February 21, 2024
Theater Arts People

Places and People Famous for Influencing Theater Arts

The Ancient Greek civilization was responsible for the origin of Theater and evolving arts in that field. One of the most prominent play writers of that time was Aristophanes who was considered to be the best comic dramatist of his times. All his plays revolved around issues like morality, politics, and had an abundance of literature. His story line dealt with the everyday life of the people of Athens. After the Peloponnese War Aristophanes was so deeply effected by the bloodshed of his fellow beings, that he wrote four plays revolving around it. One of the plays “Lysistrata” was the most prominent work of all, which was aimed to bring peace and harmony in the society but with a light note.

After the World War II the whole world was shattered and inhabitants all over the world baldy needed something that would relieve their mind of all the massive destruction and bloodshed. People were so desperate to drift from the harsh reality that some sect of people nicknamed as “Absurdists” gave birth to a different genre of theater known as the Theater of the Absurd. This term was brought into existence by Martin Esslin to name the new kind of plays sprouting in Europe and America. The goal of such plays was to deviate peoples’ mind, although the story line had some preposterous elements embedded in it. Some of the common “Absurdists” were Eugène Lonesco, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet and Harold Pinter. Later on this kind of thinking lead to the development of Philosophy of existentialism according to which more emphasis is paid to individual existence and total freedom. But this philosophy has much wider spectrum and cannot be described in few words.

Meta theaters are that classification of theaters, which blurred the gap between the actors and the audience. The actors are obviously the dynamic part of the play but the onlookers, too, are expected to be participating in the proceedings of the play. Schemes are developed on the spur of the moment so its no longer vivid to the audience what is actual part of the storyline and what patches have been added. This practice was developed during the Elizabethan Era, which is more commonly known as the Renaissance Period and it is still popular in the modern times.

Richard Wagner was the brainchild behind the Theaters known as Gasamtkuntswerk or more commonly referred to as Total Art Work. These brands of theaters are known to have all the flavoring elements that one can think of within its radius. Drama, music, dances and Greek Theater extract work in harmony to bring out the essence of the story being enacted. Steven Berkoff took this concept a step further by introducing actors who could be characters and presented depending on the theme at different times. Props were also used to bring in more realism. With all these elements sometimes the plays reached a level of superficiality and exaggeration.

Jerzy Grotowski gave rise to a different type of Theater, which was targeted, for people of the lower sectors of the society. In Poland, while working with his troupe, Jerzy recognized the needs of the poor people there and understood their inability to shell out money for big theaters. These concepts got popular especially during the 1960s’ and 70s’. In such theaters there wasn’t a separate stage of performing rather the artists and the audience occupied the same space. Since rich people didn’t finance these theaters there was a lack of props, detailed costumes, adequate lightning proper sets, and other technical features. The performers were outstanding and vivid so as to overcome the lack of good costumes. The actors were made to go through rigorous training involving months of practicing and rehearsing. Physical workout was also a part of it. Many acting troupes and aspiring actors go by this method to gain popularity the easier way. Grand Guignol is coined from the Theatre du Grand Guignol of Paris, France, is a kind of theater class, which encompasses a lot of gruesome violence. This term is used till date to refer to bloodshed melodramas.