Theatre Essay

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Shakespeare in Production January 17, 2014 *What are the goals/concerns of those who have produced Shakespeare in different eras? *How have the choices they made in production served these goals? Why talk about Shakespeare? B/c these plays continue to be produced. We use his plays as a control. 17th and 18th Centuries: Theatre as a Moral Force *Nahum Tate’s adaption of King Lear, 1681 -Performed regularly until at least 1838 18th and 19th Centuries: Theatre as Emotion and Spectacle *Ellen Terry as Lady Macbeth -Photo: 1888 unknown photographer -Painting 1889, John Singer Sargent (Beetle wings on dress) *The use of live animals at this time period. *The actor attracts more people rather than the piece. *Emphasis on emotion through the use of theatre *These plays get cut down—the plot gets cut down for action *The actor manager takes care of financials and acts as a director Early-mid 20th Century: Theatre as a Psychological Window *People more concerned with why people do things *Investigating the character’s minds *Much more subtle and subdued/realistic *Where the director starts coming into the light as a position *Where method-acting begins *Going into the actor’s heads—voiceovers and music to highlight thoughts Late 20th and 21st Centuries: Theatre and the Search for Something New *Show people what they already know but do something new with it *Making different variations of a play -Example: Much Ado About Nothing Production Option: New Setting *Richard III: Ian McKellen plays in 1930’s instead as a fascist takeover rather than fighting for the crown Production Option: New Approach to the Text *Romeo and Juliet, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2007 Production Option: Non-traditional Casting *Patrick Stewart as Othello, Patrice Johnson as Desdemona, 1997 *Helen Mirren as Prospera in The Tempest, 2010

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