Earnest and 19th Century drama
Posted by Linden on June 02, 1998 at 19:03:15:
A puzzle: why was there virtually nothing worth reviving written for the stage between Sheridan and Wilde - over 100 years?
19th century drama was ghastly. If you search hard enough you might find one or two plays that an enterprising university drama group might think worth reviving, but essentially it was trash - melodramatic, not thought-provoking, shallow characterisation, unfunny, obvious plots.
"Earnest" is about the first play that we still think is worth watching (I doubt if the other Wilde plays would be read if they weren't by Wilde). Then, shortly after, we get Shaw.
It wasn't for lack of money - thousands of people would go to the playhouse every week: but they watched either junk or revivals of Shakespeare and Sheridan.
It wasn't for lack of talent, either. This was the age of Austen, Dickens and other great novelists, non-English playwrights like Ibsen & Chekov, and the operettas of Gilbert & Sullivan.
- Anyone for Thesis? Ken 07:54:15 6/03/98 (3)
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