(Greek "theatron"), enjoys the distinction of two spellings: in British English, "theatre" and in American English, "theater". There is no technical distinction between the meanings of the two spellings, however most theatre artists prefer the English spelling because it creates a historical nod to the ancient Greek term theatron
. Some also use the American spelling to designate a theatre building and the English term to reference the art itself, as in the "art of theatre."
Theatre is that branch of the performing arts concerned with the creation of stories or narratives for (or with) an audience using combinations of acting, speech, gesture, music, dance, object manipulation, sound and spectacle — indeed, any one or more elements of the other performing arts. In addition to standard narrative dialogue style, theatre takes such forms as opera, musicals, ballet, mime, kabuki, classical Indian dance, Chinese opera, mummers' plays, and pantomime.
Creatures of Impulse
is a short story by English dramatist W. S. Gilbert
, which he later adapted for the stage with music by composer-conductor Alberto Randegger
. Both the short story and the play concern an unwanted and ill-tempered old fairy who enchants people to behave in a manner opposite their natures, with farcical
results. The short story was written for The Graphic'
s Christmas number of 1870, and the play was first produced at the Court Theatre
on 2 April 1871. It originally included six songs, but three were eventually cut, and some productions dispensed with the music entirely. While the lyrics survive, the music was never published and is lost. Reviews of the play were mostly positive, though it was criticised for the lack of a significant plot or superstructure to support its comic premise. Nonetheless, reviewers found it enjoyable, and it was a modest success, running for 91 performances and enjoying revivals into the early part of the 20th century. Gilbert had already written a considerable body of stories, plays, poems, criticism and other works before writing Creatures of Impulse
and would go on to write the libretti
to the famous Savoy operas
(composed by Arthur Sullivan
) between 1871 and 1896.
was an English actor
, and Poet Laureate
. His colorful Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber
) started a British tradition of personal, anecdotal, and even rambling autobiography
. He wrote some plays for performance by his own company at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane
, and adapted many more from various sources, receiving frequent criticism for "miserable mutilation" of dramatists like Shakespeare
. He regarded himself as first and foremost an actor and had great popular success in comical fop
parts. Cibber's brash, extroverted personality did not sit well with his contemporaries, and he was frequently accused of tasteless theatrical productions, social and political opportunism, and shady business methods. He rose to herostratic fame
when he became the chief target, the head Dunce, of Alexander Pope
's satirical poem The Dunciad
. Cibber's importance in British theatre history rests on his being the first in a long line of actor-managers, and on the value of his autobiography as a source for our knowledge of the 18th-century London stage.
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