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A farce is a stage play that is built on mix-ups, funny coincidences and improbable exaggerations and is supposed to create laughter through rough comedy . In modern parlance, the term is also used in a figurative sense to describe processes in society and politics that are perceived as grotesque, mostly in rural areas ( provincial farce ).


Early antics were the main and state actions around 1700, which were close to theatrical parody because they were based on courtly tragedies, but also contained many improvised elements (impromptu theater ). Later antics usually consisted of three acts . The farce was considered a popular, private-sector counterpart to courtly comedy . So she was less respected than this. So there was since the 18th century numerous attempts bourgeois to develop comedies that no antics were, such as the comedy . Most of the German antics were transcriptions from French because the majority of the pieces were produced in Paris and copyright law was not very well developed until the mid-19th century.


In antiquity the satyr play was a kind of farce, and Aristophanes' comedy also has something ridiculous about it.

The farce of modern times developed from the carnival game of the 16th century and from the Commedia dell'arte (Italian impromptu comedy). Another source of posse are puppet shows . Up until the end of the 18th century, the focal point of the farce was a funny person ( Hanswurst , Kasper , Harlequin ). Because the censors wanted to check the entire text before the performance, the partially improvised farce became a written popular piece around the time of the French Revolution .

18th century

As in general in baroque theater , stage illusions play an important role and the text is often only a means to an end. The Parisian fair theater was the European center for many types of entertainment theater , which also spread in German-speaking countries. In the open-air theater or in the comedian booths the technical means were limited. On the other hand, in Vienna, like in Paris on the Boulevard du Temple , “standing stages” for the Volkstheater ( Viennese suburban theater ) were built as early as the 18th century , which encouraged the production of new pieces.

The older antics are close to the magic game or machine comedy or, as reforms, have a moralistic content that admonishes a decent life and precisely because of this creates a platform for obscene jokes or political provocations. The farce has a happy ending like the marriage that has come about or the improvement that has occurred. Many antics are parodies or travesties of courtly tragedies .

19th century

The climax of this genre are Johann Nestroy's pieces from the Alt-Wiener Volkstheater , such as Der böse Geist Lumpacivagabundus (1833) - a piece that still contains elements of fist material and a baroque framework , but mocks these characteristics of the older antics. The dissolute craftsmen in it remain incorrigible, the fairy tale and magic elements of the plot become naive, old-fashioned junk. Nestroy defends the ridiculous farce against the higher-ranking bourgeois comedy that has become naturalized in the Burgtheater and gives it an intellectual touch through satirical language games. This was influenced by the sharp-tongued Parisian vaudeville , which was popular at the time.

The more modern local farce is more realistic and alludes to regional characteristics such as dialects and geographical conditions. This local color is often interchangeable and can easily be transferred to other regions. The heroes of the local posse are mostly of petty-bourgeois origin. Social differences and financial conditions are made the topic. Nobles are more likely to be ridiculed. The Datterich by Ernst Elias Niebergall is an example of this type of farce . The traditions of parody and travesty still existed. - The Berlin local posse with representatives such as David Kalisch has also been important since the Königsstädtisches Theater was founded .

The farce is almost always associated with singing , one of its characteristics is the catchy couplet that interrupts the action and turns to the audience. It can also contain numerous choirs and dances, so it is close to musical theater . It was preceded by an extensive overture played by a symphony orchestra . After 1850 the posse is closely related to the operetta and the Schwank . Franz Lehár, for example, believed he had to distance himself from the farce with his Viennese operettas . In the 20th century, film inherited much of the poser tradition.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. ^ Provincial farce. In: duden.de. Retrieved June 2, 2018 .

Web links