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The Renaissance Theater

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Presentation on theme: "The Renaissance Theater"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Renaissance Theater
Feature Menu Forerunners of Renaissance Drama The First Theaters The Globe Structure of the Globe A Performance at the Globe Music Most Eloquent Varying the Venue

2 Forerunners of Renaissance Drama
Miracle and Mystery Plays probably evolved from church ceremonies, such as the dialogue songs performed at Easter Eve services Mystery plays were based Bible stories from both the Old and New Testament Miracle plays told stories that weren’t in the Bible like the lives of saints.

3 Forerunners of Renaissance Drama
Morality Plays started in the 1300s and 1400s, when drama moved out of the churches and into the marketplaces of towns dramatized the history of the human race as set forth in the Bible Presented vices and virtues as human characters gradually became less religious and began to incorporate comedy Notes: Various workers’ guilds cooperated in staging the morality plays during this time. In one play the wife of Noah makes a great fuss about entering the ark and is carried aboard kicking and screaming. Comic scenes like this one provide an early example of English skill in mixing the comic with the serious in drama.

4 Forerunners of Renaissance Drama
Interludes One-act plays that started around the early 1500s Some very similar to morality plays, others rowdy and farcical With the introduction of interludes, playwrights stopped being anonymous. [End of Section]

5 The First Theaters In 1576, James Burbage built the first public theater in England—the Theater—in a northern suburb of London. Later came the Curtain, the Rose, the Swan, the Fortune, the Globe, the Red Bull, and the Hope. Notes: James Burbage was the father of Richard Burbage, Shakespeare’s partner and fellow actor. Even after theaters had been built, plays were still regularly performed in improvised spaces when acting companies toured the provinces or presented their plays in the large houses of royalty and nobility. [End of Section]

6 The Globe The Globe is the most famous of the public theaters because the company that Shakespeare belonged to owned it. Many of his plays were performed at the Globe first.

7 Structure of the Globe The Globe was a wooden, three-story building— probably sixteen-sided—with a spacious yard in the center. It had three main parts: the building proper the stage the tiring house (backstage area) Notes: The Globe was built out of timbers salvaged from the Theater, which was demolished in 1599. The building had so many sides that it appeared circular. In his play Henry V, Shakespeare referred to the Globe as “this wooden O.”

8 Structure of the Globe Where’s the Audience?
The main part of the building housed three levels of gallery seating. For a lower cost of admission, spectators could stand in the yard and be “groundlings.”

9 Structure of the Globe The stage jutted halfway out into the yard.
Notice how close the actors are to some of the audience members.

10 Structure of the Globe The Tiring House
The tiring house was a backstage area that housed machinery and dressing rooms provided a two-story back wall for the stage Notes: The word tiring comes from tire, an archaic form of “attire.” The flag flying from the peak of the tiring house indicated there was a performance that day. [End of Section]

11 A Performance at the Globe
The actors were highly trained: They could sing, dance, wrestle, fence, roar, and weep. Scenery was kept to a minimum, but costumes and props could be elaborate.

12 A Performance at the Globe
Setting the Scene Often, instead of seeing a lot of scenery, the audience would hear the scene described. Try to picture the scene this character is describing: —Hamlet, Act I, Scene 1, lines 166–167 But look, the morn in russet mantle clad Walks o’er the dew of yon high eastward hill.

13 A Performance at the Globe
Setting the Scene Let’s say a forest setting was called for: There would be no painted scenery imitating real trees. Instead, a few bushes might be pushed onto the stage, and the actors’ lines would take care of the rest. In As You Like It, Rosalind simply looks around and announces, “Well, this is the forest of Arden.”

14 A Performance at the Globe
Spectators put their imaginations to work and enjoyed all the sensational effects. The stage had a trapdoor, which everyone imagined led down to Hell. Spooky witches and devils would emerge and descend through the trapdoor.

15 A Performance at the Globe
The ceiling was painted with suns, moons, and stars and was considered the Heavens. The Heavens had a trapdoor, too. Angels, gods, and spirits could be lowered through the trapdoor on a wire and even flown over the other actors’ heads.

16 A Performance at the Globe
From the curtained area on the back wall . . . performers could be “discovered” and emerge onto the stage large props (thrones, beds, and so on) could be pushed onto the stage [End of Section]

17 Music Most Eloquent Renaissance theatergoers expected to hear music during the play. Trumpets announced the beginning of the play as well as important exits and entrances. Musicians sat in the gallery and played between acts.

18 Music Most Eloquent Shakespeare included a variety of songs in his plays—sad, happy, comic, thoughtful—and they were all fresh and spontaneous. A song could advance the dramatic action help establish the mood of a scene reveal character

19 Music Most Eloquent Most of the original music for Shakespeare’s songs has been lost, but the songs have been set to music right up to the present. [End of Section]

20 Varying the Venue Acting companies also performed in
the great halls of castles and manor houses indoor, fully covered theaters in London, such as the Blackfriars Notes: For performances in a great hall, a theater company must have had a portable stage. Because the usual entertainment in castles and manor houses was a bear being attacked by dogs, these great halls were often vile places. However, their temporary stages could accommodate any play, except those that had scenes requiring the use of Heavens overhanging the stage. [End of Section]


22 The End

23 Structure of the Globe

24 Structure of the Globe The back wall contained a gallery above and a curtained space below. The gallery could be used for seating, for musicians, or for acting out parts of the play that took place on a balcony or tower. In the lower curtained area, props could be hidden from the audience and “discovered” during the performance. Notes: In The Merchant of Venice, the back curtain is drawn to reveal three small chests, one of which hides the heroine’s picture.

25 Varying the Venue The Blackfriars
In 1608, Shakespeare’s company acquired a private theater called the Blackfriars. The Blackfriars was entirely roofed over and had artificial lighting. The company could put on plays all year long, increasing profits for shareholders—including Shakespeare.

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