Comedy Timeline

Renaissance Comics

Recently in Drama, we have been studying comedy and how they work. Comedy has started far far back in time, and has a very interesting history behind it. Heres the timeline of Comedy and clowns.

It is believed that comedy all started in Ancient Greek (5th centuries), commonly known with the Aristophanes as he was well known as the master of old comedy. Many of the comedies had a very weak plot line and had a very loose storyline, yet the comedy he wrote were simple, easy to understand jokes such as scatological humour (toilet jokes) and sexual jokes. He also made fun of the politicians, philosophers that existed during at that age, as in few of his plays he mocked the Peloponnesian Wars and the governors who were fighting against. Even after Aristophanes died, Menander has taken upon his place to create new comedy. In the new comedy, stereotypes were born as part of the humour. People used less sexual jokes and political jokes, but based on their comedy off of everyday situations.

In the medieval ages, the churches tried to keep comedy and joyous aspects of a comedy to the minimum, which lead to danger of extinction of comedy. Yet comedy survived through medieval folk plays and festivals.

Renaissance comedy is one of the well known comedy period. One of the famous scriptwriter known at this age was Shakespeare. Not only he created the famous scripts such as Romeo and JulietMacbeth, and more, he have also written different comedy scripts. In this age, comedy was known to be something different than we know it today. Today, we all think comedy is something funny and something we’ll be able to laugh at, but comedy in the Renaissance period was known to be something that had a good ending. One of the famous comedy during this time was the ‘commedia dell’arte’ in Italy, where people acted out wearing a mask.

Melodramatic comedy was more focused on exaggeration. Melodramatic comedy started to appear present in the 18th centuries to until today, through movies, television shows, and even in radio formats.Because melodramatic comedy existed in a long time period and still exists in comedy today, it is difficult to exactly justify and define what melodrama is. Usually in Melodrama, the plots and characters are over exaggerated, so they would be able to strongly show their emotions and their stereotypes. The term ‘melodrama’ were used negatively, as it meant unsophisticated or lack of delicacy. In melodrama, there was 6 stock characters that usually existed. A hero: who acts upon justice and moral, yet sometimes doesn’t follow the rules. A heroine: who is innocent and moral, usually a damsel in distress. A villain: who is evil, greedy, selfish and immoral. The villain’s accompany: a goofy dumb sidekick who serves as the comic relief. A faithful servant: a maid is loyal to the hero and helps him save the heroine, but also serves as comic relief yet not as goofy as the villains accompany. A maid servant: Unlike the faithful servant the maid servant is flirty, funny and is very loyal to the heroine.

Circus comedy was one of the important style of comedy in the timeline. The most famous one are the clowns. The clown comedy started around in the late Middle Ages. Court jesters and fools were a good example of a clown in the middle age. Arlecchino (Harlequin) is one of the famous clown actor that best represented this style. Harlequin started off as a comic valet, or zanni (types of character in dell’arte), but soon began to form his own style of comedy which was the soon to be known slapsitck. There are 3 major clown types. One of them is the White-face clown. They are the most well known, oldest clown. They are usually associated with the circus, and the White-faces had a high status among other clowns with intelligence. Auguste clown were the ones who had the lowest status among the other clowns, and was the most zaniest and unintelligent clown. The Auguste clowns wear mismatched and over sized clothes, with big noses. They appeared together with the White-face clowns and was usually the one messing things up. Character Clown is the third clown type. The hobo or The Tramp is one of the well known character clowns. Character clowns are clowns that have a specific character such as the police officers, women, babies, anything at all.

Cinematic comedy can be considered as the ‘oldest film genre’ as this comedy style mainly appeared in silent films, televisions and movies. Comedy was very suitable for silent films, as it required more of a visual action and audio. Slapstick was also another type of comedy used in cinematic comedy, as it portrayed the hilarity of ridiculous situations of physical mishap and indignity. Charlie Chaplin was the most famous comedy star known in this age and even today. He was a silent actor and pantomimist and was recruited at 1913 as a comedy actor. Kid Auto Races in Venice (1914), is the first silent film that he appeared in as ‘The Tramp’ character we all know.

As you can see, comedy has a very interesting history, and we are able to see how humour changes over time.

Works Cited
Carroll, Heather. “Elements of Melodrama: From Early Theater to the Modern Soap Opera.”, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
Dirks, Tim. “Comedy Films.” Filmsite. American Movie Classics Company, n.d. 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.”, n.d. Web. 23 May 2016.
Mason, Craig. “A Melodramatic Look at Melodramatic Comedies.” Theatrefolk. Theatrefolk, Winter 2014. Web. 23 May 2016.
“Shakespearean Comedy.” The World of the Renaissance. The World of the Renaissance, 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 23 May 2016.

Character Elevator Scene Reflection |Drama

In Drama, we acted out a scene in a company when different characters gets trapped in the elevator. My group had a very unique characters, and throughout the story their status and personality drastically changes. William, acted out as an CEO of Mooniverse. Kenryo, was a intelligent little boy named Jonathan Quan, who got taken by William to work in his company. While William and Kenryo was taking the elevator in the Mooniverse, the clumsy shy janitor comes in, which were acted by Julynn. Followed by the janitor, a mysterious weird looking women comes in who were apparently came from the future. I was acting out as a scientist that time travelled from the future.

My character had a high status, higher than Julynn and Kenryo due to her high intelligence and matureness. The confidence of her knowledge and how she acted if everyone else was stupid, made it seem she was the most intelligent person, leading to high reputation. At first, I tried to hide my face from my audience and to the other characters to make it seem I was a suspicious person. After the incident, I was acting bold and analytical and talking back to the CEO. My body posture went from slouching to straight, and my voice became hesitant to confident. To act out a stereotypical scientist, I wore a lab coat and safety glasses on top of my glasses. I also talked out aloud to myself, acting as if I was turning into a mad lunatic scientist due to the endless experiments. I interacted with other characters like William’s, by talking back to him and shouting at Kenryo for acting stupid. Although I didn’t really have a interaction between Julynn before the elevator stopped, but later the status changed and I became scared of shouting and blaming.

Like I mentioned, my character had a high status at first. My character was the most analytical and smart, making her seem that she was going to fix the problem without a sweat. But as the other character finds out she was the cause of the problem, they start to lose trust from my character and doubts that my character can fix the elevator. They start to blame on her, which made my character lose her patience and makes her start acting immature. She shouts at the character and blames on someone else, even though she knows it was her fault. This riot caused all the adults in the scene ( me, William and Julynn) to start shouting at each other and making the situation worse. While the adults were acting useless, Kenryo on other hand were trying his best fixing the elevator. Although he was the kid, he was more mature than the adults and calm enough to solve the problem. After all, it was him that fixed the elevator. The biggest status change was between the adults and kids. Stereotypically, adults tend to have a higher status than kids. Adults were considered as the mature and calm one, while kids were the ignorant, immature characters. But in our scene Kenryo was the most mature person and fixing the elevator, when the adults were acting like kids and blaming on each other and not considering helping the kid.

One of the challenging problem I faced, was how I can get these characters together. When we decided on our characters, we didn’t really think of a scene or a story so the characters were pretty mismatching. They all had unique traits and reputation, which made it little hard getting them together in the same elevator. But because of these strong characters, it was easy to change the status and their personalities during the scene. Next time, I would try to stay inside the elevator. Looking at the video, I wasn’t using the space that very well. Sometimes my body got cut off or it looks just unnatural. Also me and William talked the majority while Julynn and Kenryo had a little less. I improvised a lot during the scene, and that made talk more than I was supposed to. To improve I should be more aware of the situation and where i’m standing, and not get too intense with my characters that I forget the others.

8C Drama: Elevator Scene1 from YIS Arts on Vimeo.

Stereotypes & Characters | Drama 8

Hello earthlings,

For the past few weeks in drama class, we are working on characterisation and what we ned for a character to be a good one. Today i’m going to be talking about stereotype characters.

What is a stereotype?
Stereotype is when there is a fixed image of an person or a thing. Stereotype characters are often seen in different stories or plays, cartoons, comics and even movies. One of the classic stereotype characters are stereotypical nerds. They usually wear big thick glasses, have dimples on their faces, their shirts are tucked in the pants, and wear bowties with suspenders. In contrast to the stereotypical nerds, there are also stereotypical popular girl. They are usually blond, pretty, have other girls following behind which are also blond, is also in the cheerleading squad, and most of the times ignorant. These stereotypical characters are obviously over exaggerating, and these characteristic usually won’t fit into real life humans. Stereotype characters are the one that are easy to understand who they are, but can be offensive to some people.

When is a stereotype useful?
Stereotypical characters are useful when presenting the characters to the audience, since we all have a fixated image of the character, and it would be easier for the audience to understand the character quickly. We are able to assume what the characters feel and think, without the characters actually explaining themselves. Stereotype characters are useful when you want the audience to understand the characters status and the personality, without making it too obvious by explaining their identity word by word.

Considering people & characters that represent people – why can’t you ‘judge a book by it’s cover’?
Even though stereotype characters can be useful, it can be offensive to some people because of the misjudgement we have for a person. People tend to get hurt from these judgemental informations, since it can be considered as criticism or an insult. People are different in many ways, and we can’t sort them out by their characteristics. They are all different in the insides, and you can’t judge anyone because of where they come from, how they look, or how they are. These stereotype characters will narrow our minds, and we won’t be able to accept the person without being judgemental. Its the same as books. Just because the cover look bad, it doesn’t mean that the book it self is terrible. It is not okay to not read the book just because you don’t like the cover. Look in the inside. Read the story. What matters is the story, not the cover. Which means that the looks and past won’t matter, we all have to look in the insides.