Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Gresdna A. Doty

Abstract

This dissertation pursues a relationship between the changing venues of the Viennese popular theatrical tradition, or Wiener Komodie, and the evolution of the comic figure from the performances of Josef Anton Stranitzky (1676-1726) to Johann Nestroy (1801-1862). This study follows a procedure of reconstructing the major venues associated with the Viennese comic tradition and analyzing the changes in the depiction of the comic character as they relate to the changes in the venues. This presentation of Viennese performance sites and stage characters ultimately explores the relationship between physical space (object of material culture, such as a purpose-built theatre) and theatrical performance (consciousness of place) and addresses such considerations as the following: (1) Do changes in theatrical venues and production facilities lead to changes in character representation on stage? (2) How do the locale and physicality of a site bear upon performance possibilities? (3) Is it possible for a place to exhibit, or give rise to, a particular form of consciousness (or ideology)? The study asks if a change in the Viennese performance site leads to a change in the depiction of the comic character. Eighteenth- and nineteenth-century performance sites in Vienna experienced several significant changes with their locales, actors, directors, dramatists, leaseholders, and audiences as well as technical facilities. Seemingly, changes within these individual components of the performance site not only reshaped the depiction of the leading comic character, but also established a particular "identity" within each major venue of Viennese popular comedy. The collective effort among the components of the performance experience developed a cultural "consciousness" that reflected the very society and culture from which it was a part. Apparently, the embodiment of this "consciousness" may have been the leading comic character of Viennese popular theatre. The appendices provide detailed plot summaries for most of the popular comedies discussed in this study, as well as various physical dimensions and admission charges for venues of Viennese popular comedy. Summaries of pieces translated into English, such as four of Johann Nestroy's plays, are omitted.

Pages

287

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