Drama in the Romantic period underwent radical changes affecting theatre performance, acting, and audience. Theatres were rebuilt and expanded to accommodate larger audiences, and consequently acting styles and the plays themselves evolved to meet the expectations of the new audiences. This book examines manifestations of change in acting, stage design, setting, and the new forms of drama. Actors exercised a persistent habit of stepping out of their roles, whether scripted or not. Burwick traces the radical shifts in acting style from Garrick to Kemble and Siddons, and to Kean and Macready, adding a new dimension to understanding the shift in cultural sensibility from early to later Romantic literature. Eye-witness accounts by theatre-goers and critics attending plays at the major playhouses of London, the provinces, and on the Continent are provided, allowing readers to identify with the experience of being in the theatre during this tumultuous period.Read more
- Surveys dramatic themes of nationalism and the role of foreign characters, providing insight into how events in British politics, military and colonial engagement shaped stage representation
- Reviews the popular characterization of such stage villains as Blue-Beard and the Vampire, adding new evidence that melodrama provided an arena for addressing misogyny and domestic abuse
- Contrasts the realism of documentary and historical drama with the fantasy and supernaturalism of melodrama
Reviews & endorsements
'Burwick's lively academic guide delves into what it must have been like to be an actor in the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century … especially thorough in examining shifts in acting style, sieving through actors' own memoirs and diaries to reveal that some players played up their bad acting and made a virtue of it.' whatsonstage.com
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- Date Published: February 2011
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9780521182416
- length: 354 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.52kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Periscopes into the theatre
2. Nationalism and national character
3. Genre: the realism of fantasy, the fantasy of realism
4. Acting, histrionics, and dissimulation
5. Transvestites, lovers, monsters: character and sexuality
6. Setting: where and elsewhere
7. Gothic and anti-Gothic: comedy and horror
8. Blue-Beard's castle: mischief and misogyny
9. Vampires in kilts.
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