Staging & Spectacle:
Theatricalism denotes the style of production during this period. In short, the style of the production, as chosen by the director, dictates the aesthetic rules by which the production team works. Currently, producing Shakespeare does not mean that it has to be done in Renaissance England. Indeed, artists have found that updating the location and time of a Shakespearean play makes it more believable, and in a sense, breathes new life into it. Moreover, advances in technology have also strongly influenced this period and its theatrical spectacle.
The use of plastics, steel, aluminum, advanced lighting control, and sound recording equipment drastically ...view middle of the document...
During the late 19th century an enfranchised citizenry of educated, thinking, voters and consumers were exercising their right to cognitive dissent. On the political level, this resulted in the Russian Revolution of 1917. Philosophically and scientifically, there was a growing acceptance of the validity of analytical and clinical psychology, which had began to expose the intricacies of the human mind.
Fredrich Nietzche, a German philosopher, postulated that the human mind contained both the apollonian and Dionysian modes of thought. The apollonian mode was controlled and complicated, while the Dionysian was ritualistic and primal. In response, Sigmund Freud explored the psyche and subconscious. He identified and substantiated his psychological form of the apollonian mode - called the Ego and the psychological Dionysian mode - called the Id. In addition, Freud also identified the ‘moderator’ of these two forces, which he termed the Superego. Carl Jung, another psychologist, was exploring the human mind during sleep. He documented his work in Dream States. To add to this already interesting mix of was the social experimentation with the occult through séances and documented in novels and poetry. These fascinations can easily be found in the literary mysteries of Edgar Allen Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
To the anti-realist there was more to the human being than could be measured with the five senses and, quite pointedly, beyond the realm of science. They believed that there existed some cosmic mystery beyond a person’s ability to control, like a huge primal iceberg it went unnoticed as it bobbed below the surface. As a result of this type of thought, the human being as portrayed in drama was a complex system that was not always restricted or definable by scientific theory.
Theatre’s initial reaction to this psychology and mysticism was a production of Paellas and Melisandra directed by Paul Fort at the Theatre Du Art in Paris. The first anti-realist piece, it contained little dialogue, used gauze fabric to separate the audience from the actor, and used no scenery. It received mild acclaim and generated little interest. In contrast, Richard Wagner was combining music, mythology, and heavy special effects to create German opera. The scope and grandeur of Wagnerian opera continues to amaze and amuse us even today. Combining their talents with Wagner’s theories, scenic designers were experimenting with anti-realistic scenery. Both Adolph Appia and Gordon Craig were known for their experimentation with imaginative and minimalistic scenery, which used both representational mass and strong mood lighting. Theatre’s reaction to the insensitivity and brutal meaninglessness of war became implanted in the both the message, and theme of the representative style, in which the pieces were written. To be more specific, they picked up identifying traits that collected or placed them in schools of...