A) Who was in this social group? How did they spend their time on a daily basis? What were their relations among each other, to the court and King? What means did they use to communicate with others outside of this group? Steven Olshin
The people who attended the theater in Paris initially were only the very wealthy aristocrats that lived in
France. Around 1597, however, this changed as the theater became aimed at a more diverse audience
(although the theater didn’t fully swing to what it would become for another 30 or so years). The audience members became a mix of aristocrats, princes, musketeers, royal pages, etc. who would sit in special areas called galleries or even on the side of the stage, as well as common people who sat in less appealing seats that were much cheaper (Robinson).
● These people spent their days doing what you would expect people in a Church ruled state to do. Other than the theater, these people worked and farmed (of course the wealthy had people doing things for them) and did other things to get a good life for themselves (Mason).
● People in Paris, France in the 1600s were ruled completely by the Church and their King. The King actually had a soft spot for theater which allowed for many interesting plays to be produced. People were devoted to their King, their church and their country at this time. People were also involved with institutions such as the
French Academy which aimed to legislate the theater.
○ “Because of the power of the theatre to shape French life and culture, the Academy held that playwrights should not be able to write whatever they please; rather, they must work within constraints that ensured social order and decorum” (McConachie et al. 46). ● Communication in the 1600s was obviously very different than it is today. The people of that time obviously didn’t have phones or computers to text, call, email, etc. so they had to communicate in different ways. The printing press was an invention that enabled people to inform huge amounts of people of information with just a little bit of work. As stated many times in the Understanding Performance textbook, the printing press completely changed the world of communication (McConachie et al. 41).
B) What range of religious and secular beliefs did these theatregoers hold? What did they believe about salvation and a life well lived? What were their social prejudices? What did they think of entertainment at court and baroque opera? Jessica Morris
● The Catholic Church controlled much of the theater during the early 1600s. The Church did not allow actors to perform in companies or secular plays, so some formed commedia dell’arte troupes, groups of strolling actors whose short comedies appealed to city aristocrats and commoners. Richelieu’s royal absolutism then linked the Church and crown to give the crown the authority over the arts because he knew of the immense influence the arts had on the people. Religious wars broke out throughout Europe between the Catholics and the Protestants. The Protestants started a Reformation that would end the abuses of the Catholic Church. The aristocrats were especially impacted in these wars leading to tensions between the Catholic and Protestant elites. In the end, the Catholics are vicious in these religious wars. After the Reformation and the religious wars though, artists began banding together to form their own institutions (McConachie et al. 44, 45; “The
● Many of the Catholic French elites were suspicious of salvation and a life well lived. To receive salvation, or deliverance from sin, one had to live a life well lived. One did this by devotedly following the teachings of the
Catholic Church. They were apprehensive about the religious prospects of the world. The elites especially were worried about their pleasurable behaviors, and theatre was an escape from this (Podruchny,187).
● Some social…