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.
When last we saw Theater, it was just making its way back in the West, by sneaking a little drama into the Easter mass. In today's episode, we're talking about Hrotsvitha, the cool 10th century nun from Lower Saxony who was maybe the first playwright of the new era of theater. She wrote comedies with a moral message, and influenced future heavy hitters like Hildegard of Bingen.
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.
As the Roman Empire fell, so did the theater. If there's anyone who hates theater and actors more than Romans, it's early Christians. As Christianity ascended in the west, theater declined. But, fear not. This isn't the end of the series. Theater would be back, and in the best subversive theater-y fashion, it would return via the Catholic mass!
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.
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.
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.
Ancient Sanskrit theater is one of the oldest theater traditions, and thanks to Bharata Muni and his treatise on theater, the Natyashastra, we can tell you quite a bit about it, all the way down to eyebrow and nostril poses. This week you'll learn about the drama of ancient India, and its connection to the Mahabharata and the Ramayana.
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 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 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, we're diving head first into Greek Comedy. But don't get TOO ready for hilarity. Taste in humor has changed a little over the last couple of thousand years. You already know about Greek Tragedies, with their hamartia and catharsis and whatnot. Today we're going to look at how Greek comedy evolved out of those tragedies, first as Satyr plays, and later as full-blown comedies.
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.
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.
Today, Mike Rugnetta takes you from our beginnings in ancient Greek theater, and moves on to the development of Roman theater. Which, it turns out, is A LOT like Greek theater. Because the Romans were real Grecophiles, they modeled their plays on the Greeks.
Aristotle. He knows a lot, right? And if you choose to believe Aristotle, then you must believe all the mechanics of tragedy that Mike is about to lay on you. This week, we're looking at Aristotle's rules for the basic elements of theater, and how those can be used to bring about catharsis, the emotional release triggered by onstage trauma. You know you love the catharsis.
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 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.