INTRODUCTION?

I have tried, throughout this course, to provide you with the materials you will need to not only learn about how, when, where, and why Theatre started, but also I wanted to do it in a way that you would enjoy and even have some fun. This is how it will work: there will usually be a PowerPoint or a video followed by a quiz on the video or PowerPoint you just watched. Take your time with the quiz and don't be afraid to check back on whatever you just watched to help you answer the questions. But most important, I have provided you with chapters for every section you work on, usually preceding the 35 question final test on the topic you are studying. Use the chapter to answer the final test. You will usually learn a lot just by searching for the answers in the chapter. You can always email me if you have a question and I will try to get back to you as quickly as I can, always making allowances for the time difference. I live in southern California so I'm on Pacific Standard Time. Good luck and stay the course. I'm sure you will learn more than you expect. I did, just by writing the course.

THE BASICS?

What you need to know before you go any further.

IN THE BEGINNING?

We dive into the Ancient beginnings of theatre, from the shamans to Aeschylus.

INTO THE DARK AGES?

500 years of darkness can kill off almost anything. But not man's thirst for theatre. Although the church banned theatre when they stopped Roman Theatre, it took only 500 years for theatre to arise again from the very institution that had mean to destroy it. Read on...

THE RENAISSANCE?

The common man makes a comeback! Michelangelo, Christopher Marlowe, Da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, Caravaggio, El Greco, Bruegel, SHAKESPEARE. Can you imagine living during this period? We're going to take a look at a few pieces of it relating to theatre but don't be afraid to use your IMAGINATION, as that greatest artist of all time said. Who was that? SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, that's who. Look up THE IDIOT BOX on YouTube. It's the greatest treatise on imagination you will ever experience.

THE THEATRE OF ASIA?

Moving from the Sanskrit Theatre of India through the Beijing Opera, and ending with the three main forms of theatre in Japan - Kabuki, Bunraku, and Noh - this is a fascinating and enthralling look at a type of theatre that is at once loved, revered, and part of the fabric of the society from which it comes. You will be amazed and your eyes and ears are in for a feast of the senses. Behold! The Theatre of Asia.

THEATRE OF REALISM AND ANTIREALISM?

We move from the Theatre of Asia straight into the Theatre of Realism and then into the Theatre of Anti-Realism. The Theatre of Realism was born out of a collective desire to move away from the mainly French comedy of manners in the Royal Theatre, to something that was altogether more about the common man. The Theatre of Realism at first was called Naturalism but changed to Realism when sets were constructed to reflect real life with real furniture onstage and the acting, thanks to the Moscow Arts Theatre, Konstantin Stanislavsky, and Anton Chekov, became less stylized and more representative of everyday life heightened to become drama. From that ultra-Realism came the inevitable backlash from which came the Theatre of Anti-Realism. This type of theatre was created to represent the inner workings of man, the chaos and insecurities in all of us. Somewhat akin to Japanese Theatre in that there is very little if any recognizable plot, the Theatre of Anti-Realism can be fun, irritating, and utterly compelling.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST?

This unit is dedicated to the study of one play - THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. i have in included a copy of the script for you to read and an assignment to follow. Please read the entire script. If you want to watch a production of the play you can take out a temporary membershipi n MARQUEETV and watch it there.

MUSICALS?

Get ready for a great ride as we trace the history of musicals from variety and vaudeville through the minstrel shows, through light hearted fluffy musicals, and on to musicals with messages and contemporary musicals with socially relevant messages and substantial plots.

THE END?

Thank you for taking my course, written especially for Theatre University. I hope you've learned how important the theatre has been since the birth of man straight up to the present day. This course was written during the Covid-19 pandemic, necessitating the movement of people and the arts and industry online. Artists have had to accommodate history and adjust accordingly. You can watch great theatre even now by subscribing to Digital Theater Plus, MarqueeTV, or National Theatre Home. There are others but those sites are great. Don't stop now. Find out more about theatre, Get involved at home with amateur productions, either onstage as actors, or backstage as technicians. Jobs like stage manager, set designer, costume and lighting designers, sound technician, are all extremely important jobs in the theatre. Whatever you decide, write me and tell me what you thought of this course, please, so I can continue to make it better for future students. No matter how old we are, you're never too old to learn. Keep well. Professor Berglas
Introduction to Into the Dark Ages

Here’s my theory for why they called it the Dark Ages: they didn’t allow any theatre to be performed! Horrible. Terrible. Can you imagine? Sometimes smart people can be really dumb, right?

After the Roman Period the Church became very powerful and made the practice of Theatre illegal and so Theatre stopped and did not start again for around 500 years. Imagine that! Then, as you will see, the Church unwittingly was responsible for bringing Theatre back when they began chanting the Quem Queritas. Soon the empty pews were filled with people who were thrilled with the “dialogue” and costumes that were being used. There were so many people that eventually the services had to be moved onto the lawns and grounds outside the Church. When that got too crowded the “shows”, usually about the Creation of Man who the stations of the cross, began to be performed on moving platforms pulled by horses and sponsored by the various local unions or “guilds” until they had their own version of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. When you click on the Simulation lesson you will see how many shows were being performed all around the town on these horse drawn stages. Then we jump forward to the present day and the enormous number of local Mystery Plays that were performed in York, Chester, and in cities and towns throughout Europe. Finally I’ve provided you with a chapter on the Dark Ages and the Final Test.

Enjoy the Dark!