Tabloid piece

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The boulevard play is a popular theatrical genre , which today mostly includes light comedies or pranks, but which in the mid-19th century included all urban and commercially produced theater plays. With Boulevard Parisian theater district originally Boulevard du Temple meant.

Concept history

The pieces played on the Boulevard du Temple since the 18th century spread across Europe. Paris and London were still the world's largest cities, so a selection and optimization of the audience success could take place in these places, as is still common with today's media products. The critic Max Burkhard said around 1905: "You almost always like a tabloid play, even a bad one."

Theatrical form

Nowadays, a tabloid is mostly understood as a kind of swank in which the mechanics of the dramaturgy with constant surprises and mix-ups is more important than an exact drawing of the characters or a “literary content”. The preferred topic is the contrast between a befitting appearance and improper (love) affairs. Critical aspects of society take a back seat to the comedic effect. Pieces of this type are often performed on tour .

The tabloid in this sense experienced its heyday with authors such as Eugène Labiche ( The Rue de Lourcine Affair , 1857) and Georges Feydeau in the later 19th century up to the First World War. It is aimed primarily at the middle class and the upper class , from which its protagonists also come. The tabloid play mocks inadequacies in the daily life of this social class and is characterized by puns and comic situations .

Other well-known authors of tabloids were Eugène Scribe ( The Glass of Water , 1840), Victorien Sardou , Georges Courteline or Ludovic Halévy , and later Sacha Guitry . Many translations and settings ( Viennese operetta ) of French tabloids have become known in the German-speaking area, such as Die Fledermaus (1874) by Johann Strauss .

Today's meaning

Today, most of the tabloids come from the English-speaking area and are often coupled with successful films (like arsenic and lace caps ). Leading authors are Alan Ayckbourn or Neil Simon ( Sonny Boys ). Numerous comparable stage plays have also been written in Germany, for example by Curt Goetz , Axel von Ambesser , and nowadays Stefan Vögel .

The serious tabloids, the melodramas , have remained less well known . The crime and adventure dramas once dominated René Charles Guilbert de Pixérécourt . Similar to the serious silent films, they have largely been forgotten and replaced by more modern media products in the crime or action genre.


  • Théodore Faucheur: Histoire du Boulevard du Temple depuis son origine jusqu'à sa démolition, Dentu, Paris 1863.

Web links

Wiktionary: tabloid  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
  • Tabloid piece, entry in the universal encyclopedia of

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Max Burkhard: Theater. Reviews, lectures and essays, Manz, Vienna 1905, p. 196.