Today we had another lesson on Restoration Comedy and the traits of Restoration Comedy.
First I thought I would wright a little about The Commonwealth of England because the end of the Commonwealth was when Restoration comedy started. I took notes from the YouTube video below as it speaks about how all theatres were closed during the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth of England was the period between 1649 to 1660, it was when England was ruled as a republic. This happened after the civil war. Power in the early commonwealth was left to the parliament. This lead to theatres being closed, the country was stripped back from anything remotely fun.
(1) England was divided into eleven districts. Each district was run by a Major General. The responsibilities of these Major-Generals included maintaining order, collecting taxes, granting poor relief and imposing Puritan morality. In some districts bear-baiting, cock-fighting, horse-racing and wrestling were banned. Betting and gambling were also forbidden. Large numbers of ale-houses were closed and fines were imposed on people caught swearing. In some districts, the Major-Generals even closed down theatres.
So this explains why reopening of theatre and Restoration Comedy must have been so exciting in 1660. It was outrageous, funny and something different.
Restoration Comedy was such a big faze in theatres from 1660 to the early 18th centaury because there was nothing before it. “The revival of drama in England after he restoration of the monarchy (1660)” The Restoration style of comedy became unpopular in the early 18th centaury, people got board of the casual attitude to morals. This was because middle class audiences started to reject its outrageous style of ‘anything goes’.
We also spoke about ‘Breeches Role’, a breeches role is when females dressed as males on stage. Of course for such a long time females were not aloud to act and all the females were played by young boys. Eventually after the Restoration females got to act and for a trait of comedy and licentiousness would dress up as men. The men tended to wear breeches hence the name ‘Breeches Roles’ so actresses would dress up as the men, this meant their legs would be on show now we don’t find this shocking but at the time it really was!
Restoration Comedy must have been so exciting at the time, here is a clip of what the characters would have looked like at the time.