Scandal on Stage: European Theater as Moral Trial by Theodore Ziolkowski

By Theodore Ziolkowski

New performs and operas have usually attempted to dissatisfied the established order or disturb the assumptions of theatre audiences. but, as this learn explores, the reactions of the viewers or of the gurus are usually extra severe than the creators had envisaged, to incorporate outrage, riots, protests or censorship. Scandal on degree appears at ten well-known theater scandals of the previous centuries in Germany and France as signs of up to date social, political, moral, and aesthetic upheavals. The writers and composers involved, together with Schiller, Stravinsky, Strauss, Brecht and Weil, portrayed new creative and ideological rules that got here into clash with the expectancies in their audiences. In a comparative standpoint, Theodore Ziolkowski exhibits how theatrical scandals replicate or problem cultural and moral assumptions and asks no matter if theatre can nonetheless be, as Schiller wrote, an ethical establishment: one who effectively makes its viewers imagine in a different way approximately social, political and moral questions.

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Gautier and his companions, in turn, had little interest in the political implications of the play, rejecting as they did any politicization of l’art pour l’art. ” Armand Carrel , leader of the liberal party, attacked Hernani in four articles in his journal Le National. He acknowledges that great social and political advances have been achieved since the revolution of . ” The people, he continues, have no need of any theater beyond traditional melodrama. ), and offended some liberals with its misbegotten effort to add a wholly unnecessary element to the bourgeois theater.

Schiller’s public was excited by the attack on feudal absolutism, but the language of his work, while  Overtures rhetorically brilliant, was not essentially different from that of the poems, novels, and plays already familiar in the Sturm und Drang. Hugo’s audience, in contrast—supporters and opponents alike—was able to take the social and political advances for granted and thus focused on the “literary liberties” of the text—that is, on its aesthetic aspects. In addition, the respective effects of the two works were no doubt qualified by the fact that Schiller’s work was performed by a young troupe that believed devoutly in his play, which offered so many opportunities for their new style of acting, while Hugo’s play was actually undermined in part by a conservative cast who resented his innovations.

After the monologue we now offer you six thousand francs, paid in cash. ” He didn’t want to wait for the fifth act lest he be obliged to offer ten thousand! Hugo, who was in debt and had only fifty francs to his name, eagerly accepted.  At the door, as Hugo was leaving, a mass of spectators waited, impatient to express The battle of Hernani  their enthusiasm. ” The conservatives were offended by the street bums who had installed themselves in the theater, eating and drinking and allegedly celebrating indecent orgies.

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