We’re continuing our discussion of nineteenth-century American theater with a look at some upsetting parts of the US's theatrical past. In the nineteenth century, race and racism contributed to a unique and troubling performance culture, which helped create and spread racist stereotypes that are still with us today.
It's lights up in America! This week, we're headed to North America. We'll look at Native American storytelling traditions, the theater that Europeans brought along starting in the 17th century, and how theater developed before and after the American Revolutionary War. Also, a terrible Macbeth rivalry which culminates in a full blown theater riot.
In the 18th century, audiences were ready for some really dramatic theater. Like, a dog dueling a man type of dramatic. In London, only two theaters were licensed, but entertainment entrepreneurs figured out that musical entertainments weren't subject to the same restrictions. So, incidental music was invented, and the melodrama was born. And then switched with another infant. And so forth.
Theater had a slow start in Germany, mainly because Germany wasn't a thing until *relatively* recent times. After Germany finally became a unified state, it had a couple of really important theatrical movements. We'll talk about Sturm and Drang, as well as Weimar Classicism. We'll also get into the work of the greatest German playwright, Goethe, and look at his play Faust in the Thought Bubble.
This week, we're headed back to England to learn about Sentimental Comedies. They weren't that funny, but they were definitely sentimental. The people of England were shaking off the Restoration hangover, and bawdy plays no longer had a place. In fact, there wasn't a place for much of any drama, as only two theaters were licensed to present plays. Rules and regulations everywhere, y'all.
This week we're headed to China to learn about the ancient origins of theater there. We'll look at the early days of wizard theater (not a typo), the development of classical Chinese theater, and the evolution of Beijing Opera.
This week, we're headed back to India to learn about the all night dance shows that culminate in killing a Demon (metaphorically): Kathakali! This form arose in the Kerala region of India, and tells traditional Indian stories, but with really remarkable makeup, hand positions, and dance moves.
In Japan, under the Shoguns, there's couple of really interesting types of drama on the scene. Kabuki is a sort of successor to Noh, with wilder stories and more action. And Bunraku is straight up high intensity puppet theater. Mike tells you all about how the Samurais got themselves into trouble watching bawdy theater shows in Edo.
This week, we're headed to the Americas to learn about the theater that existed there prior to the arrival of Europeans, how the theater of the Spanish influenced it, and the impact of Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, playwrighting Spanish nun extraordinaire.
This week on CC Theater, Mike Rugnetta teaches you about the greatest playwright of Renaissance France, Molière. We'll talk a bit about early French theater design, and the kingly love of theater that Louis the XIII and XIV shared, and look at Molière's Tartuffe in the Thought Bubble.
The French Neoclassical revival had a BUNCH of French playwrights following a bunch of rules. Unsurprisingly, some of the most interesting plays of the era broke those rules. Today, we'll talk about the rules, and we'll talk about Racine (who followed them), and Corneille (who was not so much a rules guy).
This week on Crash Course Theater, Mike and Yorick take us to beautiful Spain, and look at its Golden Age. Spain was having kind of a moment in the 16th and 17th centuries. They had this big empire, the culture was really flowering, and Humanism was popping up all over, but they also had the inquisition. Into this world came prolific writers like Felix Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderon de la Barca.
In the 17th century, English theater had to go into hiding, from PURITANS. Let's take a look at how the English Civil War, Charles I's beheading, and the Restoration of the monarchy all had effects on the English Theater. Also, WOMEN finally make it to the English stage in this episode. Plus, Restoration comedies are pretty smutty, so you should hang on 'til the end of the end of this one.
This week on Crash Course Theater, Shakespeare is dead. Long live Shakespeare. Well, long live English theater, anyway. Actually, it's about to get banned. Anyway, we're discussing where English theater went post-1616. We'll talk about Ben Jonson, revenge tragedies, and court masques.
This week we're continuing our discussion of William Shakespeare and looking at his comedies and romances. As well as something called problem plays. Some of his plays, they had problems. We'll also put on pants, escape to forest, and talk about Shakespeare's heroines, lots of whom had quite a bit more agency in these plays than the women in the tragedies had.
Shakespeare's tragedies...were tragic. But they had some jokes. They also changed the way tragedies were written. Characters like Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear had tragic outcomes, but they were sympathetic characters in a lot of ways. This was a big change from the way Seneca and the Greeks wrote tragedies, and it caught on.
This is the story of how a young Englishman named William Shakespeare stormed London's theater scene in the late 16th century, and wrote a bunch of plays and poems that have had pretty good staying power. We'll learn about Shakespeare's beginnings, his family, and how he broke into theater.
The Renaissance came to England late, thanks to a Hundred Years War that ran long and a civil war to decide who would be the royal family. BUT after that, there was a flowering of humanism, science, and culture. Theater was a big part of it. Today, we're talking about the London theater scene and the playwrights that set the stage...ahem...for the main man of English Theater, William Shakespeare.
This week, we're going to Italy for a Renaissance. The Middle Ages are over, and it's time to talk about the flourishing of art and humanism across Europe. Painting, sculpture, music, architecture, and plays with fart jokes were all thriving between from 1300 - 1500, and we're going to teach you about the theatrical aspects of that flourishing, as it happened in Italy.
Mike is taking you to Japan to look at Noh theater. Noh, and its counterpart Kyogen are some of the most revered theater forms in Japan, and are still performed today. Today you'll learn how Noh grew out of traditional Shinto dances, what a Noh theater looks like, and how audiences managed to sit through 8 hour performance in the days before memory foam theater seats. (hint: it was the Kyogen).