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epic theatre

Phrase taken from Aristotle, where it implies a series of incidents presented without regard to theatrical conventions, and used in the 1920s by such pioneers as Brecht and Piscator of ...

Epic Theatre

Epic Theatre   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010

... Theatre A highly politicized, Marxist -oriented form of theatre developed in Germany in the early part of the 20th century by Erwin Piscator . It is, however, Piscator's one-time collaborator Bertolt Brecht who is the better known exponent of Epic Theatre. Indeed Brecht's name is virtually synonymous with Epic Theatre, despite the fact that it had a number of other quite prominent adherents including both Mayakovsky and Meyerhold. Doubtless this is due to Brecht's fame as well as his extensive writings on the subject. Epic Theatre is typified by its...

Epic Theatre

Epic Theatre   Reference library

The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2003
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
94 words

... Theatre , phrase taken from Aristotle , where it implies a series of incidents presented without regard to theatrical conventions, and used in the 1920s by such pioneers as Brecht and Piscator of episodic productions designed to appeal more to the audience's reason than to its emotions, thus excluding sympathy and identification. ( See also ALIENATION . ) It employs a multi-level narrative technique and places the main emphasis on the social and political background of the play. Typical of epic theatre were the several productions by Piscator of a...

epic theatre

epic theatre   Reference library

The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
738 words

...an angle of vision for revolutionary times. The term -epic theatre- was coined by the left-wing director Erwin Piscator in the early 1920s. For him, the chief connotation of epic was that of scale, of social dimension. In his work in Berlin – at the Proletarisches Theater, the Volksbühne and particularly in his own house, the Theater am Nollendorfplatz ( 1927–9 ) – he sought, often with less than ideal texts, to make the stage respond to the political battles of the moment. He included a good deal of documentary and indeed didactic material in his...

Epic Theatre

Epic Theatre   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

... Theatre A highly politicized, Marxist -oriented form of theatre developed in Germany in the early part of the twentieth century by Erwin Piscator . It is, however, Piscator’s one-time collaborator Bertolt Brecht who is the better known exponent of Epic Theatre. Indeed Brecht’s name is virtually synonymous with Epic Theatre, despite the fact that it had a number of other quite prominent adherents including both Mayakovsky and Meyerhold. Doubtless this is due to Brecht’s fame as well as his extensive writings on the subject. Epic Theatre is typified by...

epic theatre

epic theatre   Quick reference

The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... theatre A revolutionary form of drama developed by the German playwright Bertolt Brecht from the late 1920s under the influence of Erwin Piscator . It involved rejecting the Aristotelian models of dramatic unity in favour of a detached narrative (hence ‘epic’) presentation in a succession of loosely related episodes interspersed with songs and commentary by a chorus or narrator. As a Marxist, Brecht turned against the bourgeois tradition of theatre in which the audience identifies emotionally with psychologically rounded characters in a well-made...

epic theatre

epic theatre   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to Theatre and Performance

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
391 words

...about what is normal in social relationships. Epic theatre became a medium for a Marxist critique of capitalism's economic and social power structure, insisting that the world can be changed. The influence of epic theatre was spread first by the *Berliner Ensemble 's *touring production of Mother Courage in Paris in 1954 , and ever since has been taken up and adapted by succeeding generations of socially critical artists around the world. See also bourgeois theatre ; documentary drama and theatre ; realism and reality . Sarah...

epic theatre

epic theatre   Reference library

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Theatre and Performance

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
685 words

...( see total theatre ). The influence of epic theatre was spread first by the Berliner Ensemble 's touring production of Mother Courage in Paris in 1954 , directed by Brecht. Documentation of this and other Brecht stagings was published in the next decade or so as an example for future directors. In contrast to Brecht's extensive publications, Piscator's major account of his work, The Political Theatre , was originally published in 1929 but not translated into English until 1978 . Notwithstanding its influence, epic theatre has met with...

Epic theatre

Epic theatre   Reference library

Brewer's Dictionary of Modern Phrase & Fable (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2011

... theatre . A type of anti-naturalistic theatre developed in the 1920s by the German director-dramatists Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht . In plays such as Mother Courage and her Children and The Caucasian Chalk Circle , Brecht sought deliberately to distance audiences from the characters and action on stage through stylized dialogue and the use of songs, thereby encouraging them to focus on understanding the political contexts of the action. Brecht later described this technique as the Verfremdungseffekt (German, ‘alienation...

epic theatre

epic theatre  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Phrase taken from Aristotle, where it implies a series of incidents presented without regard to theatrical conventions, and used in the 1920s by such pioneers as Brecht and Piscator of ...
Richard Duke of York

Richard Duke of York   Reference library

Randall Martin, Will Sharpe, and Anthony Davies

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Literature, Shakespeare studies and criticism, Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
2,705 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...of York (1.4.138) in an attack on Shakespeare in Greene’s Groatsworth of Wit , referring to his ‘Tiger’s heart wrapped in a player’s hide’. Richard Duke of York must also have been performed before an outbreak of the plague closed the theatres on 23 June. On 3 March in the same year the manager-owner of the Rose theatre, Philip Henslowe , records a ‘new’ performance of ‘Harry the VI’ in his diary. This probably refers to Part 1 , which must have been performed by August 1592 , when Thomas Nashe admired it in Piers Penniless his Supplication to the...

Novels

Novels   Reference library

An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
History, modern history (1700 to 1945), Literature
Length:
6,137 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...felt, not entirely accurately, to be a recent one—novelists created a tradition by which readers and critics could estimate their place in the much-debated eighteenth-century ‘progress of romance’, the title of a polemical dialogue by Clara *Reeve . Developing from other genres— *epic , *romance , the journalistic report, drama, spiritual autobiography, and criminal confession or ‘rogue biography’—the novel had always been marked both by the traces of its origins and by an ongoing dialogue with them. The Romantic novel continued this dialogue, a process of...

Venus and Adonis

Venus and Adonis   Reference library

Michael Dobson and Will Sharpe

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Literature, Shakespeare studies and criticism, Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
1,978 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...Shakespeare’s alterations to his material are influenced in part by other stories in Ovid (principally those of Salmacis and Hermaphroditus, and Echo and Narcissus, the latter cited by Venus at l. 161), and in part by a growing fashion for the Ovidian ‘erotic epyllion’ (miniature epic on an amorous theme) which had begun with the publication of Thomas Lodge ’s Scilla’s Metamorphosis in 1589 (written in the same six-line stanzaic form Shakespeare adopts here, rhyming ababcc ). This vogue would find its most famous expression in Marlowe ’s Hero and...

Henry VI Part 1

Henry VI Part 1   Reference library

Randall Martin and Anthony Davies

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Literature, Shakespeare studies and criticism, Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
2,505 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...making military and political decisions with predictable human consequences. Taking their cue partly from the conspicuous stage success the play has enjoyed in the past 50 years, theatre-minded critics have also observed how Part 1 experiments with the full physical resources and configuration of the Elizabethan stage in boldly innovative ways, especially the use of the theatre gallery for vertically oriented assaults and multiply focused action on several levels. Stage productions have also pointed the way for feminist studies of Joan’s subversion of...

The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster

The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster   Reference library

Randall Martin, Will Sharpe, and Anthony Davies

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Literature, Shakespeare studies and criticism, Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
2,732 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...’s The Faerie Queene ( 1590 ). In September 1592 the playwright Robert Greene parodied a line from Richard Duke of York (1.4.138). His allusion indicates that The Contention was also written prior to this date, and before theatres closed because of the plague on 23 June. On 3 March the manager-owner of the Rose theatre, Philip Henslowe , records a ‘new’ performance of ‘Harry the VI’ in his diary. Conceivably, this entry may refer to any of the three Henry VI plays. But contextual evidence suggests it refers only to Part 1 , which must have been...

Richard III

Richard III   Reference library

Randall Martin and Anthony Davies

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Literature, Shakespeare studies and criticism, Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
3,559 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

...Vice, and the play’s encoding of contemporary political debate over royal authority. The last of these crosses over to the second major critical perspective introduced by German Romantic critics such as A. W. Schlegel , who interpreted Richard III as an evolutionary political epic stretching back through the preceding chronicle plays. In 1944 E. M. W. Tillyard ’s Shakespeare’s History Plays situated Richard III as the culmination of a national commedia : Richard is God’s final scourge for the wrongful deposition of Richard II, which eventually led...

Troilus and Cressida

Troilus and Cressida   Reference library

Michael Dobson and Anthony Davies

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Literature, Shakespeare studies and criticism, Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
3,065 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

...and a penchant for set-piece displays of rhetoric, which have sometimes been adduced in support of the theory that it was written for the Inns of Court. The play’s scepticism about all forms of chivalric idealism, most obviously expressed by the cynical Thersites (who reduces the epic of Troy and the love of Troilus and Cressida to ‘wars and lechery’), has led some to see it as merely a satirical, anti-heroic burlesque, but Shakespeare’s compassion for his characters—most obviously the lovers, who for all their failings are given one of the most moving...

Richard II

Richard II   Reference library

Michael Dobson, Will Sharpe, Anthony Davies, and Will Sharpe

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Literature, Shakespeare studies and criticism, Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
2,895 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

... 7 December 1595 to come to supper and see ‘ King Richard present himself to your view’ has usually been identified as alluding to a private performance of Richard II , presumably then new. The dating of the play to 1595 is confirmed by its indebtedness to Samuel Daniel ’s epic poem The First Four Books of the Civil Wars , entered in the Stationers’ Register in October 1594 but apparently only published in 1595 . Ian Richardson (left) and Richard Pasco in John Barton’s celebrated RSC Richard II , 1973 : presented in the deposition scene as...

Henry V

Henry V   Reference library

Michael Dobson and Anthony Davies

The Oxford Companion to Shakespeare (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Literature, Shakespeare studies and criticism, Performing arts, Theatre
Length:
3,163 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

...reminding the audience that despite Harry’s triumphs his son Henry VI lost France and allowed England to fall into renewed civil wars. Artistic features: The Chorus’s speeches contain some of Shakespeare’s most exciting and ambitious poetry, reaching towards the territory of epic, and the King’s two great orations, ‘Once more unto the breach’ (3.1) and ‘This day is called the Feast of Crispian’ (4.3.18–67), are classics of English patriotic rhetoric. The play is more double-edged, however, than these frequently quoted passages may suggest: its depiction of...

39 The History of the Book in the Indian Subcontinent

39 The History of the Book in the Indian Subcontinent   Reference library

The Oxford Companion to the Book

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
History, Social sciences
Length:
10,044 words
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Illustration(s):
1

...paper, and of a firmer structure, though inferior in colour, is now made of materials [from] the growth of India’ (Grierson, 247). Perhaps even more significant than the bibles were the Bengali translations of the two great epics Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata . These were published during 1802–3 , and marked the first appearance of the epics in printed form, in any language. The Press also published dictionaries, grammars, dialogues or colloquies, Sanskrit phrasebooks, philosophy, Hindu mythological tales, *tracts , and the first newspaper in Bengali, the ...

Kleines Organon für das Theater

Kleines Organon für das Theater  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Literature
Was written by B. Brecht to elaborate his theory of epic theatre (see Episches Theater), and published after its completion in 1948 in a special number of Sinn und Form ...

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