The Renaissance Theater and Macbeth

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1 The Renaissance Theater and Macbeth Ms. Eckman Elements of Literature, Sixth Course. Literature of Britain. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston

2 The history of the theater. Where did drama come from?.from church ceremonies such as Morality Plays, Miracle Plays and Mystery plays Dramas are based on the 5 cycles of human life (according to 13 th & 14 th century worker s guilds): 1. Creation by God 2. Fall to Satan 3. Life in the Old Testament 4. Redemption by Christ 5. Final Judgement

3 The Beginning of Medieval Drama The English had been writing and performing plays centuries before the Renaissance. Medieval drama likely evolved from church ceremonies s: Drama moved out of the churches and into the marketplaces of towns. Workers Guild: A trade union combined with a club. Example: Carpenter Guild. Each trade had its own guild. Guilds cooperated in staging cycles of plays that dramatized stories from the bible. Miracle and Mystery plays taught people stories from the bible and of the saints. Morality plays taught people how to live good lives. Guilds built large wheeled carts on which they would perform their plays throughout sections of the town. The guilds used elaborate costumes, props, and effects to gain attention and make the plays as lifelike as possible. Gradually, the plays became less religious and more comedic.

4 Representation of a Mystery Play by David Jee

5 History continued. The first public theater was built in 1576 by Richard and James Burbage. It was called Theater (no really- just Theater ) In 1599, the Theater was torn town and its wood was used to build the Globe theater.

6 Introducing.The Globe Theater! The Globe is the most famous of the public theaters because the company that Shakespeare belonged to owned it. The Globe Theater burned down in Though scholars are not certain what the Globe looked like, stage directions from Shakespeare s plays and historical documents have provided enough evidence for a modern reconstruction of the Globe theater.

7 The Globe Theater Wooden structure three stories high Held 3,000 people Inner yard open to the sky The stage jutted halfway out into the theatre allowing for the audience to be in much closer contact with the actors. The stage had trap doors in the walls and ceiling Scenery was kept to a minimum. The Globe Theater Today: Techniques used in the reconstruction of the theater were painstakingly accurate. Photo by Tom Green Actors wore elaborate and expensive costumes. Music and lyrics were specifically written for every play.

8 Who attended the globe??? The Audiences at the Globe theater had to use their imaginations because The limited scenery and lighting techniques. There were no actresses, so boys played female characters. Instead of seeing a scene, audiences often heard it described in the play. Who attended plays at the Globe theater? 1. Groundlings: The youth and poor could afford to watch the plays from the floor for one penny. Groundlings were often sardined on the theater floor and were characteristically boisterous and rowdy. Groundlings were grimy, snaggle-toothed creatures who stood on the ground without seats, eating & picking pockets. -from USA Today 2. Upper class and Patrons: Paid more money to sit in the upper stories of the theatre and have a better view of the stage. 3. Nobility and Very Wealthy: The most expensive seats were chairs set along the side of the stage.

9 So why did so many people go to The Globe? They loved to be entertained! They liked to be close to the stage because then they could see every nuance of the actor s face/performance Loved to see witches & devils going to hell OR Gods & angels going to heaven

10 Music & Costumes Very important The more elaborate the better! Used rich fabrics & fake jewels Were beautiful- set fashion trends All the music & songs were written for EACH play

11 Where else did acting guilds perform??? 1. In Great Halls of castles & Manor houses: but they needed to bring a portable stage because they didn t have any (was primarily used for things like Bear baiting ) 2. Indoor theaters around London

12 William Shakespeare Married Anne Hathaway when he was 18. Two daughters and one son; his son died at age 11. By 1592, Shakespeare was involved in London s theaters as both an actor and writer. His wealth and popularity prospered by 1596 and Shakespeare moved up in social rank. Member and shareholder of the theatre company who owned the Globe. Six of his plays given command performances by Queen Elizabeth I.

13 Shakespeare: Complete Man of the Theater Shakespeare created his plays specifically for his own acting company and stage at The Globe Theater: had to provide good parts in every play for the main performers in the company. limited number of female characters because there were no female actresses during the time; boys often played the female characters. wrote lyrics for the music because audiences expected singing in every play. Arranged scenes carefully so that actors could have multiple roles in a play; there were a limited number of actors in a company!

14 Introducing Macbeth

15 Your Cast of Characters: King Duncan: King of Scotland Malcolm: son to Duncan, named to be King Donalbain: other son to Duncan Macbeth: Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and future king of Scotland Banquo: Macbeth s best friend Fleance: Banquo s son Lady Macbeth: wife to Macbeth The 3 Weird Sisters/Witches: predict the future Hecate: Queen of the witches Macduff: former friend of Macbeth;loyal to Malcolm

16 Minor Characters: Ross: a nobleman, tells Macduff that his family is dead Lennox: a nobleman Angus: a nobleman (with a fun name!) Menteith & Caithness: noblemen Siward & Young Siward: an English general loyal to Malcolm and his son Apparitions: 3 of them, predict Macbeth s future

17 Background.. The setting is in Scotland and England Shakespeare based this play on historical fact: The Gunpowder Act of 1605 The Elizabethan audience considered this play a thriller even though we know it as a tragedy. This was Shakespeare s shortest play- he hoped that his patron, King James, would come and watch the play. The play is about real people and real emotions: greed, ambition, power and desire!

18 What is a TRAGEDY?.a kind of play in which human actions have inevitable consequences, in which the character s bad deeds, errors, mistakes and crimes are never forgiven or rectified. (Elements of Literature 300).in a tragedy an ill judged-action will remorselessly lead to a catastrophe.(to) death or multiple deaths. (300)

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