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A national theatre(1)

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1. Friday, January 17th 2. The Schlosstheater at Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna 3. An audience at the Schoenbrunn Schlosstheater 4. An outdoor “ruin theatre” in Bayreuth,…
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  • 1. Friday, January 17th
  • 2. The Schlosstheater at Schoenbrunn Palace, Vienna
  • 3. An audience at the Schoenbrunn Schlosstheater
  • 4. An outdoor “ruin theatre” in Bayreuth, built in the 1740s
  • 5. Drawing of the Dresden Opera house, 1719
  • 6. • Clear and expressive speech was emphasized; exaggerated declamation and playing of “the Passions,” which dominated Baroque acting, gave way to an emphasis on gentility and sensitivity. This style was at times called “naturalistic,” but was still far more stylized than what a contemporary actor would call “naturalism.” • In court theatres, movement was meant to be characterized by delicacy and balletic agility. In popular settings and among travelling players, language barriers and acoustic issues required the use of large, coarse gestures.
  • 7. • Caroline Neuber (1697-1760) • Devoted herself to improving the social status of actors, demanding that members of her company show good manners and taste in their social lives. • Promoted literary drama by German writers and refused to share a bill with Commedia troupes or other “vulgar” comic performers. • Wanted to train performers in a clear “neutral” version of German speech that did not use fashionable French, English, and Italian expressions or confusing regional dialects. • When her company first arrived in a city, they would stage a public banishing of Hanswurst/Harlequin.
  • 8. January 13th, 1782 in Mannheim The head of the theatre, Baron von Dalberg, required extensive revisions to make the play less vulgar and politically provocative. The production was immensely expensive for its time, with several large sets, an uncommonly large number of scene changes, and special entr‟acte music (now lost) by Franz Danzi. Runtime: 4 hours. One of the most notable stage effects was a moon that actually moved across the sky during Act IV, Scene 5. August Iffland, the original Franz, in costume
  • 9. 1) Theatre cultivates the “Aesthetic Sense,” which allows us to reconcile our bestial, sensual side with our contemplative side. 2) “As surely as visual representation is more compelling than the mute word or cold exposition, it is equally certain that the theater wields a more profound, more lasting influence than either morality or laws.” 3) “The stage is, more than any other public institution, a school of practical wisdom.” 4) “The theater is the common channel through which the light of wisdom spreads down from the thoughtful, better part of society, spreading thence in mild beams throughout the entire state.” 5) “Here, legislative power might speak to the subject in unfamiliar symbols, could respond to his complaints without seeming to do so. Even industry and inventiveness could and would be imbued with fiery emotion on the stage‟s forum, if our poets ever deemed it worth their while to be patriots, and the state would ever condescend to listen to them.”
  • 10. • • • Goethe and Schiller rejected many of the ideas of Sturm und Drang after hearing about the French Reign of Terror (1792), turning back to the Greeks for inspiration. Goethe became one of the first theatre artists to resemble a modern director, instructing and critiquing the actors from his seat offstage and treating them as an ensemble instead of letting star actors dominate the staging. Goethe was one of the first directors to insist on doing read-throughs of plays before rehearsals began.
  • 11. “22. […] When I first completely understand the sense of a word and inwardly feel it completely, then I must seek to fit it with a suitable vocal tone and deliver it strongly or weakly, quickly or slowly, as the sense of each sentence requires. For example: „The crowd murmured‟ must be spoken half aloud, murmuring „The names rang out‟ must be spoken clearly, ringingly. „Dark forgetfulness,‟[…] must be spoken in deep, hollow, fearful tones.‟
  • 12. “35. First the actor must consider that he should not only imitate nature but present it in an idealized form, and thus unite the true with the beautiful in his presentation.” “43. A beautiful contemplative pose (for a young man, for example) is this: the chest and entire body held erect, standing in the fourth dance position, the head turned somewhat to the side, the eyes fixed on the ground, and both arms hanging loosely.” “74. The actor should never allow his handkerchief to be seen on the stage, still less should he blow his nose, still less spit. It is terrible to be reminded of these physical necessities within a work of art.”
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    Oct 25, 2017
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