Interactive flashcards help students review their knowledge of approximately 200 terms.

TermsFlashcards
M
mansions
scenic structures used in the performance of liturgical dramas and cycle plays during the Middle Ages. Because medieval dramas often followed the travels of a single protagonist over an extended period of time, mansions were arranged to represent the various locales and circumstances in his journey.
masque
an elaborate form of court entertainment commonly associated in England with the reigns of King James I (r. 1603-25) and Charles I (r. 1625-49). The performances sought to idealize the monarchy by drawing allegorical or mythological parallels, and masques incorporated lavish spectacle , music, dance, and pantomime to convey the story. ben jonson wrote a number of masques for the Stuart court, and his contemporary Inigo Jones (1573-1652) was the principal designer of these spectacles.
mattavaranis
in a traditional Indian playhouse, the downstage areas that flank the sides of the main performance space.
mechane
the crane used for special effects in fifth-century Greek performance that could lift actors in the air and propel them over the playing space. The device was commonly used in depicting the gods but it was also employed to simulate the flight of both animals and chariots.
melodrama
originally, a drama in which music is used to heighten emotion (the Greek melos means "song"). As it was popularized during the nineteenth century in France, Britain, and the United States, this genre grew to be characterized by stories of adventure and intrigue calculated to provoke audiences' heightened emotional response. Melodrama offers sensational plots (rather than subtle ideas or character development) in which good inevitably triumphs over evil. Uncle Tom's Cabin , George L. Aiken's 1852 stage adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe's novel, is a well-known melodrama.
metatheater
a term coined by the critic Lionel Abel in 1963 to describe the self-conscious dramatic examination of the nature of theater itself, primarily the relationship between reality and theatrical illusion. Conscious displays of theatricality and role-playing are two prominent conventions. luigi pirandello and jean genet are known for the use of metatheatrical techniques in their dramas.
metatragedy
a modern form of drama that reflects upon the nature of tragedy, the nature of role-playing, and the relationship between reality and theatrical illusion, often through the use of self-conscious, self-referential dramatic techniques. luigi pirandello's six characters in search of an author is a prominent example of metatragedy.
method acting
a system of acting derived from the Stanislavsky technique and developed by Lee Strasberg in the United States beginning in the 1930s. Actors who employ "the method," as it is often called, attempt to embody the emotional life of the character by utilizing experiences from their own past to stimulate engaging, realistic performances.
Middle Comedy
a transitional form of ancient Greek comedy, sometimes said to fall between the works of aristophanes and those of Menander (ca. 342-291 b.c.e. ), that focused more on contemporary life and manners than the political and social subject matter of Old Comedy represented by Aristophanes. The role of the chorus is also greatly reduced in this era.
mime
the narrative art of acting out situations and stories using gesture and expression without any dialogue; also, an actor who performs in this style. A form of Greek and Roman performance dating back to the fifth century b.c.e., mime was used to satirize everyday situations and burlesque traditional myths.
mimesis
the Greek word for imitation that is used to describe the artistic practice of representing reality (or creating theater). In the Republic , Plato argues that the mimetic arts are corruptive because they are too far removed from the truth. In the Poetics , on the other hand, Aristotle argues that tragedy is an imitation of an action in a way that is embellished and perfected.
minstrelsy
a theatrical entertainment that originated in early-nineteenth-century America where white artists would perform songs, skits, and comedic numbers in blackface (burnt cork with which actors darkened their faces). Deeply rooted in racial stereotypes, the performances caricatured slave culture. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, black artists began to appear as minstrels themselves, sometimes actually using blackface, as minstrel shows were one of the few vehicles in which African Americans could perform on stage professionally.
miracle plays
early medieval liturgical plays that demonstrated the miracles and martyrdom of saints by way of mixed narratives which often incorporated conflict and adventure.
mise-en-scène
literally "putting onto the stage" (French), the aesthetic arrangement of a stage picture including the set, properties, and positioning of actors.
modernism
a departure from artistic tradition that took place at the end of the nineteenth century and continued through the first half of the twentieth. Reflecting the social, technological, and philosophical changes that distinguished the modern world from earlier ages, modernism featured radical experimentation in drama, literature, and the arts. Modernist authors and artists include T. S. Eliot (1888-1965), Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Virginia Woolf (1882-1941), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), and Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971). bertolt brecht , luigi pirandello , and samuel beckett are examples of modernist playwrights; Antonin Artaud's dramatic theories are modernist as well.
monologue
a long speech or narrative spoken by one character. A monologue can be addressed to another character on stage, spoken to oneself, or shared with the audience as a means of elucidating internal thoughts or desires that cannot be expressed in formal dialogue. A soliloquy is a form of monologue, and an aside , if lengthy, can be characterized as a monologue.
mood
the atmosphere or emotional state of a play's setting or context.
morality plays
a secular form of medieval drama that was popular between 1400 and 1550, predominantly in England and France. Didactic in tone and allegorical in structure, morality plays dealt with the individual's moral life, the battle between figures representing good and evil, and the journey to salvation. everyman is an example of a morality play, and christopher marlowe's doctor faustus shows the influence of the morality tradition on later drama.
motif
a recurrent element in an artistic work that is generally tied to the themes or overall idea of the piece as a whole. ( See leitmotif. )
motivation
the thought or desire that drives a character to actively pursue a want or need, which in acting theory is called the objective . A character generally has an overall objective or long-term goal in a drama but may change his or her objective, and hence motivation, from scene to scene when confronted with various obstacles.
musical
a play with musical numbers interspersed throughout. At the start of the twentieth century, musicals were largely revue shows featuring beautiful girls, lavish costumes, sets , and spectacle. Show Boat (1927), by Jerome Kern (1885-1945) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960), is often credited as one of the first cohesive works of musical theater. The contemporary American musical which tells a cohesive story through the integration of dialogue, dance, and song began to take shape in the 1940s and is most famously embodied in the work of Richard Rodgers (1902-1979) and Oscar Hammerstein, who together created Oklahoma! (1943) and The Sound of Music (1959), among many other musicals.
mystery cycles
see cycle plays.