Theatre or theater is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers actors or actresses, to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place a stage. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, song and dance. Elements of art, such as painted scenery and stagecraft such as lighting are used to enhance the physicality and immediacy of the experience; the specific place of the performance is named by the word "theatre" as derived from the Ancient Greek θέατρον, itself from θεάομαι. Modern Western theatre comes, in large measure, from the theatre of ancient Greece, from which it borrows technical terminology, classification into genres, many of its themes, stock characters, plot elements. Theatre artist Patrice Pavis defines theatricality, theatrical language, stage writing and the specificity of theatre as synonymous expressions that differentiate theatre from the other performing arts and the arts in general.
Modern theatre includes performances of musical theatre. The art forms of ballet and opera are theatre and use many conventions such as acting and staging, they were influential to the development of musical theatre. The city-state of Athens is, it was part of a broader culture of theatricality and performance in classical Greece that included festivals, religious rituals, law and gymnastics, poetry, weddings and symposia. Participation in the city-state's many festivals—and mandatory attendance at the City Dionysia as an audience member in particular—was an important part of citizenship. Civic participation involved the evaluation of the rhetoric of orators evidenced in performances in the law-court or political assembly, both of which were understood as analogous to the theatre and came to absorb its dramatic vocabulary; the Greeks developed the concepts of dramatic criticism and theatre architecture. Actors were either amateur or at best semi-professional; the theatre of ancient Greece consisted of three types of drama: tragedy and the satyr play.
The origins of theatre in ancient Greece, according to Aristotle, the first theoretician of theatre, are to be found in the festivals that honoured Dionysus. The performances were given in semi-circular auditoria cut into hillsides, capable of seating 10,000–20,000 people; the stage consisted of a dancing floor, dressing scene-building area. Since the words were the most important part, good acoustics and clear delivery were paramount; the actors wore masks appropriate to the characters they represented, each might play several parts. Athenian tragedy—the oldest surviving form of tragedy—is a type of dance-drama that formed an important part of the theatrical culture of the city-state. Having emerged sometime during the 6th century BCE, it flowered during the 5th century BCE, continued to be popular until the beginning of the Hellenistic period. No tragedies from the 6th century BCE and only 32 of the more than a thousand that were performed in during the 5th century BCE have survived. We have complete texts extant by Aeschylus and Euripides.
The origins of tragedy remain obscure, though by the 5th century BCE it was institutionalised in competitions held as part of festivities celebrating Dionysus. As contestants in the City Dionysia's competition playwrights were required to present a tetralogy of plays, which consisted of three tragedies and one satyr play; the performance of tragedies at the City Dionysia may have begun as early as 534 BCE. Most Athenian tragedies dramatise events from Greek mythology, though The Persians—which stages the Persian response to news of their military defeat at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE—is the notable exception in the surviving drama; when Aeschylus won first prize for it at the City Dionysia in 472 BCE, he had been writing tragedies for more than 25 years, yet its tragic treatment of recent history is the earliest example of drama to survive. More than 130 years the philosopher Aristotle analysed 5th-century Athenian tragedy in the oldest surviving work of dramatic theory—his Poetics. Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods, "Old Comedy", "Middle Comedy", "New Comedy".
Old Comedy survives today in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes, while Middle Comedy is lost. New Comedy is known from the substantial papyrus fragments of Menander. Aristotle defined comedy as a representation of laughable people that involves some kind of blunder or ugliness that does not cause pain or disaster. In addition to the categories of comedy and tragedy at the City Dionysia, the festival included the Satyr Play. Finding its origins in rural, agricultural rituals dedicated to Dionysus, the satyr play found its way to Athens in its most well-known form. Satyr's themselves were tied to the god Dionysus as his loyal woodland companions engaging in drunken revelry and mischief at his side; the satyr play itself was classified as tragicomedy, erring
Peter Stephen Paul Brook, CH, CBE is an English theatre and film director, based in France since the early 1970s. He has won multiple Tony and Emmy Awards, a Laurence Olivier Award, the Praemium Imperiale, the Prix Italia, he has been called "our greatest living theatre director". With the Royal Shakespeare Company, Brook directed the first English language production of Marat/Sade in 1964, it transferred to Broadway in 1965 and won the Tony Award for Best Play, Brook was named Best Director. Brook was born in the Turnham Green area of Chiswick, the second son of Simon Brook and his wife Ida, both Jewish immigrants from Latvia; the family home was at Turnham Green. His elder brother was psychotherapist Alexis Brook, his first cousin was chief director of the Moscow Satire Theatre. Brook was educated at Westminster School, Gresham's School, Magdalen College, Oxford. Brook directed Dr Faustus, his first production, in 1943 at the Torch Theatre in London, followed at the Chanticleer Theatre in 1945 with a revival of The Infernal Machine.
In 1947, he went to Stratford-upon-Avon as assistant director on Romeo and Juliet and Love's Labour's Lost. From 1947 to 1950, he was Director of Productions at the Royal Opera House in London, his work there included a controversial staging of Strauss's Salome with sets by Salvador Dalí, an effective re-staging of Puccini's La bohème using sets dating from 1899. A proliferation of stage and screen work as producer and director followed. Dark of the Moon by Howard Richardson, at the Ambassadors Theatre, was a much early admired production. In 1970, with Micheline Rozan, Brook founded the International Centre for Theatre Research, a multinational company of actors, dancers and others which travelled in the Middle East and Africa in the early 1970s, it has been based in Paris at the Bouffes du Nord theatre since 1974. He announced in 2008 that he would resign as artistic director of Bouffes du Nord, beginning that year a three-year handover to Olivier Mantei and Olivier Poubelle. Brook has been influenced by the work of his ideas for his Theatre of Cruelty.
In England, Peter Brook and Charles Marowitz undertook The Theatre of Cruelty Season at the Royal Shakespeare Company, aiming to explore ways in which Artaud's ideas could be used to find new forms of expression and retrain the performer. The result was a showing of'works in progress' made up of improvisations and sketches, one of, the premier of Artaud's The Spurt of Blood. – Lee Jamieson, Antonin Artaud: From Theory to Practice, Greenwich Exchange, 2007 His greatest influence, was Joan Littlewood. Brook described her as "the most galvanising director in mid-20th century Britain". Brook's work is inspired by the theories of experimental theatre of Jerzy Grotowski, Bertolt Brecht, Chris Covics and Vsevolod Meyerhold and by the works of G. I. Gurdjieff, Edward Gordon Craig, Matila Ghyka. Brook has collaborated with a range of directors and actors during his career, notable examples include actors Paul Scofield and Glenda Jackson. Brook first encountered Wakhévitch in London when he saw the production of Jean Cocteau's ballet Le Jeune Homme et la Mort which Wakhévitch designed.
Brook declared that he "was convinced that this was the designer for whom I had been waiting". A Midsummer Night's Dream with John Kane, Frances de la Tour, Ben Kingsley and Patrick Stewart 1970 Hamlet Prince of Denmark with Paul Scofield, Alec Clunes, Diana Wynyard, Mary Ure, Ernest Thesiger, Richard Johnson, Michael David, Richard Pasco 1955 The Tragedy of Hamlet with Adrian Lester, Jeffery Kissoon, Natasha Parry, Shantala Shivalingappa, Bruce Myers, Rohan Siva, Scott Handy Yoshi Oida 2000|The Tragedy of Hamlet 2002 King John, Paul Shelving the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, 1945 King Lear with Paul Scofield 1962 | King Lear 1971 Love is my sin, sonnets by William Shakespeare, 2009 Measure for Measure with John Gielgud 1950 Mésure pour mésure, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, 1978 Mésure pour mésure, 1979 La Tempête by William Shakespeare, adaptation Jean-Claude Carrière, with Sotigui Kouyaté, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord,1990 Timon d'Athènes, adaptation Jean-Claude Carrière, Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord 1974 Titus Andronicus with Laurence Olivier 1955 and 1958 Warum warum by Peter Brook et Marie-Hélène Estienne after Antonin Artaud, Edward Gordon Craig, Charles Dullin, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Motokiyo Zeami and William Shakespeare, 2010 The Winter's Tale with John Gielgud 1952 In the mid-1970s, with writer Jean-Claude Carrière, began work on adapting the Indian epic poem the Mahābhārata into a stage play, first performed in 1985 and later into a televised mini series.
In a long article in 1985, The New York Times noted "overwhelming critical acclaim", that the play "did nothing less than attempt to transform Hindu myth into universalized art, accessible to any culture". However, many postcololonial scholars have challenged the claim to universalism, accusing the play of orientalism. For instance, Gautam Dasgupta writes that, "Brook's Mahabharata falls short of the essential Indianness of the epic by staging predominantly its major incidents and failing to adequately emphasize its coterminous philosophical precepts."In 2015 Br
Antoine Marie Joseph Artaud, better known as Antonin Artaud, was a French dramatist, essayist and theatre director recognized as one of the major figures of twentieth-century theatre and the European avant-garde. Antonin Artaud was born in France, to Euphrasie Nalpas and Antoine-Roi Artaud. Both his parents were natives of Smyrna, he was affected by his Greek ancestry. Antoine-Roi Artaud was a shipowner. Euphrasie gave birth to nine children. Antonin contracted meningitis at age four. At the time the disease had no cure, but after a long struggle including a comatose period, a weakened Antonin survived. Artaud's parents arranged a long series of sanatorium stays for their temperamental son, which were both prolonged and expensive; this lasted five years, with a break of two months in June and July 1916, when Artaud was conscripted into the French Army. He was discharged due to addiction to laudanum and mental instability. During Artaud's "rest cures" at the sanatorium, he read Arthur Rimbaud, Charles Baudelaire, Edgar Allan Poe.
In May 1919, the director of the sanatorium prescribed laudanum for Artaud, precipitating a lifelong addiction to that and other opiates. Antoine suffered a nervous breakdown at age 19. In March 1921, Artaud moved to Paris to pursue a career as a writer and instead discovered he had a talent for avant-garde theatre. While training and performing with directors including Charles Dullin and Georges Pitoeff, he continued to write both poetry and essays. At the age of 27, he mailed some of his poems to the journal La Nouvelle Revue Française, their compilation into an epistolary work, Correspondance avec Jacques Rivière, was Artaud's first major publication. Artaud cultivated a great interest in cinema as well, writing the scenario for the first surrealist film, The Seashell and the Clergyman, directed by Germaine Dulac; this film influenced Salvador Dalí and Luis Buñuel, two key Spanish surrealists, when they made Un Chien Andalou. Artaud's performance as Jean-Paul Marat in Abel Gance's Napoleon used exaggerated movements to convey the fire of Marat's personality.
He played the monk Massieu in Carl Theodor Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc. In 1926–28, Artaud ran the Alfred Jarry Theatre, along with Roger Vitrac, he directed original works by Vitrac, as well as pieces by Claudel and Strindberg. The theatre advertised that they would produce Artaud's play Jet de sang in their 1926–1927 season, but it was never mounted and was not premiered until 40 years later; the Theatre was short-lived, but was attended by an enormous range of European artists, including André Gide, Arthur Adamov, Paul Valéry. In 1931, Artaud saw Balinese dance performed at the Paris Colonial Exposition. Although he did not understand the intentions and ideas behind traditional Balinese performance, it influenced many of his ideas for theatre. During this year, Artaud's First Manifesto for a Theatre of Cruelty was published in La Nouvelle Revue Française. In 1935, Artaud's production of his adaptation of Shelley's The Cenci premiered. Les Censi was a commercial failure, although it employed innovative sound effects—including the first theatrical use of the electronic instrument the Ondes Martenot—and had a set designed by Balthus.
After the production failed, Artaud received a grant to travel to Mexico, where in 1936 he met his first Mexican-Parisian friend, the painter Federico Cantú, when Cantú gave lectures on the decadence of Western civilization. Artaud studied and lived with the Tarahumaran people and experimented with peyote, recording his experiences, which were released in a volume called Voyage to the Land of the Tarahumara; the content of this work resembles the poems of his days, concerned with the supernatural. Artaud recorded his horrific withdrawal from heroin upon entering the land of the Tarahumaras. Having deserted his last supply of the drug at a mountainside, he had to be hoisted onto his horse and soon resembled, in his words, "a giant, inflamed gum". Artaud would return to opiates in life. In 1937, Artaud returned to France, where he obtained a walking stick of knotted wood that he believed belonged not only to St. Patrick, but Lucifer and Jesus Christ. Artaud traveled to Ireland, landing at Cobh and travelling to Galway in an effort to return the staff, though speaking little English, no Irish whatsoever, he was unable to make himself understood.
He would not have been admitted at Cobh, according to Irish government documents, except that he carried a letter of introduction from the Paris embassy. Most of his trip was spent in a hotel room, he was forcibly removed from the grounds of Milltown House, a Jesuit community, when he refused to leave. Before deportation he was confined in the notorious Mountjoy Prison. According to Irish Government papers he was deported as "a destitute and undesirable alien". On his return trip by ship, Artaud believed he was being attacked by two crew members, he retaliated, he was put in a straitjacket. His best-known work, The Theatre and Its Double, was published in 1938; this book contained the two manifestos of the Theatre of Cruelty. There, "he proposed a theatre, in effect a return to magic and ritual and he sough
The Living Theatre
The Living Theatre is an American theatre company founded in 1947 and based in New York City. It is the oldest experimental theatre group in the United States. For most of its history it was led by its founders, actress Judith Malina and painter/poet Julian Beck. After Malina's death in 2015, her responsibilities were taken over by the anarchist company; the Living Theatre and its founders were the subject of the 1983 documentary Signals Through The Flames. In the 1950s, the group was among the first in the U. S. to produce the work of influential European playwrights such as Bertolt Brecht and Jean Cocteau, as well as modernist poets such as T. S. Eliot and Gertrude Stein. One of their first major productions was Pablo Picasso's Desire Caught By the Tail. Based in a variety of small New York locations which were closed due to financial problems or conflicts with city authorities, they helped to originate off-off-Broadway and off-Broadway as significant forces in U. S. theater. Their work during this period shared some aspects of content with Beat generation writers.
During the 1950s, the American composer Alan Hovhaness worked with the Living Theatre, composing music for its productions. In 1959, their production of The Connection attracted national attention for its harsh portrayal of drug addiction and its harsh language. In the early 1960s the Living Theatre was host to avant-garde minimalist performances by artists including Simone Forti and Robert Morris; the Brig, an anti-authoritarian look at conditions in a Marine prison, was their last major production in New York before a tax fraud conviction led to the closure of the theatre space and the brief imprisonment of Beck and Malina. Judith defended Julian at the IRS hearing dressed like Portia from The Merchant of Venice. For the rest of the 1960s, the group toured chiefly in Europe, they produced more politically and formally radical work carrying an anarchist and pacifist message, with the company members creating plays collectively and living together. Major works from this period included the adaptations Antigone and Paradise Now, which became their best-known play.
Paradise Now, a semi-improvisational piece involving audience participation, was notorious for a scene in which actors recited a list of social taboos that included nudity, while disrobing. The group returned to the U. S. in 1968 to tour Paradise Now, Antigone and Smaller Pieces, Frankenstein. "That madman who inspires us all, does have some advice," Beck said in an informal address at Yale University after his return, "and I think he is the philosopher, for those of us who work in theatre, whom we can reach toward most of whom we can say, here is one man since Rousseau who does uphold the idea of the non-civilized man." He added: "Our work had always striven to stress the sacredness of life." In 1971 they toured in Brazil, where they were imprisoned for several months deported. The Living Theatre has toured extensively throughout the world in non-traditional venues such as streets and prisons, it has influenced other American experimental theatre companies, notably The Open Theater and Bread and Puppet Theater.
The Living Theatre's productions have won four Obie Awards: The Connection, The Brig, Frankenstein. Though its prominence and resources have diminished in recent decades, The Living Theatre continues to produce new plays in New York City, many with anti-war themes. In 2006, The Living Theatre signed a 10-year lease on the 3,500-square-foot basement of a new residential building under construction at 21 Clinton Street, between Houston and Stanton Streets on Manhattan's Lower East Side; the Clinton Street theater is the company's first permanent home since the closing of The Living Theatre on Third Street at Avenue C in 1993. The company moved into the completed space in early 2007 and opened in April 2007 with a revival of The Brig by Kenneth H. Brown, first presented at The Living Theatre at 14th Street and Sixth Avenue in 1963; the re-staging, directed by Judith Malina, won Obie Awards for Ensemble Performance. In October 2006, the company opened a revival of Mysteries and Smaller Pieces, the 1964 collective creation that defined the interactive and Artaudian style for which the company became famous.
In late 2007 / early 2008 the company founder Judith Malina performed in Maudie and Jane, a stage adaptation, directed by Reznikov, of the Doris Lessing novel, The Diary of Jane Somers. In April 2008 Hanon Reznikov suffered a stroke, he died on May 3, 2008. In 2010, the company presented Red Noir and directed by Judith Malina. In 2011, the company presented Korach, by Malina, a revival of Seven Meditations on Political Sado-Masochism, directed by Malina and Tom Walker. In 2011, the company created The Plot Is The Revolution, starring Malina and Silvia Calderoni, a co-production with the Italian group Motus. In 2012, the company presented The History of the World and directed by Malina. In 2013, the company presented Here We Are and directed by Malina; the company vacated its Clinton Street space. In 2014, Judith Malina's play No Place to Hide premiered at the Clemente Soto Velez Center on the Lower East Side; the production took to the streets of New York for Underground Zero Festival, traveled to Burning Man in a legendary theatre festival.
No Place to Hide is the current