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Restoration Theatre. ADA4M February 6, 2013. Monarchs and Their Fancy Titles. Elizabeth I: Elizabethan period 1558-1603 James I: Jacobean period 1603-1625 Charles I & II: Carolinian period 1625-1649 1660-1685. Remember…. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Restoration TheatreADA4MFebruary 6, 2013

  • Monarchs and Their Fancy TitlesElizabeth I: Elizabethan period1558-1603James I: Jacobean period1603-1625Charles I & II: Carolinian period1625-16491660-1685

  • RememberAfter the enormous success of Renaissance theatre (Shakespeares time), the theatres were closed in 1642 by Puritans.


  • Civil WarEnglish Civil War: 1642-1649/51Parliamentarians vs. RoyalistsParliamentarians: wanted a government with all the power in the parliamentRoyalists: Supported King Charles I (and later Charles II), wanted England to remain a monarchy

  • Events of the WarWar begins in 1642. Puritans (on the Parliamentarian side) close theatres (and many other forms of entertainment)Struggle and strife for many years1649: Charles I loses the war. He is captured.First time a King is tried at courtConvicted of high treasonExecuted

  • So, the king is deadOliver Cromwell runs the Parliament and leads Britain as a republic (a nation without a king)Cromwell dies, his son takes overMeanwhile, Scotland is not so happy with thingsMore conflict between the two sides, eventually Charles II declared the rightful king of England1660: Monarchy restored (hence Restoration period)

  • Because they couldWhen the Royalists returned, they wanted to show off their success to the ParliamentariansOliver Cromwells body dug up and beheaded, and his head put on a spike

  • Werent We Talking About Theatre?Charles II restored a more lavish lifestyle, brought back celebration, opulence, and fashion as central parts of the upper classs livesLicensed 2 acting companiesChanged laws about who wasallowed to act

  • The Royal TheatresElaborate stages with royal patents (e.g. Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, designed by Christopher Wren)Moveable scenery, machines for high-tech special effects (e.g. lightning, waves)

  • The AudienceMuch like in the Renaissance, Restoration audience were composed of all sorts: upper classes, their servants, and the middle classNote: there is a middle class now!Samuel Pepys diary: famousdiary of a man who recordedhis experiences at the time, often wrote about attendingthe theatre

  • The ActorsActors become celebritiesWomen are allowed on stage!First female actors and playwrightsBreeches roles: women dressed in mens clothing, either to hide or to do things that girls werent allowed to doTheatre as a form of liberation for women

  • Important ActorsNell GwynnOne of the first female actorsCharles IIs mistress; had 2 sonsEdward (Ned) KynastonUsed to be a boy player in girls rolesCalled the prettiest woman and handsomest man by Samuel PepysWomen would take him around townRumors that he often went out in his womens clothing

  • The PlaysSexually explicit: dirty jokes and suggestive scenesMore scandalous now that there are real women!Busy plays with many charactersComedy of manners: makes fun of upper classPlot often about scandal, but plot is less important than clever dialogue and jokes (often double-entendres)

  • The Importance of Being EarnestNOT a Restoration play (its Victorian), but a good example of a comedy of manners:Title: Ernest/earnest punSample dialogue:I really dont see anything romantic in proposing. It is very romantic to be in love. Butthere is nothing romantic about a definite proposal. Why, one may be accepted. Oneusually is, I believe. Then the excitement is over. The very essence of romance isuncertainty. If I ever get married, Ill certainly try to forget the fact.

    Well, I must say, Algernon, that I think it is high time that Mr. Bunbury made up hismind whether he was going to live or die. This shilly-shallying with the question isabsurd. Nor do I in any way approve of the modern sympathy with invalids. I consider itmorbid. Illness of any kind is hardly a thing to be encouraged in others.

  • Stock CharactersFop: a silly man who is too focused on his appearance, makes attempts to seem especially intellectual but is usually foolish

  • Modern Fops

  • Stock CharactersRake: an immoral, promiscuous man who usually comes from a wealthy background and spends too much money on drink, gambling, and women

  • Modern Rakes

  • JournalIf you could go back in time to one of the theatre periods we have studied, which would you choose and why? (English Renaissance, Commedia dellArte, Noh, Restoration)

    Remember: Study for midterm (Tuesday, February 11)


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