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Shakespeare's theatre - Referat

Shakespeare's theatre
1. Background information
Shakespeare started his career not long, after the first public playhouses were established in London.
Many of his plays were written for the Globe.
A number of Shakespeare's later plays were created for the indoor playhouses at Blackfriars.
Shakespeare belonged to a company of players.
His company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men competed with others for the playgoers.
The group was the most successful theatre company in London during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the First.
Shakespeare was one of the principal perfprmers, a playwright and one of the business partner in the group.
Their theatre was the Globe on the south bank of the Thames and later the Blackfriars Theatre, which was covered, in the center of London and the plays were only for higher social classes.
Head of the group was Richard Burbage, a star in his time among the actors.
Shakespeare played only bit parts such as the ghost in Hamlet.
The theatre group lasted until the closure of all theatres at the beginning of the English Civil War in 1642.
In that year, on the eve of the English Civil War, all the playhouses were closed by the order of the Parliament.
Those which were still structurally sound were either converted into dwellings or demolished so that their timbers could be reused elsewhere.

1.1 Playhouses
By the early 17th century, there were several playhouses just outside the City of London.
There were two types of playhouses:
1. The Open-air amphitheaters. Here was the stage projected into the central yard and sometimes covered.
The audience stood around the stage in the yard, where the places were very cheap or stood or sat on the grandsand.
These playhouses relied on natural light.
These theatres had the advantage that the actors could have eye contact with their playgoers, because the amphitheatres were round.
2. The second type are the indoor halls which were rectangular with the stage along one of the short sides.
The audience sat, either in front of the stage where the seats were most expensive or in the grandsands which ran around the other three sides of the room.
These playhouses were lit by candles and torches.
The problem in such rectangular indoor halls was that the actors couldn't have eye contact to their viewers because the stage was built high.
And in addition the actors had to play for example ''executions'' three times, because the hall had three sides.
The playhouses were brightly decorated inside
The audience was mixed, and women as well as men visited both the open-air and the indoor playhouses.
Admission to the open-air amphitheatres cost one old penny and the admission to the indoor halls cost six old pennies.

1.2 Entertainment in Shakespeare's time
The nobility, the court and the Queen were often entertained by elaborate shows and spectacles.
Elizabethan Entertainment was extremely important to people who lived at that time.
It was popular whenever there was something to celebrate
Tournaments, Games, Sports, Gambling, Hunting, the public execution and Bear- and Bull-Baiting played an important part in Elizabethan entertainment.

1.3 Travelling theatre companies & permanent theatres
These are companies of acrobats, comedians and actors who travelled with their costumes, props (Requisiten) and food from town to town.
Oftentimes they played on markets or Church festivals because of a large crowd.
They set up their stage on the village green or in courtyards
In the beginning of the 16th century the travelling theatre companies started to
perform ''real'' plays which means the stories contained several caracters and didn't focus anymore only on texts from the Bible.
London was the best place to go for these companies, because it was in the 16th century a growing city which was full with potential playgoers
The first permanent theatres were build on land in Shoreditch and on Bankside as the Globe. (north east)
Most of the theatres were in sinister areas, with pubs and brothels close by.

1.4 Inside the theatrical world
Most of the companies had 30 or more plays in their repertoire.
That meant for the actor that he had to memorise approximately 15.000 lines, different dances, costume changes and so on.
Only dozen actors are involved in one play plus a few trainees.
The changing of the clothes was a challenge for the actors.
→ On the ones hand the clothes were valuable and expensive and on the other hand there was no velcro, snap fasteners or zips.
In Shakespeare's theatres actors were called players.
There were no actresses, so women parts were played by men.
Most players were hired- out worker, who got paid an agreed rate for their performances,

1.5 The New Globe in London
The New Globe Theatre history started in 1949 when Sam Wanamaker visited the site of the original Globe Theatre in London.
In 1969 he started actively campaigning to reconstruct a replica of the original Globe theatre as used by William Shakespeare.
The theatre was finished in 1997 and opened with a performance of ''Henry the fifth''.
Nowadays ''The New Globe'' in London is not only a theatre for Shakespeare's plays, it has also the fuction to inform the visitors about Shakespeare and the theatre in his time.

2. What is it that catches and holds the audience's attention, creates suspense ?
In Shakespeare's time, the players had to think of different ways to catch and to keep the audience's attention.
In modern theatre's are different signals which show the audience that the play is about to start and they should become quiet.
To catch the attention, Shakespeare introduced conflicts quickly in his plays to intrigue the audience to what happens next.
Shakespeare uses language and situations in the opening scences of every play in a way that catches the audience's interest.
He uses scenes that are short in which there is plenty much happening
For e.g. the opening scene is an extremely short scene composed of hardly ten dialogues, all of which are very short, being composed of short snappy sentences.
The scenes end abruptly, just when the audience is settling down into the scene.
This again heightens the tension and the suspense for the audience.

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