Essay PreviewMore ↓
Shortly after the glory days of Elizabethan and Jacobean theatre, a Puritanical movement led by Oliver Cromwell gained control of Parliament. Cromwell ethics did not extend to cover the moral extravagance of theatre. Under the guise of public health and safety, Parliament ordered the closing of all theatres on September 2, 1642. Such dirty public areas were the perfect breeding ground for the spreading of plague. Actors were left with two options, join Charles I in the civil war against Cromwell, or defy the law and continue performing. Then, in 1649, Charles lost his head, establishing the new Commonwealth. In 1653, Cromwell disbanded Parliament and named himself Lord High Protector. During these days of political chaos, a new underground theater evolved.
This new theatre was an extremely risky venture. Any actor caught performing would be imprisoned. Box office receipts would be confiscated for the Commonwealth. Enormous fines would be levied against any daring to sit in an audience. Entire playhouses would be destroyed, their interiors gutted or exteriors burned. Theatre faced extinction. It became an obsequious art, catering to Cromwell's strict moral code. Killigrew would survive, and eventually form the Theatre Royal, but he lived in constant fear. Davenant worked through legal channels to produce theatre Cromwell could not dispute. His pieces were simple, more opera then play, and propaganda for the Commonwealth. Interestingly, the first woman to appear on the British stage did so in this time, in Davenant's The Siege of Rhodes. He began pushing the envelope, uncomfortable in his new sycophantic role. He renewed his ties to the British aristocracy, exiled to France. He befriended Charles II, and when the young king made his triumphant return to power, Davenant was given the monopoly on all theatre in London. He shared this power with his old friend Thomas Killigrew. Under their guidance, the theatre exploded back into being.
Those who had remained in England during the Commonwealth had faced years of strict moral repression. Those who fled to France had acquired some of the decadence bred across the channel. In combination, these two forces created a nation of wealthy, witty, amoral hedonists. Their theatre reflected their lifestyles. Thus was born the Restoration Tragedy and the Comedy of Manners.
The tragedies were broad, sweeping tales of great heroism. The aristocracy liked to picture themselves in these far off lands, being oh so noble and eloquent.
How to Cite this Page
"The Impact of Restoration Comedy on Theatre." 123HelpMe.com. 28 Feb 2020
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- The Restoration of 1660 not only brought the English monarchy back to the throne, but brought plays back to the nation’s previously shuttered theaters. In fact, though, this “restoration” promised to be more of a revolution. Bold new practices were put in motion. Rather than proceeding cautiously, to avoid upsetting Parliament or religious groups, playwrights embraced controversial, even scandalous topics, rewriting practices, challenging social taboos and even pushing past boundaries set down by the Elizabethans.... [tags: Restoration of 1660, English Monarchy]
1637 words (4.7 pages)
- Throughout history, theatre has been critical to the artistic realm. Stories told centuries ago with lessons of nobility, morality, courage, and patriotism seem to despise the passage of time, and are still being recreated. However, not everyone has been partial to this conventional form of theatre. Antonin Artaud, in particular, loathed the theatre, and wanted to reform the way society experienced it. In this paper, I will examine Artaud’s role as a major contributor to modern theatre in his attempt to rid performance of its fake realism, as well as the bourgeoisie neoclassical ideals.... [tags: Theatre]
912 words (2.6 pages)
- ... The two bathrooms are near the back exit. The two employee rooms are near the second exit. That day only half of seat is filled. The National Comedy Theatre does not provide a name for the show because it is a high octane comedy show which interacting with the audience most of the times. The show is produced by Gary Kramer. The show is about two hours long and they have ten minutes break after one hour and 30 minutes of the show. There are six performers, five of them are actors and one of them is played as a referee.... [tags: seat, show, speakers, stage]
552 words (1.6 pages)
- Humans have always had a negative impact on the environment. The dependency on the environment has caused us to exploit it as natural resources. These resources are put in to product essential and non-essential goods for the human population. Many of these resources such as timber and fish stocks, are limited by time and can result to resource depletion (Field, 2008). The United Natios Millennium Ecosystem Assessment states that approximately 60% of the world’s ecosystems are uses at an unsustainable rate (David Suzuki Foundation, 2008).... [tags: ecosystems services,natural resources,restoration]
1283 words (3.7 pages)
- “The dramas laws the dramas patrons give” illustrates the relationship between theatre and the people of the Restoration period (Elwin 5). As theatre of this era sheds light on the newly changing social normal and self-identification the reaction of the audience sheds insight back onto theatre itself. The concept of sex and sexuality is confronted and analyzed as women take the stage for the first time. The rapidly changing constructs of women are illustrated on stage and is widely received by rowdy and enthusiastic audiences.... [tags: Theater ]
1889 words (5.4 pages)
- The Restoration period is also known as the Age of Dryden, because Dryden was the dominating and most representative literary figure of the Age. During the restoration, King Charles II was restored to the throne, which marked the beginning of a new epoch in English literature. The Restoration of King Charles II brought about a revolutionary change in life and literature. During this period gravity, moral earnestness and decorum in all things, which distinguished the Puritan period, were forgotten; cheerfulness and gaiety were the new moods and morality was waning (Chavan).... [tags: restoration period, age of dryden]
956 words (2.7 pages)
- Divorcing the Sullen Squire The Beaux Stratagem is considered to be the best play written by George Farquhar. Jonne C. Thornton exclaimed, “The Beaux Stratagem is the epitome of Restoration comedy” (4). Unlike its contemporaries, Farquhar uses more theatrical devices, sub-plots, characters, and surprises in the play (Thornton 4). Farquhar has a unique sense of play structure causing a combination of carefree comedy with serious underlying social problems. A social problem that is the main theme in the play is the acceptance of divorce.... [tags: sullen's marriage, restoration period]
968 words (2.8 pages)
- Live theatre can be described as a live performance performed by actors and actresses on stage in front of a live audience. Live theatre mainly consists of a stage, effects, lights, and props. Live theatre is composed of scenes, which include comedy, tragedy, action, and romance. The costumes, effects, and props increase the entertainment level for the audience. This was my first time experiencing live theatre by taking this class. I would have to say it was very different and it was definitely entertaining for me.... [tags: Theatre, Drama, Play, Performance]
891 words (2.5 pages)
- Musical theatre is a widely diverse, entertaining, and fascinating field. Yet, it is misunderstood by so many. Young students with interests in theatre are constantly insulted. Those trying to succeed in theatre as a career are looked down on. The world of musical theatre is neglected, forgotten, and ridiculed in modern society. As a result of this behavior, musical theatre and art activities in general suffer extreme budget cuts and attention loss in schools. Administrators put their funds and focus on their losing high school football team rather than the drama club which includes a handful of students who could very well be successful on Broadway one day.... [tags: Musical theatre, Education, Music, Theatre, Play]
1055 words (3 pages)
- Theatre has heavily evolved over the past 100 years, particularly Musical Theatre- a subgenre of theatre in which the storyline is conveyed relying on songs and lyrics rather than dialogue. From its origination in Athens, musical theatre has spread across the world and is a popular form of entertainment today. This essay will discuss the evolution and change of musical theatre from 1980-2016, primarily focusing on Broadway (New York) and the West End (London). It will consider in depth, the time periods of: The 1980s: “Brit Hits”- the influence of European mega musicals, the 1990s: “The downfall of musicals”- what failed and what redeemed, and the 2000s/2010s: “The Resurgence of musicals”-... [tags: Musical theatre, Theatre, Hair, Broadway]
1096 words (3.1 pages)
It is in the Restoration Comedy, however, that the audience got a true picture of themselves. This world of class and manners is peopled by stock characters. The rake, the fop, the country gentleman, bitter ex-mistresses, randy young men, and witty young women are all present in most Restoration comedies. They exist in a world of debauchery covered with a veneer of decorum. The language is sharp and witty, the story lines multiple and convoluted, combining to hilariously cynical effect. Later to be condemned for its flagrant lack of morals, restoration comedy remains a popular form of entertainment.
The audience of the restoration was upper class. Theatre was expensive, and the nobles could pay the price. The plays were oriented toward this specific audience, so the absence of lower classes is not surprising. The theatre became a place to be seen, and these people loved nothing more then showing off their opulence. The plays had devolved into bawdy, noisy events, the audience usually creating more drama then the actors. All in all, though, it was a happy time, a time when the theatre prospered.
Congreve, whose Way of the World is our current project produced his play long after the peak of the Restoration. By 1700, things had begun to settle down. During the reign of William and Mary, patronage of the theatre fell off, the sparkle gone from its eye. The upper class Restoration theatre began to shift into the eighteenth century mode, dominated by the middle class. The Way of the World reflects this movement, its characters upper class, but not gaudily so. Congreve keeps the immorality close to the vest, with things implied but never acted upon. He was under attack by Jeremy Collier of the Anglican church. Collier's work, A Short View of the Immorality and the Profaneness of the English Stage, effectively brought about the culmination of Restoration Comedy. Congreve created what is considered one of the most brilliant comedies of the English language, but with it the Restoration effectively came to an end.
Theatre is a constantly evolving entity. It cannot be destroyed, as Cromwell wished, but it also cannot run wild for long. It is a force of society, both reflecting and creating the way of the world. The Commonwealth and Restoration will always stand as examples of the power this art form holds. Some fear it, some revel in it, but everyone feels its impact.