Research Article


DOI :10.26650/CONS2022-1086814   IUP :10.26650/CONS2022-1086814    Full Text (PDF)

Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features

Simay Yılmaz

Expressionism, one of the early twentieth century avant-garde art movements, had a major effect on the performing arts, especially in theatre and its related genres. Thus, this study examined the features of the Expressionist movement in theatre. For this purpose, we conducted a detailed literature review and analysis, and examined the social conditions that fostered the twentieth century avant-garde art movements, general characteristics of Expressionism, emergence of Expressionist theatre, and its pioneers, development process, and effect on theatre in the context of playwriting and staging. Based on the findings, Expressionism brought a number of important innovations to theatre, including the adoption of the Stationendrama technique in playwriting; destruction of the structure of the plot (which was primarily based on logic and a cause-effect relationship); use of theatricality, grotesque, and stylized elements in acting; disengagement from the naturalistic stage design and tendency toward abstraction and distortion; and use of light and sound, as important tools of expression.

DOI :10.26650/CONS2022-1086814   IUP :10.26650/CONS2022-1086814    Full Text (PDF)

Ekspresyonist Tiyatro: Ekspresyonizm Sanat Akımının Tiyatro Sanatına Etkisinin Oyun Yazımı ve Sahneleme Özellikleri Bağlamında İncelenmesi

Simay Yılmaz

Yirminci yüzyılın başındaki avant-garde sanat akımlarından biri olan Ekspresyonizm, sahne sanatlarını büyük ölçüde etkilemiştir. Bilhassa tiyatro sanatı özelinde başat açılımlara olanak sağlayan ekspresyonist akımın havası, takip eden dönemlerdeki sanatsal eğilim ve yönelimlerde de solunmaya devam etmiştir. Bu çalışmada, ekspresyonist akımın tiyatro sanatı bağlamındaki özelliklerinin incelenmesi amaçlanmıştır. Çalışmanın yöntemini, detaylı bir literatür taraması ve analizi, ardından toplanan verinin alt başlıklar altında kümelenmesi oluşturmuştur. Çalışmada, sırasıyla, yirminci yüzyılın öncü sanat akımlarını hazırlayan toplumsal koşullar açıklanmış, Ekspresyonizm akımının genel özelliklerine yer verilmiş, ekspresyonist tiyatronun öncüleri, ortaya çıkış ve gelişim süreci ele alınmış ve son olarak Ekspresyonizmin tiyatro sanatına etkisi, oyun yazımı ve sahneleme özellikleri bağlamında incelenmiştir. Çalışmanın sonucunda, ekspresyonist akımın, oyun yazımında Stationendrama tekniğinin benimsenmesi, olay örgüsünün mantığa ve neden-sonuç ilişkisine dayanan yapısının bozulması, sahnelemede teatralliğin, grotesk ve stilize oyunculuk unsurlarının kullanıma sokulması, natüralist sahne tasarımından uzaklaşılarak soyutlamaya ve çarpıtmaya yönelinmesi, ışık ve sesin anlatımın önemli araçları haline gelmesi gibi bir dizi önemli yeniliği tiyatro sanatına kazandırdığı görülmüştür.


EXTENDED ABSTRACT


Expressionism is one of the avant-garde art movements of the early twentieth century. In the social environment before World War I, the isolation and alienation of individuals from the industrialized and mechanized bourgeois society and poor living conditions made them question the values that were imposed as “modern.” Conversely, studies emphasizing the importance of the subconscious mind and some intellectual developments, such as the theory of relativity, eroded the trust in scientific precision, belief in the human mind, its “consciousness” and “positivity,” and teachings of 19thcentury positivist philosophy.

In reaction to the individual pains created by pre-war “modernized” society and “modern” values (which were being questioned), pioneering art movements emerged in intervals of 5–10 years. The so-called avant-garde art movements included Futurism, Surrealism, Dadaism, and Expressionism. As for the latter, it developed in Germany, and it was mainly influential in the fine arts, after which it spread into literature, theatre, and other branches of art. The main idea of the Expressionist movement can be explained as the external manifestation of the inner delusions that occur in the inner world of the individual, against the pains created by the social sphere.

The Expressionist movement has greatly influenced the field of performing arts, especially in the context of playwriting, acting, voice and body techniques and tendencies, choreography, and staging styles. This particular movement also fostered major breakthroughs in subsequent theatrical periods and genres, ranging from political and absurd to Postmodernism.

This study includes a detailed analysis of Expressionist theatre. Moreover, it covers the social conditions that fostered the twentieth century avant-garde art movements, general characteristics of Expressionism, emergence of the Expressionist theatre, and its pioneers, development process, and effect on theatre in the context of playwriting and staging.

As mentioned earlier, Expressionism developed in Germany in the beginning of the twentieth century. The earliest examples were the works of August Strindberg and Frank Wedekind, while the Expressionist style mainly developed through innovations in dramatic texts by German writers, namely, Georg Kaiser, Ernst Toller, Reinhard Sorge, Walter Hasenclever, among others. As for staging, there was Max Reinhardt and Leopold Jessner, while in acting, there was Werner Krauss, Fritz Kortner, and Ernst Deutsch. During World War I, Expressionist art continued to develop in the United States, whereas after the war, the movement re-emerged in Germany.

Based on the findings, the most fundamental innovations in playwriting of Expressionist theatre are as follows: The Stationendrama playwriting technique; obscurity of time and space; collapse of the logical structure of the plot based on a cause-effect relationship in the context of a dream-like atmosphere; language and dialog taking a discrete and associative form; and the “idea” becoming the focus of the text, instead of the plot or the characters. Regarding the fundamental innovations in the staging of Expressionist theatre, they can be divided as follows. In acting, the means of expression shifted from the dialog to sound and movement, which included theatricality, exaggeration, grotesqueness, and stylized acting elements. Meanwhile in staging, artists moved away from the naturalistic stage design and adopted decor, light, and sound, as tools of expression to support the abstraction and distortion. 


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APA

Yılmaz, S. (2022). Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features. Conservatorium, 9(1), 1-24. https://doi.org/10.26650/CONS2022-1086814


AMA

Yılmaz S. Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features. Conservatorium. 2022;9(1):1-24. https://doi.org/10.26650/CONS2022-1086814


ABNT

Yılmaz, S. Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features. Conservatorium, [Publisher Location], v. 9, n. 1, p. 1-24, 2022.


Chicago: Author-Date Style

Yılmaz, Simay,. 2022. “Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features.” Conservatorium 9, no. 1: 1-24. https://doi.org/10.26650/CONS2022-1086814


Chicago: Humanities Style

Yılmaz, Simay,. Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features.” Conservatorium 9, no. 1 (Oct. 2022): 1-24. https://doi.org/10.26650/CONS2022-1086814


Harvard: Australian Style

Yılmaz, S 2022, 'Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features', Conservatorium, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 1-24, viewed 2 Oct. 2022, https://doi.org/10.26650/CONS2022-1086814


Harvard: Author-Date Style

Yılmaz, S. (2022) ‘Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features’, Conservatorium, 9(1), pp. 1-24. https://doi.org/10.26650/CONS2022-1086814 (2 Oct. 2022).


MLA

Yılmaz, Simay,. Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features.” Conservatorium, vol. 9, no. 1, 2022, pp. 1-24. [Database Container], https://doi.org/10.26650/CONS2022-1086814


Vancouver

Yılmaz S. Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features. Conservatorium [Internet]. 2 Oct. 2022 [cited 2 Oct. 2022];9(1):1-24. Available from: https://doi.org/10.26650/CONS2022-1086814 doi: 10.26650/CONS2022-1086814


ISNAD

Yılmaz, Simay. Expressionist Theatre: Study of The Effect of Expressionism on Theatre in Terms of Its Playwriting and Staging Features”. Conservatorium 9/1 (Oct. 2022): 1-24. https://doi.org/10.26650/CONS2022-1086814



TIMELINE


Submitted12.03.2022
Accepted16.05.2022
Published Online01.06.2022

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