In the fall of 1723, two London theaters staged, almost simultaneously, pantomime performances of the Faust story. Unlike traditional five-act plays, pantomime—a bawdy hybrid of dance, music, spectacle, and commedia dell'arte featuring the familiar figure of the harlequin at its center—was a theatrical experience of unprecedented accessibility. The immediate popularity of this new genre drew theater apprentices to the cities to learn the new style, and pantomime became the subject of lively debate within British society. Alexander Pope and Henry Fielding bitterly opposed the intrusion into legitimate literary culture of what they regarded as fairground amusements that appealed to sensation and passion over reason and judgment. In Harlequin Britain, literary scholar John O'Brien examines this new form of entertainment and the effect it had on British culture. Why did pantomime become so popular so quickly? Why was it perceived as culturally threatening and socially destabilizing? O’Brien finds that pantomime’s socially subversive commentary cut through the dampened spirit of debate created by Robert Walpole's one-party rule. At the same time, pantomime appealed to the abstracted taste of the mass audience. Its extraordinary popularity underscores the continuing centrality of live performance in a culture that is most typically seen as having shifted its attention to the written text—in particular, to the novel. Written in a lively style rich with anecdotes, Harlequin Britain establishes the emergence of eighteenth-century English pantomime, with its promiscuous blending of genres and subjects, as a key moment in the development of modern entertainment culture.
Author: Maureen Hughes
Publisher: Remember When
Release Date: 2013-11-14
Genre: Performing Arts
Each Christmas entire families in the UK troop off to see, what one could almost say is 'the obligatory'. annual entertainment, known as Pantomime. It is a traditional, seasonal way of life for the British envied the world over, and one which only the British seem to understand! Pantomime serves both to entertain and to introduce each new generation to the joys of theatre in the most unique of ways, for this is not a type of theatre one merely watches, but one in which the audience participate often in the most seemingly boisterous and bizarre of ways. The whole experience is steeped in tradition, traditions which only the British seem to understand, which is probably why we are proud to call it a 'British Experience.'??In A History of Pantomime Maureen Hughes takes a brief look at the history of Pantomime as well as taking a humorous look at some of the above mentioned traditions; she also gives a synopsis of each of the well-known Pantomimes whilst exploring the eccentric world of the characters who appear in them. There is also a short piece on just some of the most well-known and loved of the actors who each Christmas take on the part of Pantomime Dames across the UK, as well as a look at others who have contributed to this magical world of fun and eccentricity. It is thought by some to be frivolous and pointless piece of theatre, but a browse through this informative book and you will soon find that Pantomime is an art form all of its own, requiring the most dedicated and talented of actors/actresses who are prepared to honour and perpetuate this wonderful tradition as it is passed down from one generation to the next.??As seen in The Telegraph and the Sunday Post (Glasgow).
least examined of all theatrical forms. It's been the festive mainstay of the English stage since the eighteenth century, and it has survived by its ability to evolve. This continual evolution is traced by Jeffrey Richards in the first history of panto through its 'Golden Age' in Victorian England. He explores the spectacle, the slapstick, and the talent for subversion that nineteenth-century pantomime had - and still has today. He shows the panto, with its remarkable actors, managers, producers and punters across the country from Drury Lane to Blackpool, to be a remarkable cultural barometer of its times.
Author: J. Davis
Release Date: 2010-08-11
Genre: Performing Arts
Featuring contributions by new and established nineteenth-century theatre scholars, this collection of critical essays is the first of its kind devoted solely to Victorian pantomime. It takes us through the various manifestations of British pantomime in the Victorian period and its ambivalent relationship with Victorian values.
Author: Adam Ainsworth
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Release Date: 2017-04-20
Genre: Performing Arts
There is no fourth wall in popular performance. The show is firmly rooted in the here and now, and the performers address the audience directly, while the audience answer back with laughter, applause or heckling. Performer and role are interlaced, so that we are left uncertain about just how the persona we see onstage might relate to the private person who presents it to us. Popular Performance defines and surveys varieties of performance where the main purpose is to entertain, and where there is no shame in being trivial, frivolous or nonsensical as long as people go home happy at the end of the show. Contributions by new and established scholars focus particularly on how it is made, explaining the techniques of performance and production that make it so appealing to audiences. With sections examining how popular performance works in a range of historical and contemporary examples, readers will gain insights into: * performance forms associated with the variety tradition: music hall, vaudeville, cabaret, variety * performance forms associated with circus: wild west shows, clowning * issues relating to the identity of the performer in relation to magic, burlesque, pantomime in contemporary performance * issues relating to venue and audience in relation to contemporary street theatre, stand-up, and live sketch comedy.
Author: Lesley Cookman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2010-04-15
Genre: Performing Arts
There are thousands of pantomimes staged throughout the world every year, most of them in Britain. Most groups, whether they be amateur drama societies, schools, Women's Institutes or Village Hall committees are constantly on the lookout for something fresh and original. This is often a matter of economics, as professional pantomimes can be costly in terms of performing rights, let alone the cost of scripts. This book is aimed at those people who take part in this increasingly popular hobby, and at the writer who wishes to write a pantomime, either for a local group, or, indeed, for mass publication.
Author: Tracy C. Davis
Publisher: Broadview Press
Release Date: 2011-12-20
This collection provides a representative set of theatrical performances popular on the nineteenth-century British stage. All are newly edited critical editions that account for variant sources reflecting the process of rehearsal, licensing, and production. Detailed introductions and extensive notes explain the texts’ relationship to repertoires, the circulating discourses of intelligibility that constantly recombine in performance. The plays address the topical concerns of slavery, imperial conquest, capitalism, interculturalism, uprisings at home and abroad, modernist aesthetic innovation, and the celebration of collective identities. Adaptations from novels, travelogues, and other plays are discussed along with the theatrical history that sustained these works on the stage.
Author: Paul Matthew St. Pierre
Publisher: Associated University Presse
Release Date: 2009
Genre: Performing Arts
In Music Hall Mimesis in British Film, 1895-1960, Dr. St. Pierre examines strategies of representing British music hall performance (1854-1919) and the performance of the body in British cinema in the silent era (1895-1927) and the sound era (1927-60). The focus is on films of Fred and Joe Evans, Frank Randle, Will Hay, George Formby, Arthur Lucan and Kitty McShane, Cicely Courtneidge, Jessie Matthews, Norman Evans, Max Miller, Stanley Holloway, Jack Warner, Gracie Fields, and Charles Chaplin. Consideration is given to themes such as war propaganda and gender impersonation.
This is the first comprehensive and illustrated study of the most important form of theatre in the entire Roman Empire - pantomime, the ancient equivalent of ballet dancing. Performed for more than five centuries in hundreds of theatres from Portugal in the West to the Euphrates, from Gaul to North Africa, solo male dancing stars - the forerunners of Nijinsky, Nureyev, and Baryshnikov - stunned audiences with their erotic costumes, subtlety of gesture, and dazzling athleticism. In sixteen specially commissioned and complementary studies, the leading world specialists explore all aspects of the ancient pantomime dancer's performance skills, popularity, and social impact, while paying special attention to the texts that formed the basis of this distinctive art form.
With contributions from 29 leading international scholars, this is the first single-volume guide to the appropriation of medieval texts in contemporary culture. Medieval Afterlives in Contemporary Culture covers a comprehensive range of media, including literature, film, TV, comics book adaptations, electronic media, performances, and commercial merchandise and tourism. Its lively chapters range from Spamalot to the RSC, Beowulf to Merlin, computer games to internet memes, opera to Young Adult fiction and contemporary poetry, and much more. Also included is a companion website aimed at general readers, academics, and students interested in the burgeoning field of Medieval afterlives, complete with: - Further reading/weblinks - 'My favourite' guides to contemporary medieval appropriations - Images and interviews - Guide to library archives and manuscript collections - Guide to heritage collection See also our website at https://medievalafterlives.wordpress.com/.
The theatre rehearsal room is a sacred place. What goes on there is mysterious, alchemical and closely guarded. So how are aspiring theatre directors supposed to learn their craft? In Getting Directions, Russ Hope gives us the benefit of unprecedented, fly-on-the-wall access to eight rehearsal rooms. He has shadowed some of the UK's most exciting young directors at each step of the way, on productions as diverse as Shakespeare at the Globe, Greek tragedy at the Gate, Tennessee Williams at the Young Vic, panto at the Lyric Hammersmith, and a touring Dickens dramatisation. Describing each of these rehearsal periods from first concept to first night in revealing and often remarkable detail, Hope gets under the skin of the professional director, and reveals the decisions they must make on a daily basis: How best to arrive at a concept and communicate this to a design team? Which games and exercises really help to unlock the text for actors? And what should you do if everything is falling apart during the tech? Getting Directions will equip emerging directors with a practical handbook, not bogged down with theories or precepts, that lifts the lid on what it means to be a director. The result is both a portrait and a masterclass from a generation of theatre practitioners, essential reading for anyone who wants to follow in their footsteps, or to understand what directing really entails. 'An incisive kaleidoscope of rehearsal-room practice which is a useful tool for directors to borrow from and a fascinating insight for the curious.' Dominic Cooke, from his Foreword