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The Renaissance Theater


The Renaissance Theater – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Renaissance Theater

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
Forerunners of Renaissance Drama
Miracle and Mystery Plays
  • probably evolved from church ceremonies, such as
    the dialogue songs performed at Easter Eve
  • taught saints legends and Bible stories

Forerunners of Renaissance Drama
Morality Plays
  • started in the 1300s and 1400s, when drama moved
    out of the churches and into the marketplaces of
  • dramatized the history of the human race as set
    forth in the Bible
  • gradually became less religious and began to
    incorporate comedy

Forerunners of Renaissance Drama
  • 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
The First Theaters
  • In 1576, James Burbage built the first public
    theater in Englandthe Theaterin a northern
    suburb of London.
  • Later came the Curtain, the Rose, the Swan, the
    Fortune, the Globe, the Red Bull, and the Hope.

End of Section
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.
Structure of the Globe
The Globe was a wooden, three-story
buildingprobably sixteen-sidedwith a spacious
yard in the center.
It had three main parts
  • the building proper
  • the stage
  • the tiring house (backstage area)

Structure of the Globe
Wheres 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.
Structure of the Globe
The stage jutted halfway out into the yard.
Notice how close the actors are to some of the
audience members. Groundlings would pay a penny
to stand on the ground area.
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

End of Section
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.
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
A Performance at the Globe
Setting the Scene
Lets say a forest setting was called for
  • There would be no painted scenery imitating real
  • 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
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.

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.

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

Music Most Eloquent
Most of the original music for Shakespeares
songs has been lost, but the songs have been set
to music right up to the present.
End of Section
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

End of Section
The End
Structure of the Globe
Structure of the Globe
The back wall contained a gallery above and a
curtained space below.
Varying the Venue
The Blackfriars
  • In 1608, Shakespeares 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 shareholdersincluding