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THST 1040 (1)

THST Lectures

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University of Guelph
Theatre Studies
THST 1040
Norman Smith

Theatre Studies Lectures Lecture 1 What is Theatre Theatre is a complex set of activities places and ideas that has evolved over time and across culturesTheatre is o A place to see and a place to be seen o A place set aside for the presentation of theatrical formsexceptions cinemas operating theatresTheatre can refer to o A place whats playing at the theatre o An artform theatre dance music etc o A social practice lets go to the theatre o An industry I work in theatre o A profession I am a theatre artist o A form of communication theatre tells us about life o A social relationship the coming together of a group to share an experienceWhat types of events can be considered to be theatre o dramatic productions in a theatre space o opera o ballet and other dance o Musical theatre etcWhat do they all have in commonThere are many sign systems semiotics on the stage that create meaning acting movement and gesture setting costumes props lighting sound text etc which can come together andor compete to convey subtle complex messages to performers and spectators alikeThey all consist of an encounter between performers and spectator in a real or implied physical environment Lecture 2 Theatre Forms A World Tour Theatre and the arts have gone through a dramatic reevaluation with the development of thpostmodern thinking in the latter part of the 20 century The minority views have developed more of a voice by putting forward contradictions and instability over fundamental truths o The truths as established by those in powerusually rich white maleheterosexualPostmodernism means the ability to freely mix forms genres styles and a range of technologies into performance practice o Ex The Europeans control has much influence on colonized cultures that they in their plays they attempt to retrieve and rethink the culture of the colonizedWe see this in hybrid performances such as the Zulu Macbeth and much of Caribbean carnival Globalization and theatre o Affects theatre both negatively and positively through communications and relocation of populations as well as corporate capitalism Positive The diversity of cultures provides richness Negative The smaller community theatre is in danger of being eclipsed by large commercial production Theatre and performances around the world o There are many similarities and many differences o Most importantthere is a wide range of theatre everywhere we goSome looks very much like what we are used to some are excessive in cultural and social individualityTheatre cannot be separated from the society for which it is created and presentedEvery culture and place has its own history including a history of arts and theatre Theatre and storytelling o Theatre is largely about storytelling and each area has its own stories to tello These stories resonate and the telling calls up many associationsLikewise the other symbols utilized in the performance will bring associations for a given audienceTheatre around the world o Canada Traditional forms imported from Britain and France then from the USRich variety of theatre especially in the major centresOriginal work by Canadian playwrights from varied backgrounds a lively fringe scene commercial and noncommercial houses big festivals Shaw Stratford World Stage Festival TransAmerique indigenous theatre opera music theatre dance community theatre and amateur companies Theatre is even taught in university o USA Musicals first nations much like Canada and often reflecting the immigrant experienceGreater funding with the arts o Caribbean Carnival Trinidad Peter Minshall Haiti in fact most nations use the Carnival celebration as a reflection of their colonial heritageStarted as street theatre o South America Rio de Janeiro BrazilCarnival in Rio is a huge eventWhile many indigenous peoples had theatreritualpoetrysong with sets and costumes the colonizing missionaries appropriated these forms to spread Christian doctrine maintaining a cultural hegemony Augusto Boalused theatre to work with people who dont have a voice the oppressed o Australia similar issues of colonization and suppression of indigenous formsnon words but still lots of story o Japan Noh Theatre Bunraku puppet Kabuki Butoh other modern hybrid forms and genresMasks stylized elaborate o China zaju Yuan Dynasty 12791368 kunqu Ming 13681644 Jingxi or Peking Opera from mid800s th Both men and women performed except for a period from mid18 C to thearly 20Colour had symbolic significance o India Elaborate costume dance and gesture mark much of traditional theatre the forms of which vary throughout the country Ex Kathakali o Middle East Arab theatre as plays is relatively new 200 yrs but ancient traditions include puppetry storytelling and Taziyaha type of religious passion play performed in Shia communities o Africa A mix of colonial influence and native storytellingVaries throughout the diverse cultures of the continentTribal ceremonies as theatre Village theatre a popular tradition which is based on traditions of music song dance and storytelling o Europe The tradition we are most familiar with from Greece to medieval Europe to France and England Italy etc The common thread is the coming together of one or more performers in a specific place with an audienceTheatre iso Live
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