Study Guide for Theatre History



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Study Guide for Theatre History

Ms. Alvarez-Jackson-aalvarez@agbumds.org

Spring, 2013

Final Written Exam on Friday, May 17th at 8:00 am

Medieval Theatre-“Middle Ages” “Dark Ages” app-5th to 15th century in Europe

Please review your notes for why the Medieval Period was considered “dark.”

Medieval is sandwiched between the Roman and Renaissance periods. People during this time were concerned primarily about the after-life. There was very little focus on the human experience or, certainly, the glorification or celebration of art, literature, music and theatre.

In terms of theatre, the Medieval Period was considered a very quiet time. There were no actual playwrights, no theatre structures and theatre, in general, was considered immoral unless it involved the teaching of bible stories or values that reinforced Christian teachings.

Two types of theatre emerged: The Mystery Cycles and The Morality Tales. Please review your notes for the specifics of each.

Please be able to discuss/write about how theatre was produced during the Middle Ages. Remember, there were no theatre structures so the Guilds produced certain Morality Tales or Mystery cycles to be performed during the spring season. Guilds were kind of like Unions for the tradesmen and these Guilds would compete to have the best production. The one who won the best production often received free advertising for his product/service in town. The actors in the plays traveled through town in Pageant Wagons that served as mode of transportation, stage area, dressing room and storing house for set pieces, costumes etc..

Please understand the following terms:

Foreshadowing- A preview of coming events often fraught with tension

Rising action-when the action of the plot becomes more tense

Catharsis- an emotional turning point in the plot of a theatre piece or literary work

Denounement-Falling Action

Theme-Central Message



Elizabethan Theatre app: 1550-1650

A time in theatre history during the English Renaissance when Queen Elizabeth was on the throne of England. 1558-1603- Queen Elizabeth. She practiced both religious tolerance and celebrated the arts in England.

Theatres were legalized and built in Southwark.

The first theatre was called The Theatre.

William Shakespeare wrote over 30 plays 1564-1616 and established one of the most successful theatres along the bank of the river Thames. This theatre was called The Globe.

Please review your notes for the significance of the name “The Globe” and how it was reflected in the architecture of the theatre.

Please review your notes for the seating of The Globe and how it reflected the socio-economic status of all.

Terms to know:

Hell Mouth-a trap door in the stage

Tiring House-Dressing room

Playwright-an author of a play. During the Elizabethan period there were no copywright laws so playwrights were not protected. When a playwright wrote something his work was commissioned by someone (paid for) and became their property after it was completed.

Characterization-voice and physical changes made to a body to create a different point of view.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream- Please know the characters within the Mechanicals scene. For example “What does each Mechanical do for a living?” What is a Dumb Show? What is the plot of the play within the play?

Vocal Projection-speaking clearly and with volume on stage “pro”-forward

Blocking-stage movement

Read-thru-reading over the lines of a script as a group

Casting-Assigning roles



Please be prepared to answer critical thinking questions related to these time periods, performance styles and theatre in general.

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