Elizabethan Theater

Elizabethan Theater

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Elizabethan Theater

Elizabethan times in the 1600s was a progression for the world of the theater. A period named after Queen Elizabeth I of England, it is from this period that modern day society has its foundation for the entertainment industry. From the violence that was prevalent because of the Black Death, people turned to the theater for its poetry and romance. During this time period, there were two types of theatrical performances that were available for the people’s viewing, comedies or tragedies. These two genres were never really intertwined until the time of William Shakespeare. His play, Romeo and Juliet, is an example of both a comedy and a tragedy. It starts off as a comedy with Romeo weeping like a baby because of his love Rosaline, who did not love him back and ends as a tragedy when Romeo and Juliet, a pair of star crossed lovers, commit suicide because the lost of each other. It was also during Shakespeare’s time that writer were finally acknowledged by the people. Before this time, writers were not considered upper classman. Another group of people that began to rise into a higher social class were the actors. Actresses were not present back then because women were not allowed on stage. It was considered unladylike to have a female actor. Men played all the parts. Theater owners were dependent on actors to make them a profit. Rehearsals for the plays were fairly short, only lasting for about a week. The performances themselves would only show for three to four days. Actors were expected to memorize hundreds of lines at a time. While one play could be performing, actors would be practicing lines for their next show. Play writers also began to make roles for the actors in the theatrical pieces. The theaters that actors performed in were roofless so that the sun could be used as lighting. Theatrical shows were held in the afternoon because it provided the best amount of light for the show. When the people gathered into the theater, the different classes of people were separated by where they could afford to sit and watch the show. The lower classmen were situated on the bare earth where it was dirty and smelly because it was never cleaned. The owners’ of the theaters found it less expensive if they did not keep high maintenance of their establishments. Higher classmen sat under a roof and for a penny more, they could buy cushions for their seats.

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