Roman Forum 2006

Roman Forum 2006
Foro Romano, from the Palatine Hill - a favorite photo from one of my favorite cities

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bloggo Hysterico: A Fractured History of the Theatre via Gaffs, Misunderstandings and Muck-Ups in roughly chronological order Part 3


Gozzi was an aristocrat.  He used exotic locals in his plays, which really spiced up the scenery. (!)
Carlo Gozzi

Gozzi’s works were highly fanticifal.

Carlo Gozzi wrote fanticiful plots that could stretch beyond the imagination

(could the above two students been seated next to each other?)

Gozzi created fiables.

One of Gozzi’s plays is The Venetian Twirl

Gozzi chased Goldoni out of Italy for a number of years.
Carlo Goldoni

Gozzi and Goldoni fought an everpresent battle between spectacle and trueism.

In Goldoni’s Essay on Theatre he stated that comedy should not be improved.

Goldoni wrote in a style called libretti.

(alternate spellings of Goldoni include):

Giddoni, Goldini


Licensing Act of 1737:  The king of England could not speak English and so he was exiled. William Walpole came in and took his place. 
(??? The king referred to is George I who had very little English, but who was not exiled -- see entries below for continued confusion)

Wallpall, Woolpoll, Wallpoll
(misspellings of Prime Minister Robert – not William, as the first entry in this section has it – Walpole)

Before 1737 a new king was brought back to England from exile.  Unfortunately he didn’t speak English.

The Licensing Act of 1737 was put into effect after Richard II (!) was returned to power.
(for the record, Richard II was born in 1367 and died in 1400)

The Licensing Act of 1737 tremendously stunned the growth of the theatre.

It seems that Susanna and the Pope were not fans of each other.  For one thing, she was a Whig and he was a Tory...The Pope wrote a pamphlet called A Further Account, which included Susanna with other followers.  The Pope also wrote a farce.

The Pope was a big fan of Garrick and went to see him three times during his first major performance.
(I was completely baffled by the above two answers until I realized that the students refer not the Pope in Rome, but to Alexander Pope, the British man of letters! Susanna refers to Susanna Centlivre a British playwright/actress of the era )
This is the pope:
Clement XII, pope between
1730 and 1740

and this is Alexander Pope
died 1744

(A student writing about David Garrick claimed):  There has been virtually nothing poorly written about this man.  (I would add, “until, perhaps, now.”)
Aquatint of Garrick!

David Garrick was well aquatinted with other prominent 18th century actors.
(While we see that the student wanted the word “acquainted” rather than aquatinted” there WERE aquatints of Garrick and other prominent eighteenth century actors, so in a twisted way, s/he is right!)

An example of sentimental comedy was Sir Richard Steele’s Honest Dick.
(“Honest Dick” was a nickname for Richard Steele, not a play. There is another rather naughty reading of this answer…)

Sentimental comedy: tears of a clown.

George Gillo wrote The London Merchant.

George Libbol wrote The London Merchant.
(George Lillo is the name the above two are going for)

A famous writer of laughing comedy was Goldsmith, who wrote La Chaussee; another writer of laughing comedy was George Lillo.
(La Chaussée was a French writer of comédie larmoyante, a form similar to sentimental, not laughing comedy – but La Chaussée is not a play -- oh, and George Lillo wrote domestic tragedy, not laughing comedy)

Oliver Goldsmith wrote a manifesto bringing laughter back into the theatre.  He wrote She Stops to Corner.
19th c production of She Stoops to Conquer
(not Corner or Conjure)

Oliver Goldsmith wrote She Stoops to Conjure.

Goldsmith wrote the laughing comedy, The Stoop.
(the above 3 titles are feeble attempts at Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer)

Olivier Goldstern (one alternate spelling for Goldsmith)

Sheridan based his laughing comedies on Reconstruction comedies.

Covet Garden, The Covet Theatre, Covenant Gardesn, Covet Gardens
(several butcherings of Covent Garden)

The Drury Lane and Covent Garden were the only theatres licensed by the king until 1766 when the Haymaker was licensed as a summer theatre.
(the answer is accurate except for the unfortunate alternative for the Haymarket!)
This is a haymaker
and this is the Haymarket

Kemble acted in the teacup style.
John Philip Kemble acting in the
teaPOT style, here seen as the calmest
Hotspur on record


Diderot wrote The Natural Selection.

An example of le drame is Diderot’s The Natural’s Son.

Le drame was written by Deirdero.
(the above three all refer to Diderot, who wrote a play called The Natural Son – “natural” referring to a bastard)

Although De Loutherbourg was not Italian, he was very significant.

Bishmarsee,  Buiosuissone
(butcherings of Beaumarchais)
Beaumarchais wrote the Barber of Seville and the Ballad of Figaro.

Beaumarchais wrote “The Barber of Salville”

The French used the “mellow drame,” which was their equivalent to melodrama.

The Romantic movement in France was caused by lots of different
circumstances, especially the Licensing Act of 1737.  Someone started a fire at the Drury Lane which put that theatre out of commission for a while.  This started the Romantic movement in France, because theatre needed a place to rebuild again.
(I have no words)

The night that the Romantic movement exploded in Paris was the opening of Victor Hernani’s Hugo.

Hugo’s Hermisi.
(the correct author/title for the above two is Victor Hugo’s Hernani)

Daguerre invented the diorama, which were translucent clothes. (!!!)

The Wrath of Medusa was a panorama show.
(This confused answer refers to The Raft (Wrath for Raft?) of the Medusa (based on the gruesome aftermath of the sinking of a ship of that name, which was indeed the subject of a panorama show, and a play, and a painting by Gericault)

Gericault's The Raft of the Medusa

Strum und drang is German for “storm and stress”


American Theatre cannot be mentioned without mentioning the Hallam Co.

(there were several variations on the first major African American actor Ira Aldridge, including):
Ira Melbrige, Ian Aldridge, Iad Aldridge, Ira Eldridge.
Ira Aldridge, the African Roscius
(and on The African Roscius – referring to the ancient Roman actor – the title he was given):  
African Rauchus, Rouchus, Rooge, Racius, Raceous, Ratious, Black Rascicuis.

Ira Aldride played Alan the Moore in Titus Andronicus in England.
(that would be Aaron the Moor)

Mr. Brown wrote about African resurrection in Haiti, in King Shotaway.
(the above student got the title right, though s/he screwed up insurrection – the students below didn’t to as well with the title.)

The first African American play was called King Sailaway.

The first African American play was called King Shadaway.

The first African American play was called The Escape, featuring the character King Salaway.
(the above student confused William Wells Brown’s 1858 play The Escape, or A Leap to Freedom, with King Shotaway – or Salaway as s/he puts it – which another Mr. Brown wrote in 1823 for the African Grove (not Groove, as the students below would have you believe)

The first African American Company was called the African Groove.

The first African American theatre was the American Groove.

The Astor Palace Riots were the worst in US theatre history.
(one letter ruins this answer, as it was at Astor Place, not Astor Palace, or Astley Place in the entry just below, that the riots occurred)
Astor Place Riots
Macready was playing the Astley Place Theatre in New York City.

McGreedy, McKreedy, or MacReary
(variations on W.C. Macready, the English actor targeted by the riots)

The Astor Place Riots was partially a result of the anti-British
semitism in the US. (!)

At Astor Place, a large group of anti-British sentimentalists gathered.

The Astor Place Riots reflected the anti-British sentimentality of the U.S.
(the above three students were reaching unsuccessfully for the word “sentiments”)

Big plantation was a style of putting real, big things on stage.
(free plantation is what the student wanted here, along with a better definition)

Daly wrote Light under the Gas Lamps.

One of Augustin Daly’s plays was Under the Gas Can.
(Daly’s play is Under the Gaslight)

Augustin Daly strived to have his ideas run throughout the entire company, manajatorial, (!!!) scenic, and other.

Daly started an ensemble company that did not feature any starts

Eva Rion, Eva Riehn, Eva Reihn, Eva Rien, Ada Rean, Ada Rian,
 Eva Reigh, Aida Rein, Eva Rhean, Ada Rheo, Eva Richu, Evan Rhein, Eva Rhine

(variations on the name of Daly’s leading actress and mistress, Ada Rehan, pictured on the left)

A major actress of Daly’s was Laura Keene.  Eventually Daly’s company lost several actors to Hollywood. (!!!)

Two of Daly’s actors were Edwin Booth and Laura Keene.  She was eccentric and had a wooden leg. (!)

The panorama is a very long cloth on a spindle, called a spieler.

An example of Diorama is the Burning of the Cows

An example of panorama is Mississippi Burning
(the above two examplse refer to the Burning of Moscow, a diorama rather than a panorama…the burning of the cows mystifies me, but Mississippi Burning was a film with Gene Hackman, wasn’t it? – NO similarity, but there was a well-known panorama of the Mississippi River)

Minstrel shows and showboats would perform on the stages of vaudeville houses.
(minstrel shows yes, but showboats…???)

Ada Isaacs Mencken’s body suit for Mazeppa was so reveling (!) for the time that advertisers could tell the public she would be nude. (!!!)

Edwin Booth’s most famous role is his portrayal of Hamlet, which indecently he played for one hundred nights which is a record not broken until 1923
(I think that instead of indecently the student meant to write incidentally, don't you?)


Edmund Kean embodied the Westward Movement because this style was noted for inspirational outbursts and erratic behavior.
(eh??? By Westward s/he MUST mean Romantic, but how you get from one to the other I do not know)

Henry Irving was the first actor to be knitted. 
Statue of Sir Henry Irving
at the National Portrait Gallery

Henry Irving was a mellowdramatatist at heart. 

Henry Irving played many roles in Shakespeare's plays which included Hamlet, Othello, Romeo and Juliet and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. His performance of Shylock is why many families name Jewish boys Irving. 

Electric lighting began in 1881 at the Savory Theatre in London, started by Richard D’Oyley Carte.
(he wants Savoy rather than Savory here, at least so one hopes!)

I hope you can read the above, re the Savoy, not Savory, Theatre


The well-made theatre was the first movement in the new era showing a great rise in suspense. Example: Camus’ play A Glass of Water.

Schlabs play A Glass of Water presented new ideas.
(the play title is right, but the author is not Albert Camus nor Schlab but Scribe and the reference in the first answer is to the well-made play, though there is something to be said for a well-made theatre.)

La Triviata
(maybe my favorite ever botched opera title, referring of course to Verdi’s famous opera La Traviata)

When naturalism in French theatre began there was a major push towards realism -- actually using running water and stage props like cigarette smoking, knitting with yarn and needles, and of course drinking.  Francois Delsarte began this movement and he thought the body should portray emotion with his nine stages of the eye.  French theatre encompassed the science of art. 

Coquelin played Cyrano de Bergerac and Sarah Bernhardt played Christine in the Phantom of the Opera at the new Paris Opera House.
Coquelin played Cyrano

And Bernhardt played many roles (Cleopatra here)
but never ever Christine!
Naturalism: the belief that an actor should present a picture of life without having himself present.

In 1887 the Theatre Libre was founded by Antoine.  He allowed some shows to go up like Osborne’s Look Back in Anger.  It started as a summer theatre, but grew into a huge theatre. (!)

People needed to see realistic and naturalistic plays.  Andre Antoine heard the silent cries of the masses and reacted.

The major playwright of naturalism was Tristan Tzara. 
(just fyi, Tzara founded Dada, about as anti-naturalist as you could get!)

The major playwright of naturalism was Antoine Artaud.

Anthony Antoin became very fond of naturalism and opened a theatre in 1887, the Theatre of the Absurd. (!)
Plaque honoring Antoine and the
Théâtre Libre

Anton Andre, Andre Antonin, A. Anoin, Antonin, Antoine Augustine
(all attempts at the correct spelling of André Antoine, founder of the Théâtre Libre)

Debonaire was the main naturalist playwright and he wrote Therese Beque.

The main naturalist playwright was Therese Raquin.

The Theatre Libre was where a play by Therese Raquin was performed.

Therese Raquel

Emeile Zola wrote Terese Rienalde.

In the year 1879 Duse played the leading role of Emile Zola in Therese Raquin and really impressed the audience as well as critics with her astonishing work.

Eleonora Duse’s first big hit was in 1879 as the lead character in Emile Zola’s Therese Requiem, in Naples.

Emily Zola was a major figure in the French National movement.  Her play, Esther Brileme was first staged at the Theatre Libre.
Emile Zola - no she he

Emily Zola wanted to show life as it really is, and that wasn’t a pretty thing.

Emilie Zola wrote Therese Noir.

Amelie Zola wrote naturalism.

Zola wrote the gritty drama Thessare Resbare.

Naturalism began with Zola’s play Tres Requiem.

Emile Zola came up with the romatic melodrame.
(what you need to know about all of the twisted entries after the one on Coquelin and Bernhardt is that André Antoine founded the Théâtre Libre, that Emile Zola wrote Thérèse Raquin – and that’s about all there is to say about French Realism and Naturalism…shudder!)

Friday, November 23, 2012

Bloggo Historico (make that Hysterico): A Fractured History of the Theatre via Gaffs, Misunderstandings and Muck-Ups in roughly chronological order Part 2

Hello readers! Dottore Gianni does not want to repeat the entire introduction, but if anyone is just starting with the Bloggo Historico you might want to have a quick look at the beginning of Part 1 for clarification.

For the rest of you, Part 2 will take you to approximately where I end the first semester of the course. I think I'll divide the second semester into three parts, but stay tuned! And continue to enjoy!


The University Wits was a college that educated English students during the Renaissance. (!)

Friar Bacon and Friar Bugle
(the second friar in this title of a play by one of the university wits, Robert Greene, is actually named Bungay, but I really like Bugle!)


Shakespeare’s histories are eposotic.

History plays were loosely structured and were usually tetralogical in order, i.e. trilogies.

History plays are widely thought of as Shakespeare’s more boring plays and are not as widely preformed.

Shakespeare’s comedies were about the pursuit of the love, the wooing of the love, and then the capturing of the love.

Problem plays contained dark underbellies (!) and some comic characters.

I can’t describe Shakespeare’s problem plays -- that’s why they’re called problem plays.

One of Shakespeare’s romances is, I believe, The Turning of the Shrew.

Shakespeare’s romances are really difficult to define.  Like, in The
Winter’s Tale -- is or was she really dead?

Shakespeare was said to have written so many plays that they had to be broken up into categories: histories, comedies, and tragedies.

Henslowe was the leader of the Duke Admirable’s Men.
(this student is thinking of the Lord Admiral, not the Duke Admirable)


Many Elizabethan playhouses were located across the Themes.

An Elizabethan Public Playhouse
 Elizabethan theatres were outside the city, as the fathers of the church didn’t think it was appropriate to have theatre on moral ground.

In an Elizabethan theatre, the audience closest to the stage, the best seats, was standing only. This was not considered the best seating. (???)

The Globe was famous for Shakespeare, the Swan was famous for being burnt down.

The Glove Theatre had the misfortune of being burned down.

The Fountain Theatre, the only rectangular public theatre in Elizabethan times, was one of the last to be built.
(close – the student is referring to the Fortune)


Jon Benson wrote court masques. 
(that would be Ben Jonson – interesting inversion)

Indigo Indio Ingino Jones…
(All of these refer to the designer of court masques, Inigo Jones)

Inigo Jones design for the masque Florimene
 The court masques were highly spectaclized.  They were highly stylized, used a lot of color and controlled make-up.

Court masques were skepticals that were performed by the king.  They became more about the skeptical than the script.

The Court Masque was an award given by the king to someone who made a great commitment to the theatre.

The court masque was a form of theatre created to worship gods.


John Ford wrote the tragedy ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whorse.
(to which I can only say neigh…sorry, make that nay!)


The autos sacramentales were highly religious Spanish plays, very secular.

In Fuenteovejuna, the Futile lord of the town has been raping and murdering his servants.

Fuego Lorca…Fentevejo
(attempts at the difficult-to-spell play by Lope de Vega – interestingly, the student writing the entry just above these gets the very difficult title right, but botches the less difficult word “Feudal.”)

Lope’s most famous play is about the death of Horatio and the quest for revenge by his son Geronimo.

(much confusion below about the mosqueteros, or musketeers, who stood in the patio (similar to the yard in an Elizabethan public theatre)
The mosquito area of the Spanish auditorium was standing room only.

The mosquitoes are the lowest class at Spanish theatres.

The Spanish public theatre at Almagro
still in use today
 In Spain, the pit was called the patio and its inhabitants were mosquitoes.

The back of the patio was called the mosqueteros, where people like musketeers stood.

Mosqueteros were the cheapest tickets for standing room in the patio behind the benches.

Above the refreshment stand in a Spanish theatre unaccompanied women called cazuelas sat.

In the back of the theater was also the cazuela, which was a kitchen where women would cook food

The second floor balcony also known as a cazuela, is where unescorted women would sit. This was often thought to be a ‘stew pot”. Above this, on the third floor were the tortillas where city officials would sit.
(the first sentence here is a good answer for “cazuela, unlike those above it – the direct translation for cazuela is “stew pot” or “casserole” – but instead of tortillas the area above the cazuela was la tertulia – close, but you’ve got to like tortillas!)

The stage of the Spanish corral theatre had no trust like that of the Elizabethan public theatre.

Actresses in companies of the Spanish Golden Age were required to be married or otherwise related to a male member.
(!!! Adding “of that company” after “member” would have helped immensely here)


In 1640 the Cardinal Palais decided to build a theatre in his home.
(the cardinal was Richelieu, the Palais Cardinal was his home)

Cardinal Richelieu
(re several entries just below, the French Academy was not an acting troupe, but was a gathering of scholars hand-picked by Cardinal Richelieu to discuss literary issues. The group quickly became the arbiter of taste in French literature, including its drama. The group took Corneille’s play Le Cid to task for trying to squeeze too many events into the 24 hour structure  – one of the three “unities”  – not units  – of time, place and action  – and otherwise pushing “verisimilitude” beyond appropriate limits. I hope this helps! I hope some of you remember!)

The French Academy started as an acting troupe in France. (!) It’s power came from the cardinal who started the company.  Corneille’s Le Cid was produced by the Academy, and then dissed in the press.

The Academy’s role has proved to be very useful in controversial situations like that of the play The Cid written by Richelieu.

Corneille was attacked for his play Le Cid by the University Wits (Greene, Kyd, and Marlowe).

Corneille wrote his play within a 24 hour period and he was heavily criticized.

In Le Cid Corneille breaks the rule of the three units. 
(as noted above, read “unities” for “units”)

Most of Corneille’s plays dealt with family or social issues and proved to be rather dull.

Racine put complex characters in simple plots.  Therefore, it was neoclassical.

Racine was successful at accomplishing Neoclassical rules because he presented the epilogue at the beginning of the play to inform the audience of the current events in order to be able to use the rules of time, place, and action correctly. (eh?)

Racine loosely followed neoclassical rules with his play Dr. Faustus.


Moliere wrote for plays for The Rose, including Dr. Faustus.

 In all of Moliere’s plays there is always a older man who is quite a braggot. Everyone makes fun of him.  Moliere even has a maid fool him.  This is very controversial.  How could a stupid maid outwit a wealthy man?

Madeleine Bejart was a very permiscious individual.

Madeleine Bejart was 24 years older than Armande, and while said to be her sister was rumored to be her daughter.

Some thought that Armande [Bejart} was the daughter of Moliere and Madeleine, but I don’t know about that.

Armande Bejart
 While playing in The Imaginary Illness, a play about a hypochondriac, Molière collapsed on the stage.

The Théâtre du Marais produced such comedies and tragedies as Un Chamber A Quatre Portes, or A Room With Four Doors and Palais A Volonte, or The Place In Front of The Palace.
(the play titles are actually descriptions of two basic settings in French theatre at this time, the first for comedy, the second for tragedy – this student had clearly pulled an all-nighter!)


Theatre existed as pubic entertainment in the Restoration. (ahem!)

Revivals were plays performed again for the very first time.

Nahum Tate called King Lear “a string of pearls on a doorknob.”
(it’s Shakespeare’s Lear that Tate refers to (he wrote his own “improvement” of the play, but the phrase he used about the Shakespeare is “a string of pearls unadorned.” I suppose you could hang a string of pearls on a doorknob, however!)

In heroic tragedy, the hero and heroine are united in the end by rhyming couplets.
(LOVE this!)

Heroic tragedies were based on Greek and Roman plays.  The verse was in prose.

Aphra Behn wrote The Rover, which dealt with the sexual rampage of women.

Aphra Behn specialized in comedy of intentions.

Comedies of manners were about permissiveness, sexual connotation, and deceit.

The Comedy of Manners never invades heavy types like wits and family. (???)

Ehterige, Wycherley and Congreve were all writers of the form called comedy of errors. (!)

(Below, fops in general and Sir Fopling Flutter in particular caused some confusion)
Etherege used handsome young men and the flops.

Etherege liked to make fun of society, mostly the lower class, called foplings.

Colley Cibber as Lord Foppington
 In addition to the young galliants, Etherege also included clumsy foxes.

Etherege wrote a play called Sir Flopping Flutter.

Etherege wrote Sir Flopping Futter.

Etherege wrote Sir Fopply Flutters.

Etherege’s plays include Sir Foply of Fullerton

Sir Flopping Fopper

Sir George Etherege began the Fop’s Troupe, which really consisted of a bunch of flops players.

What Etherege also did very well was creating a subplot as well as subtitles. (???)

There is a mix of the unique and School for Wives in Wycherly’s play, The Country Wife. The main character claims that he has been castrated so he would be trusted by other men.  He tries to get with a Pinchwife, who is disguised as a boy, and succeeds in the end.

Robert Greenege wrote The Way of the World.

The Way of the Worlds

Congreve wrote Wise Words to the World.

Convert’s Way of the World is an example of comedy of manners.

The actor Thomas Betterton and particularly the last name of actress Anne Bracegirdle proved another source of confusion for some, below)

Betterton was known for his vocal powerlessness.

Famous Restoration actors include George Bennerton, and Anne Bingertude.

Another woman that had contact with Betterton was Ann Barnedirdle.

A Restoration actress was Anne Gracegirdle.

Anne Bracegirdle
Anne Bridesgale was a Restoration comic actress.

Anne Bracegone acted in the Restoration theatre.

Anne Bracegirdle became famous for the pants roles.  In some circles, it was rumored that she was secretly married to Corneille.

Armande Bridegirdle was a Restoration actress known for extreme beauty and her role as Millistrude in The Way the World Works.

Betterson tutored Anne Gardegirdle.

With her legendary status still in tacked Bracegirdle was buried in Westminster Abbey.


Nell Gwynn had an affair with the actor Charles Heart.
(Hart, but I'll bet she broke his heart!)

Nell Gwyn
 Nell Gwynn became mistress to Richard II.

Nell Gwyn had two sons by Charles II, one of whom died....

Nell Gwyn usually played the orange wench (a character who gave out oranges to the poor).

Nell Gynn was a peach wench.

Nell Gwynn’s specialty was dressing up in men’s clothing and delivering the prologues and epilogues of plays, called the “breeches roles.”

Nell Gwynne was most known for breecher roles.

Charles II became interested in Nell Gwynn during the prologue to Dryen’s Tyrabbuck in Love.”
(that would be Dryden’s Tyrannick Love)

Charles II impregnated England with actresses on stage. (???)

In many western European countries women were allowed to perform in things such as Beijing opera.

Jeremy Collier was a French playwright who wrote Le Cid.  The Academy ripped him to pieces, so he took a couple of years off and bitterly wrote “A Short View of the English Stage.” (!)


As the prosenium entered the theatre world, it drastically effelte the
approache of scenery.

The pricinium arch changed the theatre.

In the 17th century the first parmecious arch theatre was built.
(Interestingly the first proscenium arch is usually thought to be built in the Teatro Farnese, in the city of Parma – quite a word this student concocted!)

The [scene] changes came from the wing and shudder system.

Wing and groove, which was instituted by Terence, (!) is a form of scenic spectacle.

The Wind and Groove system was used at the Farnese Theatre.

(uh-oh! here comes that “wench” again):

Not to repeat, but this is a winch...
Chariot and pole: all the flats were connected to a central wench, where one man could do the work of ten.

All the poles were attached to one wench; one person could turn the wench...this was much smoother than having one man on each flat.

And THIS is a WENCH!

The European theatres [of the eighteenth century] seem to have gotten elaborate and as big as they could.  The scenic systems were working well and everyone was happy--who could get in.

A new method of scene design was sceana angela.

Scena per angelo

The Bibiena Family--seven Italians expanding three generations and invented scana par anglo.
(Scena per angolo – angled scenery – is what the students above refer to, not scenery by Angela, or by angels, or even by Angelo…and by Italians, not Anglos!)

Bibiena sketch for scena per angolo