Discuss the emergence of realism in theatre
Theatre and Performance Lecturer: Ms Marcelle Theuma First term Discuss the emergence of realism in theatre at the turn of the 20th century and how you think it influenced playwrights like Anton Chekhov, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg and George Bernard Shaw. Miriana Borg Second year Group: 2A Realism in the theatre was a general movement in the later 19th century that steered theatrical texts and performances toward greater fidelity to real life.
The realist dramatists Henrik Ibsen and August Strindberg in Scandinavia and Anton Chekhov in Russia, and George Bernard Shaw, rejected the complex and artificial lotting of the well-made play and instead treated themes and conflicts belonging to a real, contemporary society. Henrik Ibsen was born in Norway in 1828. His mature work may be read as an effort to come to terms with reality, the reality of his early life and the reality of society as a whole. Ibsen is perhaps best known for eight plays he wrote in Italy and Germany. By separating himself physically from his homeland, he gained the freedom and perspective to criticize it.
Ibsen embarked on a series of realistic prose plays exposing contemporary problems in contemporary Norwegian settings. Concentrating directly on Norwegian society, he addressed universal concerns, for the social problems that provide the context for these plays were instantly recognizable to audiences. Among them the question of women’s rights in ‘A Doll House’ (1879), hereditary syphilis in ‘Ghosts’ (1881), and municipal corruption in ‘An Enemy of the People’ (1882). Ibsen’s realistic plays take place in three-dimensional rooms, rather than against tlat painted or architectural backdrops.
Strindberg, and Chekhov each found a different dramatic model potential in the realistic mode evolved by Ibsen. Of the three, the Irish-born George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) most fully acknowledged his debt to Ibsen. Shaw believed that Ibsen fundamentally had transformed the theatrical formula drawn from the French Boulevard plays by incorporating a new intellectual vigor in them. George Bernard Shaw was born in 1856 and he was know for his witty humor. He made fun of societes notion using for the purpose of educating and changing. His plays tended to show the accepted attitude, then demolished attitude while showing his own solutions.
Some of his works include ‘Arms and the Man’ (1894) which is about love nd war and honor and ‘Pygmalion’ (1913) which shows the transforming of a flower girl into a society woman, and exposes the phoniness of society. Chekhov is known more for poetic expiration and symbolism, compelling psychological reality, people trapped in social situations, hope in hopeless situations. He claimed that he wrote comedies; others think they are sad and tragic. Characters in ChekhoVs plays seem to have a fate that is a direct result of what they are. His plays have an illusion of plotlessness.