Impromptu theater

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The impromptu theater is a form of theater in which the actors "off the cuff" play. It developed from the Commedia dell'arte and is a forerunner of modern improvisational theater . Often it takes the form of comedy ; one then speaks of an impromptu comedy . In the 19th century there were (German) impromptu poets .

Development and dissemination

The impromptu poetry had been widespread since antiquity ( Skolion ) and was cultivated in the Norse poetry of the skalds and in the minstrel sepik. Especially in folk poetry , game forms were preferred in which the actor could vary the text according to his own mood or the mood of the audience. The impromptu poetry, gradually perceived as a wilderness of theater customs, was abolished by Johann Christoph Gottsched's theater reform in the 18th century and even banned in Austria in 1752 for reasons of censorship . Impromptu speech, an old rhetorical art, is no longer taught, but left to the rhetorical talent of the individual.

To speak or act as an impromptu actor was common practice in England , for example, at the time of Shakespeare and in popular baroque theaters. In the Commedia dell'Arte improvisation developed into a permanent art form and influenced, among other things, the old Viennese popular theaters and the “ main and state events ” of the German touring theaters .

In Central Europe , the tradition of impromptu theater in the form of folk plays , morality , knight games , etc. has been preserved to this day, especially in southern Germany and Austria. Goethe's impromptu poem Palaeophron und Neoterpe appeared in 1801. Luigi Pirandello's piece Questa sera si recita a soggetto ( This evening is played impromptu ) hit the stage in 1930.

Jacob Levy Moreno outlined theoretical concepts for the first time in his book Das Stegreiftheater, published in 1924 ; he is considered a pioneer of modern improvisational theater.

Tom Witkowski took up the tradition of impromptu theater in 1994 with the impromptu comedy Das Narrenfest . It was played in different versions: for the award of the Charlemagne Prize in 1996 to Queen Beatrix (Netherlands) as Comedia del Regio and in 2013 as the European version Die Zugvögel . The latest version is also a gift to the Zimmertheater Tübingen , which has been the City Theater Tübingen since 2018 .

Famous impromptu poets were Martin Opitz , Ferdinand Sauter and Ernst Rudolf Neubauer .

Related art forms

The youth movements from the middle of the 20th century brought forth other forms of amateur play , some of which also work off the cuff. Last but not least, cabaret and puppet theater have to be mentioned, which live from humor “from the stand” or from the extempore towards the audience.

The tradition of the Andalusian Zadschal is maintained today in the Levant .

In the second half of the 20th century, modern improvisational theater with its diverse forms of play emerged.


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Old idioms
  2. ^ Wiener Volkskomödie
  3. Palaeophron and Neoterpe
  4. Jakob L. Moreno: The impromptu theater. 2nd Edition. Beacon House, Beacon NY 1970.
  5. Gunter Lösel: Playing with Chaos. On the performativity of improvisational theater (= theater. 56). Transcript, Bielefeld 2013, ISBN 978-3-8376-2398-7 (At the same time: Hildesheim, University, dissertation, 2012: Playing with chaos - performativity and systemic character of improvisational theater. ).
  6. Sabine Rother: Narrenfest: Clowns are incredibly vain ... but very social . In: Aachener Zeitung . September 3, 1994, p. 19A .
  7. Kerstin Lüpschen: Borders no longer play a role on the stage (joint play by theater groups from three countries) . In: Aachener Zeitung . November 7, 1995.
  8. (mow) Photo: Schmitter: A lively spectacle del'Regio (performance art from three countries - Brain teasers already at the entrance) . In: Aachener Zeitung . Charlemagne Prize '96, April 29, 1996.
  9. ^ Wilhelm Triebold: "As a city theater in the future" and "celebration hour". Tom Witkowski wrote a “Fools Festival” contribution especially for the occasion. Ed .: Schwäbisches Tageblatt. Tübingen December 7, 2018.