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Transcript
Theatre from 1915 to 1945
Objectives
After studying this chapter, the student should be able to:
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
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Articulate the influence of politics and world events on the theatre between and
during the World Wars.
Compare and contrast expressionism, futurism, dada, and surrealism.
Compare and contrast the theaters of France, Spain, Italy, and Great Britain during
and between the wars.
Compare and contrast commercial and noncommercial theaters in the United States
during the first half of the twentieth century.
Identify the contributions made by African-American theatre artists in the first half of
the twentieth century.
Lecture Topics
What were the tenets of Antonin Artaud’s Theater of Cruelty?
What are the basic principles of Bertolt Brecht’s Epic Theater?
Under what circumstances did the little theatre movement emerge?
Discussion
1. How does the theatre mirror the time of unrest surrounding the World Wars?
2. Discuss the production of theatre under totalitarianism. How does this differ from
theatre in a free society?
3. How did the Federal Theater Project promote the development of theatre in the United
States?
4. Discuss the emergence of college and university theatre during the first half of the
twentieth century.
99
Multiple-Choice
Choose the answer that best completes each sentence.
1. _________________ idealized technology and war.
*A. Futurism
B. Expressionism
C. Dadaism
D. Naturalism
2. A short lived style in theatre that mirrored the insanity of war was:
A. futurism
*B. dadaism
C. realism
D. expressionism
3. In ____________________, the dramatic action is seen through the eyes of the
protagonist and therefore frequently seems distorted or dreamlike.
A. symbolism
*B. expressionism
C. romanticism
D. naturalism
4. André Breton promoted a style that emphasized the subconscious, known as:
A. realism
B. naturalism
*C. surrealism
D. dreamism
5. The structure of expressionistic plays follows those of:
A. cause and effect plays
B. well-made plays
C. absurdist plays
*D. station plays
6. _______________________, a proponent of epic theatre, was known for his
Verfremdung, which means distancing or alienation effect.
*A. Bertolt Brecht
B. Andre Antoine
C. Samuel Beckett
D. Jean Giradoux
100
7. Influenced by the Communist Revolution in Russia, Erwin Piscator sought to develop
what he called:
A. imperial theater
*B. proletarian theater
C. theater of cruelty
D. living theater
8. Which of the following characteristics are found in Brecht’s episodic plays?
A. They cover a long time period.
B. They shift locale frequently.
C. They have many characters.
*D. All of the above
9. The Caucasian Chalk Circle was written by:
A. Ralph Richardson
B. Gates Mc Faddin
*C. Bertolt Brecht
D. Eva LeGallienne
10. __________________ wrote Theater of Cruelty, which argued that theatre should
confront the audience's senses.
A. Andre Breton
B. Edwin Piscator
C. Bertolt Brecht
*D. Antonin Artaud
11. ___________________, the founder of the Théâtre du View Colombier, rejected
naturalistic staging practices, focusing on the text and actor training.
A. Bertolt Brecht
B. Antonin Artaud
*C. Jacque Copeau
D. André Antoine
12. One of the great American playwrights, ________________________ studied
playwrighting with George Pierce Baker.
*A. Eugene O'Neill
B. Sam Shepard
C. Eva LaGallienne
D. Luther Adler
101
13. _______________, killed in the Spanish Civil War, wrote such plays as The House of
Bernarda Alba, about the oppression of Spanish women.
*A. Federico Garcia Lorca
B. Stella Adler
C. Ethel Waters
D. Mark Hammil
14. Often referred to as America's Moscow Art Theater _____________________ was
founded by Lee Strasberg, Cheryl Crawford, and Harold Clurman.
A. Provincetown Players
B. Washington Square Players
*C. The Group Theater
D. Federal Theater Project
15. An Italian playwright whose "plays reflected theoretical, social, and political
upheavals in Italy and Europe" was:
A. Mario Spaneli
*B. Luigi Pirandello
C. Paul Robeson
D. Kishida Kunio
16. ________________ made his reputation at the Old Vic in London by developing
innovative production concepts for classic works.
*A. Tyrone Guthrie
B. Paul Robeson
C. Samuel Beckett
D. Richard Rodgers
17. One of England’s greatest twentieth century actors, ______________ was known for
acting and directing classic and contemporary works on stage and in film.
A. Nöel Coward
B. T.S. Eliot
C. Eugene O’Neill
*D. Lawrence Olivier
18. _______________, who ran the Civic Repertory Theater, was committed to serious
drama in America.
A. John Gielgud
B. Lillian Hellman
*C. Eva Le Gallienne
D. George S. Kaufman
102
19. The first theater to present the works of Eugene O’Neill, _________________ is a
good example of the development of the “little theatre” movement in the United States.
*A. Provincetown Players
B. Old Vic
C. Chestnut Street Theater
D. Human Race Theater
20. Emphasizing the text of the play rather than emotional recall, _____________ taught
acting techniques based on the principles of Stanislavski.
A. Lee Strasberg
*B. Stella Adler
C. Andre Antoine
D. Antonin Artaud
21. Headed by Hallie Flanagan Davis, the ____________ helped revitalize interest in
theatre outside New York City.
*A. Federal Theater Project
B. Group Theater
C. Theatrical Syndicate
D. National Theater
22. Originally known as a blues singer in the South, ______________ went on to star in
musical theatre on Broadway.
A. Lorraine Hansberry
B. Canada Lee
C. Katherine Dunham
*D. Ethel Waters
23. Admired for his versatility as both a singer and Shakespearean actor,
_______________ had his career curtailed because of his outspoken social and political
beliefs.
A. Lee Strasberg
B. Eugene O’Neill
*C. Paul Robeson
D. John Gielgud
24. The Washington Square Players evolved into the ____________, a subscription-based
professional organization, which supported the early efforts of the Group Theater.
A. Federal Theater Project
*B. Theatre Guild
C. Free Theater
D. Theatrical Syndicate
103
25. Robert Edmond Jones led the ____________ movement in the United States, which
strove for simplified realism, using detail only to suggest specific locales.
A. “open theatre”
B. “free theatre”
*C. “new stagecraft”
D. “dada”
True/False
Please choose whether the statement is true or false.
26. Expressionism developed as a movement in art and literature in which reality is
distorted to communicate inner feelings.
*True
False
27. Dadaism promoted “museum art,” arguing that the classics were superior to modern
works.
True
*False
28. Antonin Artaud argued that theatre was not a literary event, but a sensory experience.
*True
False
29. Bertolt Brecht argued that for theatre to succeed at teaching, the audience must be
emotionally engaged throughout the performance.
True
*False
30. Characters in Luigi Pirandello’s plays question the relationship between appearance
and reality.
*True
False
31. Bertolt Brecht was imprisoned for criticizing the totalitarian government of East
Germany.
True
*False
32. Unlike much of the theatre on the European continent, British Theatre was highly
commercial between the world wars.
*True
False
104
33. In the 1930s, the Soviet Union established expressionism as the only acceptable
theatrical form.
True
*False
34. The Federal Theater Project employed a new generation of African-American theatre
artists.
*True
False
35. Adolf Hitler banned theatrical presentations in Germany during World War II.
True
*False
Essays
36. Discuss how the theatre mirrors the political unrest apparent during and between the
World Wars.
37. Compare and contrast two of the following genres: expressionism, dada, surrealism,
and futurism.
105