Makers of Modern Theatre: An Introduction

Makers of Modern Theatre: An Introduction

Makers of Modern Theatre: An Introduction

Makers of Modern Theatre: An Introduction

Synopsis

Who were the giants of the twentieth-century stage, and exactly how did they influence modern theatre?Robert Leach's Makers of Modern Theatre is the first detailed introduction to the work of the key theatre-makers who shaped the drama of the last century: Konstantin Stanislavsky, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Bertolt Brecht and Antonin Artaud. these practitioners.Leach focuses on the major issues which relate to their dominance of theatre history:*What was significant in their life and times?*What is their main legacy?*What were their dramatic philosophies and practices?*How have their ideas been adapted since their deaths?*What are the current critical perspectives on their work?Never before has so much essential information on the making of twentieth-century theatre been compiled in one brilliantly concise, beautifully illustrated book. This is a genuinely insightful volume by one of the foremost theatre historians of our age.

Excerpt

The modern theatre is the theatre of today. 'Modernist' theatre refers to the theatre of the first fifty or so years of the last century, when Stanislavsky, Meyerhold, Brecht, and Artaud flourished. Their Modernism, however, infiltrates and influences all aspects of modern theatre. They bestride the gap between 'Modernism' and the modern. That is why they were, supremely, the 'makers of modern theatre'.

Modernism is usually- and correctly- associated with startling novelty, with art which deliberately shocks or which deliberately-even joyfully- breaks conventions. It is often designed to be partial, contentious, and challenging. Modernism created the 'avant-garde': those who not only introduced new subject matter to art, but did so by the use of new methods and new forms. They were the Symbolists, the Futurists, the Expressionists, the Surrealists, and all the other innovators and iconoclasts of that period. The richness and originality which they brought to art and culture were almost overwhelming, and it often seems that artists ever since have been working out the implications of their ideas. Certainly in theatre, the giants of the end of the twentieth century, practitioners like Augusto Boal or Peter Stein or Lev Dodin, constantly if implicitly refer in their work to that of their precursors, and often specifically to the four practitioners who form the subject of this book. We may argue, for example, that Feminist theatre capitalised deftly on certain implications of Brechtian theatre, or that contemporary 'physical theatre' owes its birth to the experiments of Meyerhold-or, perhaps, Artaud. And so on. Thus the four may be regarded not only as the makers of Modernist theatre, but as the makers of modern theatre as well.

Modernism was perhaps most forcibly characterised by its awareness that the old certainties of life and society, religion and culture, were fractured for ever by the ideas of Darwin, Marx, Freud, and others. Post-nineteenth-century life, at least in Europe and America, became hard to anchor for many whose primary experience was of incoherence and fragmentation.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.