Elisabethanisches Theater - the Elizabethan and modern theatre

Theater der englischen Renaissance unter Königin Elisabeth I., Referat, Hausaufgabe, Elisabethanisches Theater - the Elizabethan and modern theatre
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The Elizabethan and modern theatre

In the Elizabethan and modern theatre, there are different types of playhouses. (playhouse = house or building where dramatic performances take place; synonym: theatre).

In the Elizabethan age you can distinguish 3 types of venues:

  • The 1. kind are the private inn yards, which were affordable for everyone due to small fees. Especially vagabonds (= people who wander from place to place without a fixed home) and theatre companies performed here when they travelled.
  • The second type are the Playhouses, in which it was possible to stage plays in winter and summer, but only a few of these private halls existed in London. Today a lot of them are retained.
  • And the third kind of theatres in the Elizabethan age were the Amphitheatres. Their design is based on the Colosseum; therefore, it got an open roof. The most common playhouse of this kind is the Globe theatre, were plays are staged even today.

In Modern theatres, there are a lot of different playhouses with different stages and theatre halls. We focused on four:

  • The 1. kind is the stage of the thrust stage,which is extended so that the audience surrounds it on three sides and it can be backed by an enclosed proscenium stage, which provides a place for a background scenery.
  • The 2. type of stages is the End Stage, were the audience sits on 1 side of the stage facing it. Therefore, the audience is able to only focus on the play without any distraction.
  • The third kind are stages in Proscenium theatres, which are located at one end of the auditorium, physically separated from the audience space →seems like the stage is a frame with a moving picture inside
  • The last kind can be found in Opera Houses, where the auditorium is almost always multilevel with side boxes

Unlike the Elizabethan age, were plays usually took place in summer, plays in modern theatre can be staged all year long.

In Elizabethan theatres the stage is close to the ground and therefore easily accessible by all audience members. Due to the fact, that the actors did not have a lot of equipment, it was common, that a person would inform the audience about the surrounding and the circumstances of the scene (that`s called world-scenery).Also, the use of candles as a source of light wasn`t usual, because the risk of an outbreak of fire was too high. Therefore, only natural light was “used”. And sound was made off stage.

In Modern theatres, the stage is risen above a sitting crowd, which separates the audience and the actors and makes interaction impossible. Whether a complex or a minimal set is used depends on the play, but in general the theatres have a huge selection of equipment for example enclosed walls, microphones and music. Furthermore, stage lights are used on set to be able to make one actor the centre of attention.

In the Elizabethan age, theatres were an immensely popular form of entertainment and fun for the audience.

Modern theatre on the other side isn´t a mass entertainment anymore. The main audience of modern theatres are older people and classes. In general theatre-going is replaced by cinemas and often considered as a serious event.

In the Elizabethan theatre the cheap seats were in the front. The audience had to sit on the ground or to stand during the performance, the expensive seats were in the tiers surrounding the stage. To attract as much customers as possible, the theatres had to change the plays constantly. Therefore, companies performed up to 5 different plays a week. As a result, the people were willing to pay admission fees of nearly a day`s wage. But in general, you can say, that theatre-going was an affordable entertainment for all member of society. A ticket costed between 1 – 2 pennies

In Modern theatre the most expensive seats are up front near the stage and the cheap seats are far away from the stage, often up in the balconies. Tickets cost at least 50 – 80 pounds and the playhouses do not have to change the plays constantly.

You probably all know expressions and words like “fight fire with fire”, “brave new world”, “the naked truth”, “love is blind”, “lonely”, “land-rat”, “manager”. These and about 1,700 words were invented by Shakespeare and are still used in the English language today. Thereof, you can conclude, that Shakespeare and other famous playwrights had an enormous influence not only on the society but also on the English language.