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Acting: Topic Page
The representation of a usually fictional character on stage or in films. At its highest levels of accomplishment acting involves the employment of technique and/or an imaginative identification with the character on the part of the actor.
Actor: Research Starter
An actor is a creative professional whose occupation primarily consists of performing on a daily basis.
Actors and Actresses: Topic Page
Performer who takes one or more role(s) in a play or film.
From Critical Terms for Art History
Performance has mandated the most comprehensive discussion of the identity, purpose, and value of the plastic arts since the Renaissance.
Performance Art: Topic Page
Type of modern art activity presented before a live audience, and combining elements of the visual arts and the theatrical arts, such as music, video, theatre, and poetry reading.
Theater: Research Starter
Theater is a collaborative form of fine art in which performers stage a depiction of a real or fictional event in front of a live audience.
Theater: Topic Page
Theatre (from the Greek ‘seeing-place’) has extended from being a reference to the buildings or space within which drama can take place to encompass the range of phenomena which constitute the relationship between an audience and a performance.
From Encyclopedia of American Studies
The American Broadway musical is arguably the most distinctive and original theatrical form to develop in the United States and one of the most prominent forms of American popular entertainment of the twentieth century.
Burlesque: Topic Page
Form of entertainment that achieves its effects through caricature, ridicule, and distortion. About 1920 the term began to refer to the "strip-tease" show, which created its own stars, such as Gypsy Rose Lee; in c.1937 burlesque performances in New York City were banned.
Comedy: Research Starter
The genre of comedy originated in Greece in approximately 487 B.C. in festivities dedicated to Dionysus.
Comedy: Topic Page
Literary work that aims primarily to provoke laughter. Unlike tragedy, which seeks to engage profound emotions and sympathies, comedy strives to entertain chiefly through criticism and ridicule of man's customs and institutions.
Commedia dell Arte: Topic Page
Popular form of comedy employing improvised dialogue and masked characters that flourished in Italy from the 16th to the 18th cent.
Drama: Research Starter
Drama in its earliest form was part of religious rituals involving music and dance.
Drama: Topic Page
Several origins have been proposed for drama: the ceremonies and dances performed by hunter-gatherers to ensure a successful hunt and initiate the young into the nature of the animals they hunted and the tactics used to kill them is one; dramatic story-telling in which the narrator enacts different roles while telling the story is another; religious ritual, and the enactment of religious stories at festivals, such as those conducted in ancient Egypt from before 2000BC, is a third.
Melodrama: Topic Page
Originally a spoken text with musical background, as in Greek drama.
From The Princeton encyclopedia of poetry and poetics
(Gr., "imitation"). In the cl. sense of the term, a type of drama in which players rely mainly on gestures to tell a story. Found in ancient Greece and Rome, the mime probably arose, as its name implies, from the natural impulse to imitate persons or scenes from daily life.
Miracle Play: Topic Page
Or mystery play, form of medieval drama that came from dramatization of the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church.
Musical: Topic Page
20th-century form of dramatic musical performance, combining elements of song, dance, and the spoken word, often characterized by lavish staging and large casts.
Physical Theatre: Research Starter
A theatrical genre focusing on the physicality of movement in a theatrical context.
Tragedy: Topic Page
Form of drama that depicts the suffering of a heroic individual who is often overcome by the very obstacles he is struggling to remove. The protagonist may be brought low by a character flaw or, as Hegel stated, caught in a "collision of equally justified ethical aims."
Vaudeville: Topic Page
American vaudeville was a live entertainment consisting of unrelated songs, dances, acrobatic and magic acts, and humorous skits and sketches by a variety of performers and acts, each on stage for about five minutes.
Sophocles: Topic Page
Ancient Greek dramatist and author of the classic tragedy Oedipus Rex.
Aeschylus: Topic Page
Athenian tragic dramatist, b. Eleusis. The first of the three great Greek writers of tragedy, Aeschylus was the predecessor of Sophocles and Euripides.
Euripides: Topic Page
He produced his first plays in 455 but did not win a victory in the competition until 441. He is said to have produced 92 plays (we know the titles of about 80), but won first prize only four times in his life (and once after his death with plays that he had left unperformed).
Aristophanes: Topic Page
Aristophanes was regarded as the greatest poet of the Athenian ‘Old Comedy’, and is the only such poet whose work survives.
Gilbert and Sullivan
From The Faber Companion to 20th Century Popular Music
The authors of a series of highly popular comic operettas, Gilbert and Sullivan's works continued to be widely performed a century after they were first staged.
Lorraine Hansberry (1930 - 1965): Topic Page
By 1957, Hansberry completed her first play, "A Raisin in the Sun."
Tony Kushner (1956 - ): Topic Page
American playwright. His "Angels in America" is a two-part, seven-hour, Pulitzer Prize– and Tony-winning drama of life in the age of AIDS.
David Mamet (1947 - ): Topic Page
American playwright and film director, born in Chicago.
Tennessee Williams (1911-1983): Topic Page
From 1945, with his first success, The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams has had a deep impact on the American theatre, bringing to it an original lyric voice and a new level of sexual frankness.
August Wilson (1945-2005): Topic Page
Wilson's plays center on the struggles and identity of African Americans and the deleterious effect of white American institutions on black American life.
Samuel Beckett (1906 - 1989): Topic Page
Irish dramatist, novelist, and poet, who wrote in both French and English. He won international acclaim for his work, which includes the play En attendant Godot.
Ben Johnson (1572 - 1637): Topic Page
English dramatist and poet, born in Westminster, London. The high-spirited buoyancy of Jonson's plays and the brilliance of his language have earned him a reputation as one of the great playwrights in English literature.
Thomas Middleton (1580 - 1627): Topic Page
English dramatist. He produced numerous romantic plays, tragedies, and realistic comedies, both alone and in collaboration.
Sean O'Casey (1880 - 1964): Topic Page
Playwright, born in Dublin, Ireland. Awarded the Hawthornden Prize in 1926.
Harold Pinter (1930 - 2008): Topic Page
English dramatist. He has won many prestigious honors, the crowning of which was the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature.
William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616): Topic Page
English dramatist and poet, b. Stratford-on-Avon. He is widely considered the greatest playwright who ever lived.
John Synge (1871 - 1909): Topic Page
Irish poet and dramatist, b. near Dublin, of Protestant parents. He was an important figure in the Irish literary renaissance.
Andrew Lloyd Webber
From The Faber Companion to 20th Century Popular Music
With lyricist Tim Rice, Andrew Lloyd Webber composed the most successful rock musicals of the seventies. His highly melodic approach owed much to the traditions of operetta and the Broadway musical. After separating from Rice, Lloyd Webber had even greater success. Among his hits were Phantom of the Opera (1986) and Sunset Boulevard (1993). He also composed light classical works.
Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906): Topic Page
Norwegian playwright. Ibsen's playwriting owed much to his early theatrical experience.
Carlos Fuentes: Topic Page
Novelist and playwright, born in Mexico City, Mexico.
George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950): Topic Page
Irish playwright and critic. He revolutionized the Victorian stage, then dominated by artificial melodramas, by presenting vigorous dramas of ideas. The lengthy prefaces to Shaw's plays reveal his mastery of English prose. In 1925 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Pierre Corneille (1606 - 1684): Topic Page
In the course of a long association with the Parisian theatres he produced over 30 plays, and proved equally successful in tragedy and comedy.
Molière (1622 - 1673)
From France and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History
Born in Paris in 1622, Molière became one of the greatest European dramatists.
Jean Racine (1639 - 1699): Topic Page
French dramatist. Racine is the prime exemplar of French classicism.
Voltaire (1694-1778): Topic Page
French philosopher and writer who won early fame as a playwright and poet and later was an influential popularizer of Newtonian natural philosophy.
Victor Hugo: Topic Page
French novelist, poet, and dramatist. The verse play Hernani (1830) firmly established Hugo as the leader of French Romanticism. This was the first of a series of dramas produced in the 1830s and early 1840s, including Le Roi s'amuse (1832) and Ruy Blas (1838).
Florenz Ziegfeld (c.1867 - 1932)
From The Reader's Companion to American History
Theatrical producer and creator of The Ziegfeld Follies. As the master showman of the early twentieth century, Ziegfeld brought a unique and sophisticated style, taste, and extravagance to the theater, popularizing a new form of entertainment called the revue.
Antonin Artaud (1896 - 1948): Topic Page
His extraordinary influence on subsequent theatre is based largely on his two short-lived attempts at directing and on his volume of essays, The Theatre and Its Double.
Peter Brook (1925 - ): Topic Page
English theatrical director, born in London. An innovative, unconventional, and controversial figure, Brook mounts energetic productions in which the entire stage is utilized and realistic sets are banished in favor of bold, abstract, and austere settings.
Max Reinhardt (1873 -1943): Topic Page
Austrian theatrical producer and director. Reinhardt often used the entire auditorium for a production, seeking to bridge the gap between actor and audience by placing the spectator within the action.
Robert Wilson (1941 - ): Topic Page
Dramatist, director, and designer. A leading figure in postmodern theater since 1963, when he arrived in New York City, he has created lengthy, often controversial multimedia events that combine drama, dance, and stylized gesture with contemporary instrumental music, opera, and art.