Theatre 203: F/History of Theatre Since the Seventeenth Century

Romanticism: Brockett 10th ed ch. 11 pp. 256-269; ch. 12 pp. 278-294

GERMANY (or central and eastern Europe) generally missed out on Renaissance and Baroque eras, they arrive on the cultural scene to influence ROMANTICISM

Not the same "reunified" country we know today, but under individual dukes or HRE
Southern Germany and Austria under Hapsburg Holy Roman Empire based in Vienna
Seven Years' War (1756-63) gives control of North Germany to Prussian king, based Berlin

Early theatre influences:

opera at court (theatres built, spectacle popular),
touring English players,
touring commedia,
Jesuit schools
Joseph Stranitzky: Hanswurst character at Vienna's 1st public theatre (local, popular)
Johann Christoph GOTTSCHED (1700-66)
Writer, promote German language and culture, based on French neoclassicism
Use theatre to influence masses who are largely illiterate
Wrote plays for Neubers and published German plays 6 vols called The German Stage (1740-45)

Carline NEUBER (1697-1760) and husband Johann
Form acting co. 1727, join with Gottsched to promote reforms (-1739) higher literary forms in German language
No improv or Hanswurst, no farce, literary style and single dialect
Longer rehearsals and division of production duties
BUT much compromise because audience not receptive and must make a living
Played mostly in Leipzig and Hamburg

Gottsched and Neubers' work begins to pay off
Must tour as there's no large audience in small dukedoms or cities of HRE

Sophie Schroder and Konrad Ackermann form company 174, m. 1749

Konrad EKHOF (graphic p. 305)
Began acting with Schonemann 1740, becomes leading actor, 17 yrs
1st German theoretician of the stage
Founds acting school
Joins Schroder and Ackermann 1764

Hamburg National Theatre
1767-69, J. F. Lowen.
Subsidized, non-profit theatre, 12 businessmen back it
Hires mostly Ackermann's company
Lessing's Hamburg Dramaturgy: argues like Diderot (Fr. philosophe and encyclopaediste) for loosening neoclassicism
Lessing's plays and his theories hold up Shakespeare as model for German writers
Establishes blank verse as standard for serious drama
Step toward State Theatre for Germany

Inspired by Ekhof; Sophie Schroder's son
Actor-manager from 1771, Hamburg
Introduces Sturm und Drang writers
Germany's most popular actor, more known for tragedy (parallel w/ Garrick in England)

Actual State theatres founded, all of which continue in some form today:
Vienna's Burgtheater: 1776
Mannheim: 1779
Berlin: 1786

Gotthold Ephraim LESSING
Miss Sara Sampson (1755) Medea set in England
Minna von Barnhelm (1767) 1st German national comedy

Johann Wolfgang von GOETHE (1749-1832)
Renaissance man, writes in all genres
Begins in "STURM UND DRANG" movement which rejects neoclassicism
Goetz von Berlichingen 1773
studies classical history, then takes over court theatre at Weimar 1796
Iphigenia in Taurus 1787, FAUST part I 1808, Faust part 2 1831

Friedrich SCHILLER
Begins in "STURM UND DRANG" movement:
The Robbers 1782, Intrigue and Love 1783.
Forbidden to write and sent to military school.
Writes for Mannheim state theatre
1780's: study history, write history, academic placement in Jena 1797-1805
wrote for Weimar company with Goethe directing:
Wallenstein trilogy, Mary Stuart, William Tell

August Willhelm IFFLAND (1759-1814)
influential actor/playwright/manager
Mannheim 1784-96
stars in Schiller's early plays
inspired Goethe to take control of Weimar theatre
Head Berlin State theatre 1796-1814

August Friedrich von KOTZEBUE (1761-1819)
1st internationally famous playwright in any language
Plays hold stage through 19th century
Earliest melodrama writer; adapts any subject matter for mass public


Although it sprang from Goethe's and Schiller's inspiration by classical civilization, they created ROMANTICISM in text and production style

Repertoire consisted of musical/opera, popular, classics, and new verse style

Goethe often viewed as 1st director (unlike Garrick, he wasn't head actor). Text is center of production and spawns production choices.

published his 91 rules for actors

verse plays --> Romantic style, mostly Schiller's idealized life,
not realism but "unite true and beautiful"
precise controlled diction,
single dialect from actors
actors study characterizations individually with Goethe
plays take grand historical and thematic sweep
create stage picture by dividing into 3D grid
historical and local accuracy in settings
demand new standard of decorum from audience

Ch. 12: Spread of Romanticism 1800-50, Sections on Germany, France, England


Briefly unified under Napoleon, after 1815 disintegrates to many small states
Tight governmental restrictions for fear of popular rebellions.
65 state theatres by 1842
State theatres maintained, but tightly censored
Berlin and Vienna dominate

August Willhelm SCHLEGEL
Critic who pits Romantic and Classic as opposite terms
Popularizes romantic theory
Translates Shakespeare into German

Ludwig TIECK
wrote tragedies, fiabe or fables after Gozzi;
critic turn to directing 1830's:
recreate conditions of Shakespeare's theatre for his plays;
autocratic style; Midsummer w/ Mendelssohn as composer 1843

Heinrich von KLEIST (not a self-proclaimed Romantic)
Prince of Homburg (1811)

Friedrich Hebbel: moves from Romantic to more cynical view on world
famous works are post-romantic: Die Niebelungen (1855-62) demonstrates social conflict, spiritual conflict (Wagner based Ring cycle on these)

KOTZEBUE remains popular, evolves MELODRAMA

Johann Nepomuk NESTROY: Austrian writer of FARCE
lead actor for Theater an der Vien (Vienna)

YOUNG GERMANY movement: 1830's-40's
Reflect pessimism at failure of revolution
Cynical as reaction against ideals of Romantics
Gutzkow and Laube, Georg Buchner loosely affiliated
Buchner's Danton's Death (1835), Woyzeck (1836)

Ludwig Devrient: Romantic acting style (p. 335)
     Berlin->Vienna 1828
Weimar and Romantic styles at war

scenery and costumes:
Increasing demand for historical and local accuracy
BUT: this still means increasing stock, not designing every production anew
Increasing experimentation with light (GAS) and special FX (see France)


Major political turmoil: Napoleon in power til 1815 (Waterloo)
Monarchy reintroduced til 1831
Napoleon and Kings undo many political and theatrical reforms of Revolution (1789)
State control of theatres, genre restictions, censorship
However, theatres are run on more sound financial basis
Ecole Royale Dramatique (1786) becomes Conservatoire
Revolution of 1831: genre restrictions removed

4 State supported theatres throughout 19th century:
Paris Opera (opera and ballet)
Comedie Francaise ("regular" drama, stays mostly neoclassical because gov't  likes it, til 1830)
Odeon (at 1st Theatre de l'Imperatrice; "minor" forms of drama)
Opera Comique (...guess)

plus 4 licensed Boulevard theatres, number begins to increase
perform melodrama, pantomime, burlesque, vaudeville, etc.


Mme de Stael's "Of Germany" popularizes Romantic theory
Most playwrights primarily known for their novels

Victor HUGO: "the sublime and the grotesque"
Hernani, 1830: battle between romantics and neoclassicists (p. 341)
King Amuses Himself (1832)
Les Miserables (novel)
directed own plays,

Alexandre DUMAS (pere): Henri III (1829); Three Musketeers (novels)
African descent

Alfred de MUSSET: (1810-57) No Trifling with Love (1834)
still produced today; verse and characters in inner conflict

George SAND (a woman - Aurore Dupin Dudevant, 1804-76): Cosima (1840)
25 plays produced professionally

Rene Charles Guilbert de PIXERECOURT (1773-1844): MELODRAMAS
With German Kotzebue, most popular international playwrights
Over 120 plays, including Victor, or The Child of the Forest (1798)
Directs own plays, largely because their effect is dependent on spectacle

ACTORS: like in Germany and England, battle of styles
ROMANTIC stars: Frederick Lemaitre (1800-76), Rachel (1821-58)

DESIGN: France pioneers new scenery, largely spurred on by needs of melodrama

Louis-Jacques DAGUERRE (1787-51): (inventor of Daguerreotype: 1839)
famous painter, scene designer til 1822

Pierre-Luc-Charles CICERI (1782-1868)
Main designer at Opera, but works for all state theatres 1st to open own scenic design house, which theatres commission fills need for paintings specific to locale, historical milieu, tone


leads Europe into Industrial Revolution
London: expands 1 million to 2 from 1800-43

Earl of Dartmouth as Lord Chamberlain interprets Licensing Act to allow more
minor theatres in Westminster if not in direct competition with patent theatres
1843: genre restrictions removed from minor theatres

ROMANTIC Writers: most poets also wrote (closet) dramas
Percy Bysshe SHELLEY: Prometheus Unbound
George Gordon, LORD BYRON: Marino Faliero (1821), Werner (1830)
Sir Walter Scott, Robert Browning, Joanna Baillie

MELODRAMA's many faces: (with Kotzebue and Pixerecourt, in translation)
Gothic: Monk Lewis
Exotic or local color
Nautical and equestrian
Domestic: Buckstone's Luke the Laborer (1826)
Gentlemanly: Bulwer-Lytton's Richelieu (1839)

Kemble family at turn of century uses classical style:
Roger Kemble's 12 kids: John Phillip, Sara K. Siddons, Stephen, Charles, Eliza (goes to USA)

Romantic challengers in 1810's
Edmund KEAN as greatest Romantic actor

William CAPON designs sets for new huge theatres, often combines new with old sets

James Robinson PLANCHE: playwright, critic, antiquarian, with special interest in history of COSTUME. Published History of British Costume (1834)

ACTOR MANAGERS: (a British tradition)
William Charles MACREADY (1793-1873): patent theatres,
Lots of bankrupcy problems
Longer rehearsals, in which actors ACT!!
Romantic style,
Historical accuracy in all detail, but not for all shows

Lucia Elizabetta Bartolozzi, MME VESTRIS (1797-1856):
Starts with "minor theatres"
Breeches roles,
Coordinates spectacle with acting
Popularized box set: 1832 at Olympic Theatre

Theatres top out in size, max capacity circa 4000, and in number
Middle and working classes flock to theatres
Largest theatre audiences ever
Long run begins to replace contract system
Starring engagements, touring emerge (railroads make it possible)
Scenic and star actor demands bear heavy financial toll
English Price Riots; ticket prices stay low

MELODRAMA: a popularization of many aspects of Romantic plays

unlike Romantic:
banal morality, clearly recognizable good and evil characters
little depth to characterization: use types
everyday diction/prose
usually happy endings

major characteristics:
plot is central: twists, subplots, recognitions, mistaken ID's, coincidence
plot selected for spectacle: lighting, fire, flood, deaths
historical and/or local color in characters and decor
song, dance, and musical underscoring
tableaux at ends of acts and important moments
three acts, each ending in climax (tune in next week...)
mix of serious and comic styles

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