Naturalism in Theatre

Naturalism or Realism gained prominence at the end of the 19th century and continued into the early 20th century.

Realism came about partly as a response to these new social / artistic conditions. The “movement” began in France and by 1860 had some general precepts:

  1. truth resides in material objects we perceived to all five senses; truth is verified through science
  2. the scientific method—observation—would solve everything
  3. human problems were the highest were home of science
Drama was to involve the direct observation of human behavior; therefore, there was a thrust to use contemporary settings and time periods, and it was to deal with everyday life and problems as subjects.
 
Realism first showed itself in staging and costuming. Three-dimensional details had been added by 1800. By 1850, theater productions used historically accurate settings and costumes and details, partly as a result of romantic ideals. But it was harder to get realism accepted widely.
 
North Virginia Community College, “Realism
 
Task: Up to where you have read, what elements of the play adhere to naturalism/realism?
 
Read Styan’s article on Ibsen’s Contribution to Realism.
 
Consider the following:
  1. What connection between realism and the actor does Styan present?
  2. Equally, how important is “performance” in the success of a realist play?

If it wasn’t Naturalism

1. Read the following two articles from Infotrac (the password is tisa1)

Source Citation:

Hunt, Jonathan P. “Naturalism.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz. Vol. 4. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005. 1601-1604. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 10 June 2011.
Weisberg, Gabriel P. “Naturalism in Art and Literature.” New Dictionary of the History of Ideas. Ed. Maryanne Cline Horowitz. Vol. 4. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2005. 1604-1607. Gale Student Resources In Context. Web. 10 June 2011.
Take notes on the characteristics of naturalism and how it differs from realism (if you are using Diigo, you may even see my highlights!).
Choose:
Explain how you would re-write Ibsen’s play so that it doesn’t reflect naturalist principles.
OR.
Re-write a section of the play so that it doesn’t reflect naturalist principles.
Image: ‘Océane

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