Spanish and English Renaissance Plays and Theaters

The Renaissance brought significant changes in art, particularly in theater. Among them, the most meaningful were the rejection of asceticism and the defense of the revival of the ancient canons of art.

Speaking about the development of theater in the Renaissance, which was under the ban of the church before, one should talk about the flourishing of the arts in England, Spain and Italy.

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English Renaissance was extremely powerful. The major English playwright was William Shakespeare. His Romeo and Juliette and Hamlet are the most brilliant examples of English theater. His creative work became the culmination of English Renaissance. Entering the new philosophical level with a combination of ancient motifs was the characteristic feature of the English Renaissance drama.

The first theater construction, which was built in London in 1576 by James Burbidge, was called "Theater". Theaters were divided into public and private. Public theaters in London were all made of wood, they had a different shape, had no roof, only a small canopy over the stage. The playwrights used natural daylight. On the day of the play, the flag hoisted in order to inform the crowd about the spectacle. Private theaters were located indoors, often in a former monastery. During the productions, the artificial lighting was used. The theatrical business was quite profitable, so there was competition between the theaters. The theater "Globe" was constructed in 1599. The actors were mostly powerless, low-income people; they were equated with the vagabonds, so theatre companies needed noble and wealthy patrons.

As well as English, Spanish theater was inseparable from the life and poetry of people.

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The Golden Age of Theater in Spain was in 1500 – 1700. During this time, 30,000 plays were written. The father of Spanish professional theater was Lope de Rueda.

The notion of honor was peculiar to the whole of Spanish drama from the earliest writers to Lope de Vega. The action on stage was varied and often unexpected - tragic conflicts, reckless dancing, romantic conflicts, obscene jokes, sudden duel, pathetic recognition, clapping sticks and slapping, deceptions, disguises, recognition, the sounds of castanets and guitars, shouts of prayer and explosions. All these actions were changing at lightning speed and flew to the audience for 2-3 hours.

The conquest of the public's attention was the most important task both in English and Spanish theaters. The scene of Madrid theaters displayed not only a funny comedy about love but also showed dramatic conflict between feudal violence and class prejudices with individual rights of citizens.

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Miguel de Cervantes wrote 36 plays about contemporary Spanish life, but the major playwrights were Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderón de la Barca. The most famous plays of Lope de Vega and Pedro Calderon were Fuenteovejuna and Life is a Dream.

The common feature of English and Spanish plays was the conflict between the duties and love, but Spanish drama more often ended happily.

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