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Among the subjects addressed by Ibsen in his plays are: euthanasia , the role of women , war and business , and syphilis. Later in life, Ibsen turned to more symbolic and abstract dramas; but his "realism" affected others, and helped lead to realistic theatre, which has become, despite variations and rejections against it, the predominant form of theatre even today.

George Bernard Shaw — in England. Made fun of societies notion using for the purpose of educating and changing. His plays tended to show the accepted attitude, then demolished that attitude while showing his own solutions. Chekhov is known more for poetic expiration and symbolism, compelling psychological reality, people trapped in social situations, hope in hopeless situations.

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He claimed that he wrote comedies; others think they are sad and tragic. His plays have an illusion of plotlessness. Again, his realism has affected other Playwrights, as did his symbolic meanings in the texts of his plays and in the titles of his plays. O ther M ovements. Two other "movements" that developed concurrently with realism warrant our attention, Naturalism and the Independent Theatre Movement.

Each of these had an influence on the developing realist movement. N aturalism.

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While Ibsen was perfecting realism, France was demanding a new drama based on Darwinism:. Attitudes shifted: the working man had few privileges, it appeared, and socialism gained support. By , every major country in Europe had a Constitution except Russia ; there was therefore a strong interest in the plight of the working class. Science and technology became major tools for dealing with contemporary problems. Literature, he felt, must become scientific or perish; it should illustrate the inevitable laws of heredity and environment or record case studies.

"Theatre and History: Cultural Transformations"

To experiment with the same detachment as a scientist, the writer could become like a doctor seeking the cause of disease to cure it, bringing the disease in the open to be examined , aiming to cure social ills. He also wrote a few treatises about naturalism in the theatre and in the novel: he wanted art to detect "a scrap of an existence.


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The most famous phrase we hear about naturalism is that it should be "a slice of life. Naturalism, as it was interpreted, almost obliterated the distinction between life and art. As you can imagine, there is a serious lack of good naturalistic plays and embodying its principles, has it is virtually impossible to do. Henri Becque most nearly captured the essence of naturalism in two of his plays, The Vultures and La Parisienne , both of which it dealt with sordid subjects, were pessimistic and cynical, had no obvious climaxes, had no sympathetic characters, and progressed slowly to the end.

However, Becque refused to comply with suggested changes when the show was first produced in a conservative theatre, so naturalism was still not really accepted. T he I ndependent T heatre M ovement. Antoine has become known as the father of naturalistic staging. He had little acting or theatre Experience—he was a clerk in a gas Co.

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His theatre did many plays that had been refused licenses other places for instance, Ghosts had been banned in much of Europe. While some of the plays tended to reverse morality—repelling many and helping to lead to the idea that naturalism was depraved—key paved the way for greater freedom in established theatres.

He had seen the Meiningen troupe and was influenced to produce authenticity: real beef carcasses hanging on stage; the "box set" was used so that "the fourth wall" was adhered to constantly he popularize the terms and the ideas—legend has it that he arranged rooms as they would be, and then later decided what wall to "remove" ; he discouraged declamation in favor of more natural acting; replaced footlights with more natural lighting; emphasized ensemble acting; and adhered to his belief that each play had its own environment.

Antoine had many problems: as actors became well-known, they left the company; his high standards left him always in debt; and his theatre did only three performances of any production. The Independent Theatre Movement developed in other countries as well. For instance, in Germany, many small theatres had opened up buying in Berlin, but were severely limited by censorship in their choice of plays.

This first wave of European modernism reached the United States in the late s and throughout the s, coming to prominence through productions in New York City.

The second stage of European modernism dates from through the s and is characterized predominantly by the absurdist and epic genres. Unlike the first wave, the dramas of the second wave of European modernism were not first produced in New York. Instead, these plays were often given their premieres in smaller cities across the United States: San Francisco, Seattle, Cleveland, Hartford, Boston, and New Haven, in the regional theatres which were rapidly proliferating across the United States.

In this study I address and answer a basic question: why were the majority of these European plays first staged outside of New York City at the resident theatre companies? The choice to stage the second-wave dramas was often influenced by various contributing factors: the work of prominent directors who devoted their careers to the second-wave dramas, the work of translators who rendered these plays into English, the influence of critics and scholars who helped to introduce and explain the new dramas, the emergence of academic theatre journals, the publishers that made these plays available across the United States, and the embrace of the new dramas by the American universities.

She writes on English manuscript and early print culture, on instructional texts, and on early modern drama and outlaw literature. Emer Purcell epurcell nui. She has published widely on the history of the vikings in Ireland and medieval Dublin. Her research interests focus on settlement, identity, and cultural interaction in medieval Ireland.

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Author information Open Access Our Partners. Explores the movement and exchange of texts and ideas across boundaries and geographical spaces in medieval Europe, relating Anglophone and Latinate writings as well as in a broad range of other vernaculars. Forthcoming publications. Recent publications. Browse by series. Browse by subject.