Questions tagged [theater]

For general questions about plays and theatrical performances as works of literature. If your question is about a specific play, use the title and author tags instead.

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18
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1answer
2k views

When did men dressed as women stop being the norm in English theatre?

This excellent answer by Joshua Engel draws a comparison between men dressed as women in Shakespeare-era plays and perspective jumps in modern cinema: The audience would, of course, have been aware ...
8
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1answer
6k views

What's the difference between a five-act play and a three-act play?

Many stage plays - including all thirty-seven/thirty-nine of Shakespeare's - consist of five acts, while others consist of only three acts. (Are there any other common numbers of acts?) What's the ...
7
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1answer
89 views

How can we reconcile the bareness of Shakespearean stages with the complex stage directions of The Tempest?

I learned recently that in Shakespeare's day, stage dressing was often minimal. This makes sense given that there was a wide variety of theatre styles, the stages were often uncovered and surrounded ...
7
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1answer
227 views

Secondary literature on "The Warden of the Tomb"

The Warden of the Tomb is an expressionist play fragment by Kafka. Although incomplete, possibly extremely so, it's still decently long - about fourteen pages. Sadly (to me at least), as far as I can ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

In musical theatre, what does "book by" mean?

In musical theatre, what does "book by" mean? For example, the Bonnie and Clyde 2012 musical has a book by Ivan Menchell. Bonnie & Clyde is a musical with music by Frank Wildhorn, ...
6
votes
1answer
203 views

First English Renaissance play where women disguise as men?

In several of Shakespeare's plays, women disguise as men (for a variety of reasons). For example, In The Merchant of Venice, Portia disguises as a lawyer; Jessica disguises as a man when eloping with ...
5
votes
1answer
247 views

Tudor or Jacobean plays that are sequels to a Shakespeare play?

William Shakespeare wrote around 40 plays (depending on how the Shakespeare canon is defined). Except for some of his history plays (Henry IV, Henry VI) and possibly The Merry Wives of Windsor (not a ...
4
votes
1answer
97 views

What was the play 5-10 years ago where all the dialogue consisted of generic words describing what might be said

This might have been a short piece rather than a full-length play; I heard about it in a news story. I don't remember any details, but the idea was that instead of actually speaking content words, the ...
3
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1answer
55 views

Why is there so much emphasis on snack foods in the plays of Martin McDonagh?

Snack foods tend to be highly emphasized in McDonagh's plays, touched on in this article: "The Lord-Lieutenant’s Biscuit and the Irishman’s Spud: Ireland’s Iconic Snacks Blasphemed in Martin McDonagh’...
3
votes
0answers
138 views

Larry Csonka and the Chocolate Factory: confirmation of existence

(Note: Not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, but this link: https://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/300800/where-can-i-ask-questions-about-a-broadway-show brought me here.) My ...
2
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1answer
50 views

What is the evidence for the width of the trap in the stage of Elizabethan playhouses?

Scholars of Elizabethan theatre agree that the stage in Elizabethan playhouses could have a trap door, for example in the Globe Theatre (built in 1699) and the Red Lion. In his study Shakespeare: The ...
1
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1answer
28 views

Which publication first defined the theatre convention of the fourth wall?

One of the questions on this site asks Do a lot of Shakespeare characters break the fourth wall? However, assuming a "fourth wall" in English Renaissance theatre appears to be anachronistic since ...