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The Theatre Portal

New York State Theater
Theatre (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.

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Ben Greet in the role of Boomblehardt
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.

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Credit: Daniel Bachler

Two Geisha conversing near the Golden Temple in Kyoto, Japan. Parts of the kimono and the special make-up are clearly visible.

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William Wells Brown


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John Millington Synge
John Millington Synge was an Irish dramatist, poet, prose writer, and collector of folklore. He was a key figure in the Irish Literary Revival and was one of the cofounders of the Abbey Theatre. He is best known for the play The Playboy of the Western World, which caused riots in Dublin during its opening run at the Abbey. Although he came from a middle-class Protestant background, Synge's writings are mainly concerned with the world of the Roman Catholic peasants of rural Ireland and with what he saw as the essential paganism of their world view. Synge suffered from Hodgkin's disease, a form of cancer that was untreatable at the time. He died just weeks short of his 38th birthday and was at the time trying to complete his last play Deirdre of the Sorrows.

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Mary Saunderson


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History: Sanskrit PlaysNatya ShastraNatya Shastra of BharataKoodiyattamBhasaKālidāsaKathakaliBhavabhutiHarshaChinese theatreCantonese OperaBeijing OperaRamakienNohBunrakuKabukiButohTheatre of Ancient GreeceTheatre of ancient RomeMedieval theatreCommedia dell'ArteEnglish Renaissance theatreRestoration comedyRestoration spectacularNeoclassicismTwentieth century theatre

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Types: ComedyDramaMusical theatreHip-Hop theater

Philosophy: AristotlePoeticsKonstantin StanislavskiAntonin ArtaudBertolt BrechtOrson WellesPeter BrookJerzy GrotowskiMeisner techniqueStanislavsky SystemMethod actingPresentational acting

Organization: Community theatreDinner theatreFringe theatreSummer stock theatreRegional theatreOff-Off-BroadwayOff-BroadwayOff West EndBroadway theatreWest End theatre

Unions: Actors' Equity AssociationSociety of Stage Directors and ChoreographersInternational Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees

Awards: Back Stage West Garland AwardsDrama Desk AwardEvening Standard AwardsGreen Room AwardHans-Reinhart-RingHelpmann AwardJoseph Jefferson AwardLaurence Olivier AwardsLondon Critics' Circle Theatre AwardsLucille Lortel AwardManchester Evening NewsMatilda AwardNew York Innovative Theatre AwardsMolière AwardObie AwardOvation AwardsSangeet Natak Academy AwardTheatre Pasta Theatre AwardsTony Award

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