naturalism

Definitions

Media Studies

  • noun a method of filmmaking that represents characters and locations as they actually would be, as opposed to trying to create artificial drama and effects

Theater

  • In the later 19th century, a movement in the theater (as inthe other arts) that aimed to present ordinary life as accuratelyas possible, without romantic illusions or literary artifice. Theatricalnaturalism was essentially a development of the realism ofIbsen. The other dominant influence was the novelist andplaywright Emile Zola, who published Le Naturalisme au théâtrein 1878. In France the movement was centred upon the ThéâtreLibre in Paris, where the director André Antoine (1858 - 1943)produced the bitter comedies of Henri Becque and others (see comédierosse). In Germany the Freie Bühne theater club producedArno Holz's gloomy Die Familie Saliche (1890) and Hauptmann'sDie Weber (1892).

    The harsh and dreary subject matter of most naturalistic plays,which tended to emphasize the boredom, depression, and frustrationof contemporary life, frequently alienated 19th-century audiences.The treatment of topics such as divorce and prostitution also causedoutrage. Naturalistic playwrights aimed as far as possible to eradicateany sense of the theatrical from their work, employing such techniquesas making real time and fictional time the same. There was also anemphasis on accurate documentation, especially of social detail. Thebehaviour of the characters was often explained in terms of heredityor environmental factors, as in Strindberg's early masterpiece ofnaturalism Miss Julie.

    By the end of the century many young writers had begun toexperiment with symbolism and naturalism soon came to beregarded as old-fashioned.

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