For the past few weeks, I have been learning about comedy and how to deliver expressions and body gestures in making people laugh. Here is a little Comedy Time:
A R I S T O P H A N E S . “Lysistrata by Aristophanes.” Humanities: Ancient to Modern. Kestrelhum.wordpress.com, 10 Dec. 2015. Web. 28 May 2016.
Going all they way back in the 5th Century BCE, Ancient Greek Comedy was known to be divided up into 3 different stages: Old, Middle, and New Comedy. The earliest Old Comedy possessed was Aristophanes’ The Acharnians which was believed to be produced in 425. Aristophanes comedy works have always been to criticize using ridicule or sarcasm, which defines from what we now call the “lampoon.” Indeed, the word lampoon was created when Athean Comedian, Aristophanes used statesman named “Lampon” to brutally ridicule in several of his plays. And thus, the way the comedians of Ancient Greece delivered comedy was simple, including the act of satire to crude jokes. Mythologies and religion were used to also make fun of. But despite this, Zeus and Athena; the higher gods were seemed to be forbidden to use for the comic poet. Thereafter, A comedian named Meneander took place as the beginning of New Comedy was born. New Comedy maintained and built up the Old Comedy kind of fashion: making hateful jokes at politicians, philosophers, and artists.
M E D I E V A L J E S T E R Mercier, Philipe. “A Jester Philipe Mercier | Oil Painting Reproduction | 1st-Art-Gallery.com.” Oil Paintings Reproductions – Handmade Oil Paintings on Canvas & Art Reproductions. 1st-Art-Gallery Inc., 15 Dec. 2015. Web. 01 June 2016.Medieval Jesters were unlike the Greeks. Jesters were like the clowns today and their main
role in the Middle Ages was to entertain the kings or nobleman. Although they played a minor role in court life, they were undoubtedly a significant role to uplift the entertainments. Their responsibility was to bring a smile for the monarch, and/or amuse their master. Their role had pleased and excite the crowd like clowns nowadays and made a difference to be known as the “dark ages.” So, what did the Jesters look like? Medieval Jesters head were shaved and their coats were rich and vivid while the tight breeches were contrasted in different colors on one leg and another.
W I L L I A M S H A K E S P E A R E . Wikia. “Flower Portrait.” Droeshout Portrait. wikipedia, 28 Apr. 2016. Web. 30 May 2016.
C o m m e d i a d e l l ‘a r t e m a s k s
William Shakespeare was a prominent playwright of all times, substantially in the Renaissance period. Comedy in the Renaissance period focussed mainly on having a happy ending such as involving marriage, contrary of what we see comedy today. Comedy did not have to be funny, although they did have to have some potential. The characters had to demonstrate a common type of misunderstanding, for instance of one character and another, and cause embarrassment regarding the character. Thus, the human beings revealed oneself as a “small and silly character,” and the emphasis of comedy was yet to be positive. Nevertheless, still in the modern world, William Shakespeare’s comedies are still used and based upon his remarkable plays. Examples of his exceptional comedies include: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All’s Well That Ends Well, and so much more. Commedia dell’arte, meaning “Comedy of the profession,” was also one play that was very famous in the Renaissance period, originating from Italian theatrical and flourishing throughout Europe in the 16th to 17th century. Masks were used to exaggerate comic features and draw further attention to their performance through the body, leaps and more. Comedy skills like slapsticks and obscene gestures were also incorporated into their acts.
M E L O D R A M A T I C C O M E D Y Nelson, Alfred L., Joseph Donohue, and Gilbert B. Cross. “THE ADELPHI THEATRE CALENDAR.” University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMASS). University of Massachusetts, 20 June 2012. Web. 1 June 2016.
Generally, melodramas consisted of “moral tales,” along with a battle between good and evil, and the villain becomes the one who gets defeated in the end. Melodrama existed way back in the late 18th and 19th centuries from France. It was part of the Romantic literary period. They the romantics wanted to communicate their emotions through art and were able to accept their source of creativity, individuality, and nature to embracing their spirituality and more. Melodrama was and still defined as a work that is dramatically done from exaggerations in plot and characters. It was very common that strong stereotypical characters were to perform.6 different types of stock character were usually presented in this Melodrama. The hero, heroine, villain, villain’s accomplice, faithful servant and the maidservant. All these characters were based on stereotypical characters.
“Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s Pygmalio” is one of the earliest melodrama, which is alleged to be inspired by mythology.
The major aspects of a clown are there comical ways and irreverence. There are three traditional types of clowns: White-face, Auguste and Character. The White-face clown is usually the most familiar and oldest clown of all times
W H I T E F A C E C L O W N
t Theseamericans. “White Face Clown.” White Face Clown. Pinterest, 8 June 2015. Web. 1 June 2016.
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and well-known as the ‘classic’ clown. They have the highest status and affiliated with circuses and events like such. The white face clown was in fact the court jester if we go back to the Greek Theater. One example of the popular stock clown character, Pierrot was a White-face clown and it is thought that he was the one who introduced what we call the “White-face,” as he used flour to whiten his face. The Auguste Clown was almost the complete opposite of a white-face clown. It was the least intelligent, and was the craziest and funniest. They usually performed as the silly clown in skits and wore oversized yet a gaudy type of costume. The Augeste Clown in the 1860’s usually appeared with a huge nose, baggy clothes and large shoes. They apparently always spoiled the tricks of the white-face clown by appearing at the wrong time. The two Auguste Clown that really made an impact in the development of the Auguste were probably Albert Fratellini and Lou Jacobs. The Character Clown was a clown that could have been any characters; A lawyer, Policeman, or even babies. Charlie Chapman is designated as a Character Clown, the silent ‘Little Tramp’ clown to be exact.
Cinematic Comedy was the oldest film genre. It was a start of a whole new way of bringing comedy. Silent films and Cinematic Comics focussed subjecting
C H A R L I E C H A P M A N Wells, Katherine. “Charlie Chaplin.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, 28 Mar. 2014. Web. 01 June 2016.
to visual action and physical humor was used more than sound. The earliest form of comedy used a lot in cinematic comedy; silent film was the Slapstick. This was demonstrated from usually in pratfalls, practical jokes, accidents, acrobatic death-defying stunts, water soakings, or wild chase scenes with trains and cars. It was until 1912 for an American Comedy to emerge though.
The Silent Era Clowns include Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle, Charlie Chaplin, Harold Lloyd, Harry Langdon, Larry Semon, Laurel and Hardy, Mae West, The Marx Brothers and W. C. Fields.
S o u r c e s :
“History of Clowning.” Clown Doctors. The Humour Foundation, 01 June 2016.
Carroll, Heather. “Elements of Melodrama: From Early Theater to the Modern Soap Opera – Video & Lesson Transcript | Study.com.” Study.com. Study.com, 10 Aug. 2010. Web. 01 June 2016.
Trumbull, Eric W. “Medieval Theatre.” Introduction to Theatre — Medieval Theatre. Northern Virginia Community College, 8 Sept. 2012. Web. 01 June 2016.
Columbia. “Comedy.” Infoplease. Sandbox Networks Inc, 2012. Web. 24 May 2016.
“Commedia dell’arte.” The Renaissance. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. 8 May. 2016
“Shakespearean Comedy.” The World of the Renaissance. The World of the Renaissance, 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 May 2016.
“History of Clowning.” Clown Doctors. The Humour Foundation, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
Johnson, Flint. “Ancient Greek Comedy: Definition & Plays.” Study.com. Study.com, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
Mason, Craig. “A Melodramatic Look at Melodramatic Comedies.” Theatrefolk. Theatrefolk, Winter 2014. Web. 23 May 2016.