Restoration Comedy in Performance

Voorkant
Cambridge University Press, 29 aug. 1986 - 271 pagina's
Restoration comedy disappeared from the stage for nearly 200 years until it was revived early this century. Without the benefit of a performance tradition has suffered from an inappropriate literary and moralistic criticism which continues to this day. Yet this brilliant court and coterie comedy of sexual and social behaviour was an extraordinary success in its own time, and enjoys a unique place in theatrical history as an example of the interplay possible between the stage and the audience. In this book John Styan persuades us that only through a performance approach to the great plays of Etherege, Wycherley, Dryden, Shadwell, Vanbrugh, Congreve and Farquhar can we recover a sense of their value. Restoration Comedy in Performance is liberally illustrated with contemporary drawings and modern photographs, and it draws extensively upon documentary and visual evidence of the seventeenth century in order to suggest the importance of the costume and customs, manners and behaviour of the age to an understanding of the sort of theatre and drama it produced. Professor Styan also discusses the problems encountered in the early attempts to revive the comedies in the twentieth century, and pauses frequently in order to offer a descriptive account of a moment of staging or to recreate a scene or a sequence of comic repartee or action. The book aims to bring back to life, therefore, something of a lost art form, not as a piece of conventional stage or production history, but as a true attempt to recognize the virtues of Restoration comedy as a performing art.

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Restoration comedy in performance

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Until recently, critics have dismissed Restoration comedy as superficial, predictable, even obscenea degenerate heir to Elizabethan drama, a crude ancestor of the modern "well-made play.'' Styan finds ... Volledige review lezen

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Inhoudsopgave

Introduction and approach
1
THE CRITICAL REVERSAL
3
THE LIFE IS IN THE STYLE
5
A HOMOGENEOUS AUDIENCE
7
THE BEHAVIOUR OF THE AUDIENCE
8
A SELFCONSCIOUS THEATRE
11
RECREATING THE PERFORMANCE
16
The playhouse and the performance
19
DEPARTURES FROM ACCEPTABILITY
126
THE BREECHES PART
133
Stage and sexual tactics
143
THE SPACIOUS ENTRANCE AND EXIT
147
PATTERNS FOR LOVERS
153
DORIMANT SUFFERS THE RITES OF LOVE
160
LOVERS PLAY LOVERS
163
LOVE IN THE BURLESQUE VEIN
167

THE STAGE DOORS
23
THE BALCONIES
25
THE SCENERY
27
DISCOVERIES
28
FAMILIAR LOCATIONS
29
THE MUSIC
35
LIGHTING AND EFFECTS
36
RESTORATION SETTING ON THE MODERN STAGE
38
The actor
43
THE ACTOR IN COSTUME
45
DORIMANT GREETS THE NEW DAY
54
HIS PERSONAL PROPS
59
THE STYLE IS THE MAN
65
THE BEAU ASSUMES HIS ROLE
70
SIR FOPLING INTRODUCED
75
THE ACTOR SHARES HIMSELF WITH THE AUDIENCE
79
A BRIGHT DANCE OF LIFE
84
The actress
89
EXPLOITING THE ACTRESS
91
DRESS AND UNDRESS
96
THE TOILETTE
102
THE FAN
107
THE MASK
112
THE STYLE OF THE ACTRESS
118
A STAGE FOR DANCING
170
A mode of speech
175
DIFFERENCES IN SPEECH BETWEEN CHARACTERS
179
REPARTEE
182
WHINING OF LOVE
186
LOVE ON THE TONGUE
189
CONTRACTS AND PROVISOS
194
A NOTE ON VERSE SONG AND NONILLUSION
198
DOUBLE ENTENDRE
201
THE GLORIES OF THE ASIDE
204
The spirit of the performance
210
REAL OR ARTIFICIAL?
212
TOWN AND COUNTRY MATTERS
214
CHASE AND CAPTURE SEDUCTION AND CONQUEST
217
MISMATCHES AND CUCKOLDRY
227
A NOTE ON DISGUISING
232
AIMWELLS SWOON
234
A TEMPLE OF PAGAN DELIGHTS
238
THE SPIRIT THE STYLE AND THE REVIVALS
243
Appendices
252
The comedies in order of popularity 16601747
258
Selected bibliography
259
Index
264
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