Roman theatre structure The Romans copied the Greek style of building, but tended not to be so concerned about the location, being prepared to build walls and terraces instead of looking for a naturally occurring site. The auditorium literally "place for hearing" in Latin was the area in which people gathered, and was sometimes constructed on a small hill or slope in which stacked seating could be easily made in the tradition of the Greek Theatres. The central part of the auditorium was hollowed out of a hill or slope, while the outer radian seats required structural support and solid retaining walls.
Sometimes, performance styles are associated with periods in history and hence, theatre history and Elizabethan theatre or Elizabethan drama is one of these examples. Historically, Elizabethan theatre refers to plays performed in England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I These and other playwrights also wrote and performed their plays in England during the reign of Elizabeth I.
Many of the conventions used in public performances of Elizabethan plays were so recognisable, today Elizabethan theatre is not only referred to as a specific period in theatre history, but also as a theatre style.
Here are some of the more identifiable acting and staging conventions common to Elizabethan theatre: This popular Elizabethan convention is a literary or dramatic technique in which a single character talks aloud inner thoughts to him or herself, but not within earshot of another character.
Typically, a soliloquy is lengthy with a dramatic tone. The audience now feels empowered, knowing more about the events on stage than most of the characters do. Shakespeare and his contemporaries therefore had no choice but to cast young boys in the roles of women, while the men played all the male roles on stage.
Spoken in verse, a masque involved beautiful costumes and an intellectual element appropriate for the mostly educated upper class. Masques were allegorical stories about an event or person involving singing, acting and dancing.
Characters wore elaborate masks to hide their faces. Eavesdropping Eavesdropping was a dramatic technique that sat neatly between a soliloquy and an aside. Certain characters would strategically overhear others on stage, informing both themselves and the audience of the details, while the characters being overheard had no idea what was happening.
This convention opened up opportunities for the playwright in the evolving plot. Presentational Acting Style It is generally agreed by scholars Elizabethan acting was largely presentational in style. Movements and gestures were more stylised and dramatic than one might ordinarily expect in a modern naturalistic or realistic drama, speech patterns were heightened for dramatic effect, and the use of conventions such as the aside, prologue, epilogue and word puns directly connected characters to the audience watching.
Dialogue Elizabethan plays commonly consisted of dialogue that was poetic, dramatic and heightened beyond that of the vernacular of the day. Shakespeare took great care in composing dialogue that was sometimes blank unrhymedbut at other times rhyming couplets and often using five stressed syllables in a line of dialogue iambic pentameter.
Play Within A Play This Elizabethan convention was a playwriting technique used by Shakespeare and others that involved the staging of a play inside the play itself. It was not a flimsy convention, but rather one that was used judiciously and with purpose. One of the most famous examples of this convention occurs in Hamlet, when the title character is convinced his uncle Claudius murdered his father for the throne.
So Hamlet organises an out-of-town troupe of performers to attend one evening and perform a play before King Claudius that involves the same plot line as the events in the larger play murder of a Kingbut in a different setting … all to let Claudius know Hamlet is on to him!
Stagecraft In terms of stagecraft, Elizabethan dramas used elaborate costumes, yet quite the opposite for scenery. There were no stage lights of any kind, with plays strictly performed during daylight hours. A simple balcony at the rear of the stage could be used for scenes involving fantastical beings, Gods or Heaven, while a trap door in the stage floor could also be used to drop characters into Hell or raise characters up from beneath.
Entrances and exits were at two doors at the rear tiring house and not the side wings, as is the case in modern theatre.
An Elizabethan actor exiting side stage may well have landed in the groundings after falling off the edge of the three-sided thrust stage that jutted out into the audience! Modern Variations So how does a contemporary student of theatre interpret 16th century Elizabethan theatre conventions?
Without changing a single line of dialogue, a group of students performing Act I, Scene I of King Lear modernised it into 70s anti-authoritarian punk. Lear wore leather pants, large leather boots and an armless t-shirt emblazoned with a huge Union Jack.
The slutty, bitchiness of the older sisters Goneril and Regan were expressed through colored hairstyles, heavy make-up, tartan skirts, stockings and high leather boots. Shakespeare is rarely performed today in Elizabethan costumes.
Directors find an angle from which to address the play, often modernising the setting, usually finding a recent parallel that fits so snugly, dialogue remains exactly as Shakespeare wrote it.
Experimenting how to perform a soliloquy without allowing your audience to fall asleep is a challenge, too. Contemporary costumes worn by students can be symbolic, home-made, found in op-shops, non-naturalistic etc.Elizabethan England.
English History Links | Home. The age of Shakespeare was a great time in English history. The reign of Queen Elizabeth I () saw England emerge as the leading naval and commercial power of the Western world. Elizabethan Theater Drama changed literature and theater into what it is today. I. History of Elizabethan Theater a.
forming of theater 1. medieval church 2. mystery and morality b. actors 1. rogues and thieves 2. acting guilds II. Globe Links Cambridge History of English and American Literature—William Shakespeare From the ashio-midori.com website.
This is the entry on the Globe Theatre; it also provides information on other theatres of the . Start studying Theatre History: Elizabethan Theatre. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools.
Elizabethan theatre and the name of William Shakespeare are inextricably bound together, yet there were others writing plays at the same time as the bard of Avon. One of the most successful was Christopher Marlowe, who many contemporaries considered Shakespeare's superior.
Marlowe's career, however. This article was originally published in A Short History of the Theatre. Martha Fletcher Bellinger. New York: Henry Holt and Company, pp. THE theatre as a public amusement was an innovation in the social life of the Elizabethans, and it immediately took the general fancy.
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