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Naturalism in Depth Essay

Naturalism is a movement in European drama and theatre that developed in the late 19th early 20th century. This refers to theatre that attempts to create a perfect illusion of reality through various dramatic and theatrical strategies and technique. Very detailed three dimensional sets play a key role in this style of drama. This brought Darwin’s theory of the determining role an environment has in the staging of drama. In this style of drama the speech is generally more common and in a prose form rather than poetic form.

In Laymen’s terms Naturalism is considered a secular world-view; an exclusive focus on subjects that are contemporary and indigenous; an extension of social range of characters portrayal and a style of acting that attempts to recreate the impression of reality. ” In other words the extra ordinary are all taken out in this form of theatre and the truth and reality or actuality of the character becomes key or rather is key. Naturalism is used to portray to an audience how these circumstances would really be should this be anyone’s actual reality.

Still images are seldom used as this does not show the full quality of this style of drama. The idea behind naturalism is to show an audience through the characters true feelings, which in turn allows the character to truly touch the audience. The father of Naturalism Emile Zola’s 1980 essay, Naturalism on stage is known as the explicit advocate of Naturalism. Naturalistic writers were influenced by the theory of evolution. It was believed that a person’s heredity and social environment determined the character.

Naturalism set out to find the scientific forces which made or created the given person or character which influenced the actions of this character. Naturalism is the direct opposite of romanticism, where symbolism; idealism and the super natural all play a major role in the character. Naturalism portrays the dark harshness of reality which mainly includes poverty; racism; sex; prejudice; disease; prostitution and filth. This resulted in naturalists being accused of being too blunt which they would argue is simply the reality.

Stanislavsky argued, for a puncturing of the illusion of the surface of reality in order to reach real forces that determine it beneath its appearance, in place of the absorption within a fiction that a naturalistic performer promotes in its audience, he attempted to inculcate a more detached consideration of the realities and issues behind them that the play confronts. His approach however became a development of the project naturalism which is now considered a modern version of realism.

Naturalism cannot be used in older types of theatre such as classical theatre since in naturalism the long rhythmic phrases in classical theatre are all cut and adjusted to more common and modern everyday language which takes away the rhythm which often defines classical theatre. The Origin of naturalism Naturalism is an artistic movement which advocated a total reproduction of unstylized, unembellished reality, which stressed the material aspects of human existence around 1880-1890.

It is a style or technique that claims to reproduce reality photographically which appeared in an era of positivistic and scientific method to observe society like a clinician or physiologist. Naturalism was confined to non-dialectical determinism. Naturalism explains Zola’s exhortation for theatre to show the dual influence of characters on facts and facts on characters. Naturalism’s aim was to show that humans are caught up in an unchangeable milieu and illustrates the inevitable laws of heredity and environment according to the theory of Charles Darwin who basically said that life was basically all about “survival of the fittest”.

Naturalism developed into a style of characteristic of extreme tendency of contemporary mise-en-scene and a natural concept of theatre. Naturalist Aesthetics There are three features of naturalistic performance which are aware of non-naive aesthetic. Although fact is that reality is much more complex naturalism focuses on these three features. * A milieu or rather social class is conveyed by scenery that is true to its nature and acts as a continuous description, this was the main cause behind the three dimensional settings in naturalistic plays. Mise-en-scene, which refers to the visual design of a theatre production in naturalism, is fond of accumulation, detail, uniqueness and surprise.

* The language in this form of theatre is specific to the social class the play or character is trying to portray. By saying the text in a highly psychological way the actor creates an impression that the words and literary structure are made of some material as the characters psychology and ideology. Literary or poetic construction is therefore trivialised and often even denied in this form of theatre.

The middle class aesthetic of art as psychological expression endeavours to camouflage the signifying work of mise-en-scene. The acting style related to Naturalism aims to producing illusion by reinforcing the impression of mimetic reality by inducing the actor to identify completely with the character which is all supposed to take place behind the fourth which basically separates the audience from the stage. Critique of Naturalism The main ideological reservation concerning naturalistic mise-en-scene has to do with its metaphysical, static view of social processes which are presented as natural phenomena.

Brecht criticized G Hauptmann’s ‘Die Webber’ a leading naturalistic play, for implying class struggle inherent to human nature. Naturalism took over from classical conception, which was a based on a misleading view of man as an intellectual abstraction. Idealism has been inverted in a narrow materialism that saw man as a thinking animal that is part of nature as a whole. This critique has to do with the naivety of an aesthetic that claims to evade convention and shattering of illusion when it is subject to them throughout. An interesting view

Naturalism gained prominence in the late 19th century. The three Dimensional props started in 1800. In this form of theatre it is said that the truth lives in material objects we perceive to all 5 senses and the truth is verified by science. It is also believed that the scientific method and observation practically solves everything. Naturalistic drama involves the direct observation of human behaviour and that human problem is the highest home of this science. The thrust stage was therefore used for contemporary settings and time periods to deal with everyday life and problems as subjects.

Naturalism has been criticized for treating social processes as pre-determined by nature, which denies or refuses any possibility of social change as well as for its naive aesthetics of creating the illusion of reality on stage. Anti-naturalism As a reaction against the Naturalist world view and aesthetics, new movements including Symbolism and Expressionism emerged. In the 1920s and 1930s the Naturalism influence was the strongest in drawing room comedies and in Boulevard theatre. It also had its revival in the “kitchen and sink” drama in England in the 1950s.

It remains prominent in Broadway as well in West-End performances today. Naturalism… The centuries special Naturalism tries to offer a photographic reproduction of reality to be able to emphasize material aspects of human existence. This ambiguous term refers to both a general style of art as well as to specific literary and theatrical movement which reached a climax between 1880 and 1890. Naturalism and realism are both applicable to this movement although many argue that they are both exactly the same and in fact they do go hand in hand, but are not exactly the same.

Naturalism refers to the theoretical basis shared by the dramatists who formed the movement and their approach to representing the world. Realism applies to the intended effect and stage technique associated with it. Precisely Naturalism Emile Zola, father of Naturalism inaugurates the term in his 1968 novel “Therese Ranquin. ” The writer’s task is to dissect the environment and human nature with the clinical precision of a scientist. Zola’s work focuses on lower social strata where, as he claims, the ailments of social environment and heredity are particularly visible.

The Naturalist movement is informed by 19th century science, more specifically by Darwin’s biological theories; Bernard’s scientific observation on human psychology; Comte’s application of scientific ideas to the study of society and Taine’s deterministic theory of history. Naturalist theatre tries to mirror life with sincere fidelity. The dramaturgy of Naturalism has been influenced by the basis of well-made plays as well as by the ‘cup and saucer’ of T W Robertson which reproduced Victorian social habits in the most precise and meticulous details.

Naturalist staging techniques was strongly affected by the Court Theatre of Saxe-Meningen which was dedicated to archaeologically accurate reconstructions of real places. Zola’s Therese Ranquin served as a model for Naturalism in theatre, which was established in the late 1880s when Antoine, a French theatre director put Naturalist drama on the repertoire of his Theatre Libre.

Antoine’s productions are famous for transferring the real life settings to the stage, using actual objects like real doors and bloody quarters of meat, etc. hich embodies Zola’s idea of a scene as a continuous description of nature. Natural momentum… Naturalism in theatre then gained momentum in 1889 when Otto Brahm funded the Freie B? hne in Berlin; J T Grein funded his Independent Theatre Society in Londonin 1891 and as Nemirovich Dancheko and Stanislavsky started the famous Moscow Art Theatre in 1898. Psychoanalysis of naturalism The psychology of the characters is the base of naturalist drama, which implies the continuation of the actual reality and intends to mask the process of artistic creation and mediation.

The language is a reproduction of the dialects and every day manner of speaking which is unique to each social class. Humans are portrayed as entrapped to their social class who are determined by the inevitable laws of heredity and their environment. Many playwrights were part of this movement or influenced by the movement, including Gerhart Hauptmann, Henrik Ibsen, Lev Tolstoy, Bernard Shaw and August Strindberg. The Preface of Strindberg’s play, ‘Miss Julie’ is considered as a manifesto of naturalism in drama.

Naturalist theatre slowly became obsessed with surface verisimilitude unable to completely depict reality in its full complexity. Truly Natural… Naturalism is a stage of theatre that remains very true to life. To an actor the audience makes up the fourth wall which allows the actor to be as real and as vulnerable to the given truth or reality of the script. It is like the audience becomes a fly on a wall, a very insignificant fly who is watching a slice of life taking place in front of it.

Naturalism in the arts is generally an approach that advocates the factual and realistic representation of the subject with no stylization. More specifically, Naturalism refers to a movement in literature and drama that developed as a reaction to the mannered conventional and severely stylized approach to all the arts which was favoured in the 18th century. Moving Naturalism In art painters like Constable and the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood worked outside, directly from their subject who often demonstrated the extreme that naturalism could be taken to.

The English painter Holman Hunt stunned sheep by hurling them to the ground so that they would sit still enough to be used as a subject. He also burnt a dead horse in his garden to get hold of its skeleton. Many say that in theatre and film naturalism was started by the Russian teacher, Stanislavsky, this ended in an obsession with finding complete stage scenery and properties which is believed to assist the actor in sustaining his or a role by focussing on any given object on the characters life. Increased costs in theatre basically ended this type of extravagance in European theatre.

Wealthier United States companies under directors like Elia Kazan continued to elaborate on the craft of naturalism which was supported by the New York Actors studio. U S film industry provided the opportunity to extend this work. Leading actors often picked up or lost weight or even spent weeks in a wheelchair to understand the characters psychology. In literature, naturalism was probably not as extreme as in art and drama, but it was the topic of many debates in literature. The writings of Emile Zola and the brothers Concourt as well as Charles Dickens contributed greatly to the theory of naturalism.

This type of writing often held that people’s fate was determined by heredity, environment and social forces beyond their control. The aims of the movement naturalism Why naturalism? Naturalism is an attempt to place an actual reality on stage instead of portraying an artistic transposition on stage. According to Dort it is an attempt to set the stage in a coherent and concrete milieu that, given it materiality and closure, incorporates the actor and presents itself to an audience as an actual reality.

Pessimism is a state of mind which anticipates undesirable outcomes Naturalist took a pessimistic bleak view of human experience and environment. According to the naturalist theory man is helpless against the forces of its environment which generally leads to disaster and despair. Naturalists are therefore very drawn to mental illnesses. Naturalism is full of discrepancies and vagueness. What is definite though is the belief in the link that science has on the human being and its outcome or destiny.

Basically saying that everything in life can be explained through natural laws and reasoning. “If art must represent life and science is becoming increasingly integrated with life then in order for it to be effective, art must both deal with scientific topics and adopt a scientific methodology. ” Romantic???? Hai hai hai!!! Naturalism is based on pessimism; detachment from the story; a surprising twist and scientific determinism which imply that because things happen according to predetermined laws, humans cannot really change the outcome.

Naturalism came about as a reaction against Romanticism which encouraged the human’s imagination as the key to changing or even fixing his fate and the sadness of existence. Art + science = Naturalist Naturalists believe that science and art are not odds, but rather link. They believe that science allows any given artist to understand how senseless and bleak the world is, and it is the artist duty to basically elucidate the beauty in that. Along with the entire scientific focus, naturalism still found a place as well as a need for the metaphysical as embodied not only in the artistic, but also in the religious.

Many naturalists based their work on true historical events. Less is more… In reverse… Instead of simplifying any given character, naturalists really tried to present characters reactions and experiences in a very elaborate manner. Naturalistic “cross sections of life” often lacked an overwhelming message. John Osborne said, “It combines, often in a perplexing way, such features as the traditionally German distaste for social and political reality… A distrust of the rational, on the one hand, with a commitment to precise, scientific observation and mimesis on the other hand. ”


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