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Theatre Today Essay Sample

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Theatre Today Essay Sample

Please choose the best answer for the following questions.

1.The theatre may be considered a conservative institution because it conserves or preserves
a.a consistent ideology characteristic of political parties.
b.the history and conventional way of working as a theatre.
c.the political and economic views of the time.
d.the moral attitudes of a select group of people.
Answer: b

2.Postmodern playwrights and directors are mainly concerned with
a.the meaning behind their works.
b.linear structure.
c.discontinuity.
d.community.
Answer: c

3.Postmodern aesthetics relate to previous aesthetics in all of the following ways EXCEPT
a.postmodern theatre lacks the modernist’s social or aesthetic optimism. b. postmodern theatre sees the symbolist and surrealist attempt to reveal a higher truth as unreachable.
c.that because social progress is unattainable per postmodern ideology, the artist is wary of the future.
d.postmodern theatre attempts to illuminate the received truths of realism. Answer: d

4.The roots of postmodern theatre can be located in the arts phenomenon called
a.surrealism.
b.dada.
c.expressionism.
d.symbolism.
Answer: b

5.Flashbacks that are not framed as such, shuttling between time zones without narrative warning, and reverse chronological ordering of scenes are examples of postmodern
a. theatre of the senses.
b.reflexive theatre.
c.nonlinear theatre.
d.theatre of quotation.
Answer: c

6.This theatre, with a brilliant innovative company formed by Joseph Chaikin in 1963, combined social improvisation with Brechtian techniques and used character as a vehicle for direct interaction with audiences; it was known as

a.The Open Theatre.
b.The Teatro Campesino.
c.New Lafayette Theater.
d.The Women’s Collective.
Answer: a

7.Who is the leading American playwright of current era, whose plays, including Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Fences, and The Piano Lesson, concern an entire twentieth century history of black America?

a.August Wilson
b.Langston Hughes
c.Amiri Baraka
d.Lorraine Hansberry
Answer: a

8.Which of the following is NOT true of the role of women in the history of
drama?
a.Until the seventeenth century, women were virtually unrepresented in the theatre.
b.Until the 1950s, women were largely relegated to acting and to costume construction.
c.Women represent one-third of all U.S. directors.
d.Women are more under-represented today in drama and as directors than at any point since the 1650s. Answer: d

9.Founded by Luis Valdez in 1965, which contemporary Chicano theatre was created to dramatize the farm workers’ situation in California through didactic actos?
a.Carmina Burana
b.Teatro Campesino
c.Teatro Milagro
d.Teatro la Raza
Answer: b

10.An example of verbatim theatre, where the play consists of real-life speeches and interviews would be
a.Bent.
b.Stuff Happens.
c.Three Sisters from West Virginia.
d.Car Man: An Auto-Erotic Thriller.
Answer: b

11.Which of the following does NOT exemplify the postmodern trend toward revival?
a.Over 100 theatre companies in almost every state in America are devoted to producing Shakespearean festivals.
b.the staging of new plays that mimic modernist classics
c.the restaging of modern plays, realist and otherwise, and of American musicals from the golden era of the 1940s to 1960s, which account for one-half to two-thirds of the offerings in Broadway, community, and academic theatres

d.Plays which dramatize the life of the ancient playwrights account for a quarter of the productions off Broadway. Answer: d

12.The emergence of spectacular theatre was facilitated mainly by
a.higher ticket prices.
b.advanced theatre technology.
c.the audience’s desire for pure entertainment.
d.a decline in performance art.
Answer: b

13.Which of the following statements about the history of censorship is false?
a.The ancient Greek playwright Phyrynicus was heavily fined for producing his Capture of Miletus, which offended sixth century b.c. Athenian officers by vividly portraying a Greek military defeat.

b.Shakespeare deleted several oaths from Othello because they were deemed sacrilegious by authorities.
c.Ben Jonson, John Marston, and John Chapman were all jailed for writing satirical plays.
d.Christopher Marlowe was killed in a duel defending his right to stage Doctor Faustus. Answer: d

14.Which genre, featuring little or no speaking, in pieces like Contact by Susan Stroman, or a newly revisioned Car Man (Carmen) by Matthew Bourne, has moved from relative obscurity to the winning of Tony awards in recent years?

a.performance art
b.disco opera
c.one-person show
d.dance theatre
Answer: d

15.Professional theatres operating on significantly reduced budgets found
primarily in Greenwich Village, SoHo, and upper East and West sides of Manhattan became collectively known in the 1950s as

a.Broadway.
b.Off-Broadway.
c.Off-Off-Broadway.
d.The Great White Way.
Answer: b

16.Which of the following is NOT true of nonprofit theatres?
a.Nonprofit means strictly noncommercial, so that nonprofit theatres rely upon funding sources other than box office receipts.
b.Nonprofit is strictly a legal designation. The theater has no owners and makes no profit.
c.Nonprofit means that no one makes a profit, therefore, actors, stage designers, and all members involved in the production receive no salaries.
d.Nonprofit theatres are exempt from most taxes.
Answer: c

17.Which of the following is true of performance art?
a.Performance art honors the conventions of drama.
b.Performance art creates a provocative association of unexpected impressions around a given theme.
c.There is a clear plot in performance art.
d.The performers always act in character not as themselves. Answer: b

18.This director/designer draws inspiration from Javanese rod puppetry, Balinese headdresses, and African masks.
a.Robert Wilson
b.Peter Brook
c.Anne Deveare Smith
d.Julie Taymor
Answer: d

19.A performance and theatre artist, which Texas-born artist came to prominence in Germany, received attention from the avant-garde for his tableaux vivant and was invited to create the central performance work of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Festival, The CIVIL warS?

a.Robert Wilson
b.Richard Foreman
c.Frank Butler
d.Andre Fort
Answer: a

20.The most provocative director of the twentieth century (b. 1925), which English boy-wonder was famous for innovative direction of plays by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Cocteau and Sartre? In 1971, he moved to Paris to create The International Center of Theatre Research; the publication of The Empty Space (1968), in which he divided modern drama into “the deadly theatre, the holy theatre, and the rough theatre,” established his reputation as a theorist.

a.Peter Brook
b.Langston Hughes
c.Graham Wilson
d.Andrew Lloyd Weber
Answer: a

21.All of the following are considered leaders in movement art and dance theatre EXCEPT
a.Karen Finley.
b.Matthew Bourne.
c.Susan Stroman.
d.Pina Bausch.
Answer: a

22.Which of the following is NOT true of Broadway performances?
a.A new play rarely premieres on Broadway, and despite high ticket prices,
most new plays on Broadway are in fact financial failures.
b.Broadway producers await the new plays whose worth is proven in the subsidized European (chiefly English) theatre or on the not-for-profit regional stage.
c.Only the star-studded revival or Tony Award-winning new musical is likely to be bankable.
d.The Great White Way has offered breakthrough teaching and acting positions through government funded mentorships and apprenticeships. Answer: d

23.What describes the Chicago style of acting, demonstrated by actors Gary Sinese, Joan Allen, and John Malkovich, among others from the Steppenwolf Theatre Company?
a.highly restrained
b.intensely realistic
c.very mannered and precise
d.enthusiastic and effusive
Answer: b

24.If you were to join a discussion about macaronic drama, you would be chatting about plays that
a.feature a number of different cultures.
b.emphasize the clash of ethnicities and race.
c.include real food being cooked onstage, which is often served to audiences.
d.include speeches in different languages.
Answer: d

25.What theatre is America’s theatre, where America’s plays are first shaped and exposed, which draws tonal interest, world-renowned actors, and origination first-class professional theatre created in or near their hometown?

a.Broadway productions
b.the nonprofit professional theatre
c.academic theatres
d.summer stock
Answer: b

TRUE/FALSE QUESTIONS
Please answer whether the following questions are true or false.

26.The extremity in artistic representation, which came as a response to the social change of the sixties and the seventies, took a number of forms, including legal censorship becoming locally unenforceable in America and play-licensing laws ending in England, while performances began to feature urination, bold profanity, and total nudity. Answer: True

27.While postmodernism emphasizes self-reflection and reflections on the past, as well as the artist’s redefining an existing artifact as an independent work of art, it also values logic and cause-effect determinism. Answer: False

28.Postmodern theatre is characterized by an open theatre, a theatre of diversity, and a theatre of postmodern experiment. Answer: True

29.The representation of homosexuality on stage was illegal in England as late as 1958. Answer: True

30.Theatre of community features works created for a community by members of that same community, that often express, celebrate, and sometimes critique the culture of their creators. Answer: True

31.The variety of theatre, broadly introduced to suburban Americans in the 1970s, producing light comedies, mystery melodramas, musicals, and offering a night on the town, is commonly known as Off-Off-Broadway. Answer: False

32.Although American artists are largely protected by the U.S. Constitution’s first amendment from direct censorship, government funding is subject to approval by local and national legislators who sometimes balk at funding the work of certain artists. Answer: True

33.Some of the most historically significant and innovative theatres in the world, such as Constantine Stanislavsky’s Moscow Art Theatre and Andre Antoine’s Théâtre Libre, began as community theatres run by amateurs. Answer: True

34.Shakespeare Festivals, which began in the Great Depression and which have grown to include every state in the nation, originated with summer stock productions. Answer: True

35. Atlanta has premiered Broadway-bound productions such as Light in the Piazza and The Sisters Rosenweig. Answer: False

ESSAY QUESTIONS
Answer the following questions about theatre today.

36.The emphasis on multiculturalism, globalization, and the changing state of global politics has broken the theatre away from many artistic conventions. Discuss the relationship between historical change and theatrical change. What historical changes might account for performance forms that have recently emerged or been newly emphasized?

37.Diversity seems to be not only a political movement but also an important aesthetic movement. Discuss the connection between politics, cultural identity, and aesthetics in the postmodern world. You may, if you choose, reference your response with respect to earlier dramatic forms. (Can you think of an instance when aesthetics and politics were NOT intertwined? Could this interconnection account for the inherently conservative orientation of drama?)

38.Discuss the influence of Brecht, Artaud, and dada on the aesthetics of postmodern theatre.

39.Discuss the relationship between verbatim theatre and current news stories, describing some examples. What role does the political world play in this type of theatre or vice versa? And why does live theatre tend to address these topics more frequently than cinema?

40.Discuss methods used by directors related to performance art, dance theatre, and movement art to create theatre. What qualities do these forms of theatre share? What precursors influenced their work? How do their aims, concerns, and focuses differ from each other and, most importantly, from theatre of past eras?

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