16th and 17th Century Theater Performance Conditions Essay

16th and 17th Century Theater Performance Conditions Essay

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16th and 17th Century Theater Performance Conditions

„h The form of Elizabethan theatre derived from the innyards and animal baiting rings in which actors had been accustomed to perform in in the past. They were circular wooden buildings with a paved courtyard in the middle. Such a theatre would hold around 3,000 spectators. The yards were about 80 feet in diameter and the rectangular stage 40ft by 30ft in height

„h Groundling only paid a penny to get in, but for wealthier spectators there were seats in the three covered tiers or galleries between the inner and outer walls of the buildings extending round most of the auditorium and stage. It depended on your status as to where you viewed it from

„h The stage was partially covered by a roof or canopy, which projected from the wall of the theatre and was supported by two posts at the front. This protected the stage and performers from the changeable weather. It also used to secure winches and other stage machinery used for stage effects. On either side at the back was the stage door that lead to dressing rooms or tiring house and the actors entered and exited through here.

„h In 1608 the king¡¦s men acquired a second playhouse, indoors in Blackfriars. It held 700 people with seats for all, facilities for elaborate stage effects and artificial lighting. The price of admission was higher that at public playhouses thus leading to a more selective audience.

„h There was little room for scenery and props and nowhere to store them. Performances had to be transferable from the playhouse to court to private noble houses. Due to lack of scenery and props actors had to explain where they were.

„h Setting was used to suggest dramatic mood or situation. Staging was consistent...


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...structured in a way that did not completely eliminate the spoken word. In The Fairy Queen, spoken text comprised 40% of the performance time. It served as the structural framework of the play with each of the five acts ending in spectacular ballet performances for which Purcell wrote music. The text that did appear in The Fairy Queen was only half of Shakespeare¡¦s original text. It was "Englishized" by cutting any mention of Athens or Greece and altered to fit the language of the Restoration, when some of the syntax and diction already seemed archaic. The Fairy Queen was popular enough to be briefly revived in 1693, but soon after the music was lost and the Purcell opera disappeared from view for some time. Since its rediscovery in 1900, The Fairy Queen has enjoyed a few concert performances, but has rarely been fully staged.

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