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The Renaissance and Elizabethan Theatre


... for writing The Prince Renaissance Renaissance began in Italy (rebirth) Theater moved indoors; better methods for lighting stage, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Renaissance and Elizabethan Theatre

The Renaissance and Elizabethan Theatre
The Early Renaissance
  • The arts became an essential part of learning and
    literary culture.
  • For the first time, it seemed possible not merely
    to imitate the works of the classical world, but
    to surpass them.

Theatre The Early Renaissance
  • The early Renaissance was almost exclusively a
    time of visual art and architecture.
  • Niccolo Machiavelli used the newly developed
    science of visual perspective to achieve amazing
    scenic accomplishments.
  • Machiavelli
  • Known for writing The Prince

  • Renaissance began in Italy (rebirth)
  • Theater moved indoors better methods for
    lighting stage, 3-D scenery
  • Commedia dellarte wandering troupes of
    actors/actresses who improvised lines as they
    traveled the countryside

  • Troupes used the same characters called stock
    characters in each play
  • Harlequin- a clever servant known for his costume
    which looked like a patchwork quilt
  • Pantalone- foolish old man who wore baggy trousers

Commedia Dellarte
  • This theatrical form developed in Italy and
    featured the actor rather than the script.
  • Commedia dellarte could be identified by four
    specific aspects
  • Improvisation plots and sub-plots dialogue was
    completely improvised.
  • Stock Characters young lovers, old fathers,
    braggart soldiers, and comic servants.
  • Use of Mime and Pantomime all characters except
    the lovers and the maid wore masks attitudes
    were communicated through gestures.
  • Traveled in Companies each member played the
    same role over and over.

Commedia Dellarte
  • A few works were serious, and some pastoral, but
    most were comic.
  • The acting appears to have been natural though
    the actors needed good entrance and exit lines as
    well as repartee.
  • Actors required great skill, physical dexterity,
    and timing, since much of humor was visual.
  • Actors in commedia also had to dance, sing, and
    do acrobatics.
  • Commedia dellarte introduced women into the
    theatre as equals.

Drama The High Renaissance
  • Italian playwrights chose mostly to write tender,
    sentimental, pastoral comedies, in a graceful,
    witty, and polished style.
  • Dramas were produced with elaborate set
    decoration and usually at court for the nobility.
  • No permanent theatre buildings existed at this
    time the surviving Roman theatre buildings were

  • Renaissance gradually spread to other countries
  • Came to England during the Elizabethan Age (reign
    of Queen Elizabeth I)
  • Fame was overshadowed by greatest English
    playwright of all time, William Shakespeare

Elizabethan Theatre 1558-1603
  • Against common aristocrats view Elizabeth I
    loved theatre
  • Outside London
  • 1st public playhouse
  • The Theatre (1576)
  • The Fortune
  • The Globe
  • Theatres were like wooden Os round or

3 Big Playwrights
  • Christopher Marlow (1564-1593)
  • Dr. Faustus
  • Protagonists sells his soul to the devil

  • Ben Johnson (1573-1637)
  • Followed Aristotelian Unities
  • Humorous satire
  • Valpone

  • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
  • Considered the greatest English dramatist
  • Wrote histories, comedies, tragedies, poems

  • Greatness of Shakespeare
  • Skill with plot balance
  • Universality
  • Use of language
  • Memorable characters

  • Political unrest after Charles I
  • Civil War
  • Puritan Oliver Cromwell gained control
  • Theatres Dens if inequity closed in 1642
  • Theatre dies in England until 1660