LE DEVELOPPEMENT DU SPECTACULAIRE SUR LE THEATRE ANGLAIS (1660-1800): Le rôle des prologues et épilogues

Danchin, Pierre
July 1994
Medieval English Theatre;1994, Vol. 16, p166
Academic Journal
The English stage offers a great variety of spectacular elements from the early eighteenth-century onwards. Double programmes are introduced, with a shorter comic play in addition to the main one. An essential element in these new programmes, deeply influenced by commedia dell’arte actors visiting London from Paris in the early decades of the century, is the use of machines and elaborate stage effects. Prologues and epilogues also seem to have contributed significantly to the trend for spectacular performances: actresses often clad in men’s clothes displayed their legs, actors delivered their speeches astride a donkey or even sitting on an elephant. Such spectacular elements, either imported from the Continent, or included in facetious or licentious epilogues, satisfied the demand for pure entertainment that henceforth swamped the English stage.


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