II. Theatre at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries
· revival of British drama begins with Oscar Wilde, until then prose and poetry dominate
Oscar Wilde – conversational wit
An ideal husband, The importance of being Earnest
George Bernard Shaw – interested in political life, education of the public, satire and wit
Saint Joan, Major Barbora, Pygmalion, The Devil’s Disciple
· 1898 – foundation of the Irish Literary Theatre (Abbey Theatre) by William Butler Yeats, J. M. Synge and others; it was aimed to perform Irish plays from Irish authors about Irish themes, but it expanded to perform English writers as well
J. M. Synge – The Playboy of the Western World
Sean O’Casey – The Plough and the Stars
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) – Irish-born writer and wit, who was the chief proponent of the aesthetic movement, based on the principle of art for art’s sake. Wilde was a novelist, playwright, poet, and critic.
He was born in Dublin and educated at Trinity College in Dublin. As a youngster he was exposed to the brilliant literary talk of the day at his mother’s Dublin salon. Later, as a student at the University of Oxford, he excelled in classics, wrote poetry and incorporated the Bohemian life-style of his youth into a unique way of life.
He settled in London and in 1884 married a wealthy Irish woman with whom he had two sons. Thereafter he devoted himself exclusively to writing. With little dramatic training, he proved he had a natural talent for stagecraft and theatrical effects and a true gift for farce.