November 2012 Archives

Political Tinker Skit

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here's the text i came up with on tuesday. whaddayathink? / who wants to be in this?

(II.iii) Herman: Listen, Franz. You are still a young man and so you can't see so deep into things as the rest of us, albeit I perceive that you have a good head and in time may amount to something...I was thinking last night, as I lay awake, how the administration in Hamburg could be best arranged so that the certain families whose members are born, as it were, to be burgomasters and councilors could be excluded from the highest positions of authority and complete freedom be introduced...When the government was arranged like that, we might be called a really free people.

Herman: Heinrich!

Henrich: Mr. Burgomaster!

Herman: What do you think these councilors are going to do to me?

Heinrich: I don't know; they were very angry, I could see. I am surprised they dared use such language in the burgomaster's own room. If I had been burgomaster, I should have come right out and said to them: "Shut up, you scurvy-necks! Stick your fingers on the floor and smell whose house you are in!"

Herman: I wish you were burgomaster, Henrich! ...Leave off the "burgo" and call me plain "master," for I am a tinker, and a tinker I will die.

Ze Outline

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Erik - Historical context of society

Allie - Historical context of theatre scene (plus introducing argument / stating thesis)

Rebecca - Introducing Holberg
1. Holberg has been named the foremost playwright of the 18th century in Scandinavia
2. Commissioned by Montaigu to write for Scandinavia's first public vernacular/national theater, the Green Street Theater, which opened in 1722.
3. Holberg's theatricality
-his use of exaggeration or heightening of a situation for comedic effect
-focus on audience - "it is not enough for the comic writer to study the ridiculousness of humanity" and be able to "chastise faults so that he amuses as well" but he must always envision the effect the play will have on the audience.
-he thought themes that were popular in other countries would be inappropriate in Scandinavia. For example, the highly romantic French plays he believed would not receive the same praise and acceptance from the Scandinavian audiences.
-National theater closed in 1725 due to bankruptcy but revived to perform Tartuffe, despite Holberg's objections that it wouldn't be relevant for a Danish audience (because of its Catholic influence)
4. In looking at his first play The Political Tinker which premiered 2 days after the opening of the Green Street Theater, Holberg quotes that the play "had the good fortune which all good comedies should have, namely that a flock of people became angry over it" but which also "kept the audience laughing from beginning to end."

Dan - As Holberg introduces "Political Tinker" and shares his thoughts
(you might wanna snag my point 4 because there is a nice quote about the play that you could work into your piece. feel free to move it)


Bree - Analysis of scene (how he distinguishes himself from Moliere in particular)

Dan - The disillusionment that caused Lille Gronadegade's bankruptcy in 1729 / Danish Comedy's Death

Erik - Brings home argument through a historiographical discussion
-mentioning that historians are impressed with the amount of work he did (27 plays in 5 years) as opposed to applauding him for truly accomplishing his goal of culture specific theatre. He was more like Moliere than he thought...
-his emphasis on audience self-recognition seemed to make his work "indigenous drama and localized comedy" however... (sorry just giving you some of the notes I have, feel free to scrap them)

SCULPT! (Our Argument)

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Our argument/thesis statement in a few sentences:

The genesis of a culturally specific Scandinavian theatre began with the founding of the Gronnegrade Teatret (Green Street Theatre) in 1722 and the commission of writer Ludvid Holberg as playwright. Previous to this time, Scandinavian culture was stifled and largely steeped in foreign influence. The success of this genesis, exemplified by The Danish Comedy, was caused by the sheer will of Holberg. However, the true cultural awakening, which was Holberg's goal, was unable to take place being driven by a one man revolution, without the support of the people who were repressed under an absolute Monarch.

One of the articles which I read dubs Holberg the "Nordic Molière." While that particular article did not make such claims, some argue that Holberg was not in fact creating an original Scandinavian artistic culture, but rather a direct descendent of the larger European, and most commonly French, culture that he wished to separate their art from. We intend to incorporate this opposing viewpoint into our presentation and address its merits and weaknesses.

1. We've decided to divide sections of the information among each other, allowing for each person roughly a 4 minute time slot. At least, that is the idea currently. As we establish, for example how much historical background is truly needed/there is time for, we will allocate that time accordingly. Furthermore, each of us, has sort of naturally fallen into particular areas of research and we hope to divvy up the spoken sections accordingly, so that each person is speaking about the topic with which they are most comfortable and informed. Our presentation will now be structured into a lecture format, and we've organized our argument through an outline with multiple sections. First the argument is introduced, historical context, theatrical context, and biographical context. In this way, by positioning ourselves to speak on the topics that we are the most familiar with, we should be able to highlight the work and research of each member of our group.

2. (As discussed more articulately above) The main idea we're trying to present is that the rise and fall of Danish theatre at this point in history is indicative of an attempt to create a distinct cultural/artistic identity by Holberg. However, though the seed was planted, his efforts eventually dissolved due to the nature of an absolute monarchy and a relative disinterest from the populace at large. By choosing this specific subset of history to address we hope to provide our classmates with an interesting snapshot of a, relatively short, period of time that was not only crucial to the history of Scandinavian theatre, but also the cultural development of the region at large. By keeping the time frame which we are addressing short in terms of years, and adding performative elements where possible to keep their interest, our goal is strike a balance.

3. As has been hinted at in the two previous questions, we have decided to change our format, at least somewhat. We've decided to shape our presentation into a lecture format. This decision was reached today for a number of reasons, the most primary of which being that our research had led us in such a direction that, given the time constraints of the presentation, as well as its goals, it seemed to be the best choice. Now, that having been said, we still hope to keep some of the performance aspects that we had previously intended to encompass the whole of our presentation. For example, we may still have one group member read quotations as Holberg and we will almost certainly, for the sake of illustration, perform snippets from "The Political Tinker." Our hope is that the slightly more traditional structure will allow us clarity in the discussion of our topic, while remaining succinct and retaining part of our want for an embodiment of this era in the space provided.

1. Based on the gathered information from our annotated bibliography, in order to communicate the significance of the brief success of Holberg, and his lasting influence on the Scandinavian theatre and Danish society, we have sufficient information that includes biographical information of the playwright, historical information on the Enlightenment period and the societal lack of development faced in Holberg's society, and analysis of the comedies he wrote. The biographical information includes that of Holberg's origins as a writer, and how he became involved in the theatrical presentations. Historical information, so far, touches briefly on the enlightenment period, including concepts and ideas presented at the time, such as the push for individual voices and thoughts. The monarchy and the Danish King are also included, and this information could be used to introduce the societal characteristics that further more explain the dire need for change that Holberg ultimately presented. The analysis of the comedies are also critical towards our argument in the sense that we'll have sufficient evidence as to not only how Holberg communicated his ideas, but WHY they worked and remained a lasting influence.

2. A general overview of our argument is that Holberg was the first person who used his plays to give a nationalistic sense of power to the Scandinavian people by critiquing authority (therefore the monarchy) and by writing about themes that were relevant to the Scandinavian audience. We will also introduce the counterargument that Holberg was not a true "power to the people" supporter, given that he was also very closely allied with the monarchy. However, we have sufficient evidence to argue against this by pointing out that Holberg needed to the monarchy's support in order to produce his plays. The extreme exaggeration of his characters and plots was used to hide his critique of the monarchy so that he could continue to produce politically infused work. This is set against a historical backdrop of a time frame in which serfdom had been lifted, though it would be reintroduced a short 30 years later. Holberg is a product of these times. The fact of the matter being that while, technically the peasantry was no longer "enserfed" the peasantry was by no means completely free either. Thus Holberg, and by association his writings and birth of a true Danish theatre, fit well amidst a time in which the monarch, Frederick IV made attempts towards an enlightenment era political philosophy, but the realities of their world did not yet allow it to function in practice.

3. We have only twenty minutes to teach the class about the rise and fall of the Danish Comedy. This presents a problem because there are countless variables which contributed to it. Thus, we must pick and choose which variables we wish to discuss in order to most completely and effectively present our findings. In order to do this we are creating a thesis like argument around which to frame the discussion, addressing the variables which pertain most to our argument and merely skim over the cornucopia of additional information. For example: the lives and personalities of the three kings which ruled during Holberg's life had a great impact upon the society and thusly Holberg's work, especially given his reliance upon them. However, we will probably only be able to mention the kings by name rather than elaborating upon their personal affairs and their affect upon society. We will have to touch upon Holberg's international travels as they were critical to the cosmopolitan perspectives which influenced him, but we may not have time to discuss how each of the places he went specifically influenced him. Our scope is narrow enough that most of what we will have to omit will not be key information to the Rise and Fall of The Danish Comedy. Twenty minutes should suffice to effectively relate the truly crucial contextual aspects of this time and place in theater history.

Annotated Bibliography

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So here is the place where we will post our annotated bibliographies. All can edit as they see fit/complete their individual MLA sources and summaries.

Marker, Frederick, and Lise-Lone Marker. A History of Scandinavian Theatre. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print.

A History of Scandinavian Theatre presents Ludvig Holberg as "the foremost playwright of the eighteenth century of Scandinavia." Marker discusses that Holberg entered the Scandinavian theatre scene during a significant time of enlightenment and revolution, which led to such a theatrical growth in the region. It all started in 1722 with a company called the Danish Company, a project called "The Danish Comedy," and a theatre on Lille Gronnegade street. Holberg was commissioned by this company to write plays in the national language. Up until that point, only French drama and Italian operas were popular. This was the first national theatre in Scandinavian history and would plant the seed for more to come decades later. Marker then describes Holberg specific theatricality as a playwright. After the premiere of Holberg's first play at the Gronnegadeteatret, Marker quotes a comment made by Holberg himself about the play, saying that it "had the good fortune which all good comedies should have, namely that a flock of people became angry over it." Marker uses this comment to compare Holberg to Moliere, whom Marker describes and Holberg's true counterpart. Holberg's plays, like Moliere, are heavily laden with societal commenting and critique. Marker also argues that Holberg was a playwright with a nationalist perspective. He wanted to write about themes that were relevant to Scandinavian audiences and not fill his plays with too much romance or other themes that were common in French drama. The Scandinavian audience was most important, in Holberg's eyes. However, in 1729 after years of fluctuating financial problems the Gronnegadeteatret closed its doors for good and the Danish Comedy was no more. Thus leaving Holberg, who had written 27 plays in the five year period, a prominent figure in Scandinavian history. (Rebecca)

Marker, Frederick, and Lise-Lone Marker. The Scandinavian theatre : a short history. N.p.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1975. Print.

I also read what I think was just a different edition of the Marker & Marker book. A quote I found interesting and clear: Holberg's definition of comedy: "Comedy must...make people laugh...It is not enough the ridiculousness of humanity and to be able to chastise faults so that he amuses as well." His point was that comedy must not just READ funny; it must PLAY funny. (Allie)

Holberg, Ludvig. Ludvig Holberg's Comedies. Ed. Gerald Argetsinger. Carbondale: Souther Illinois University Press, 1983. Print.

Ludvig Holberg's Comedies, written by Gerald S. Argetsinger, is not only a biographical documentation of Ludvig Holberg, but an analysis of the comedies he wrote that dives into the reasoning behind the success of his plays. Before and during Holberg's rise to fame, 17th century Europe was beginning to acknowledge the ever-growing concept revolving around "the rights of nature and of people". However, Denmark along with most of the Danish culture was stunted in experiencing the growth the rest of Europe seemed to be partaking in. Instead of establishing their own identity within this period of change, many would flock away from Copenhagen if they desired conversion. A scholar of Holberg's, Edvard Brandes, explains, "[Holberg] did not travel to become less Danish...he left only to harvest what the world had to offer and brought back insights and we say he helped to create a common pride and way of thought." Holberg's intrigue had been sparked by the basic idea that "if people would simply use their own common sense, they could understand their shortcomings and improve their own lives". This goes to show why his comedies revolve largely around basic human character and their many flaws. Argetsinger classifies Holberg's comedies into 6 different categories because he believes that the rapidity of the plays written left no room for maturation in his work, and there is no noticeable change in political, religious, or philosophical views in his plays. He consistently expressed similar ideas in similar forms. Therefore the comedies fall into the categories of Comedies of Character, Comedies of Intrigue, Comedies for Special Social Occasions, Topical Comedies, Philosophical Comedies, and Satires of Dramatic Form. (Bree)

Hornshoj-Moller, Stig. A Short History of Denmark. Ed. Kirsten Corvinius. Aschehoug: Dansk Forlag, 1998. Print.
This was a short but complete history of Denmark. I used the chapters that covered the transitions to absolute monarchy thru the early 1700s. Basically, Denmark had an absolute monarchy in the 1600s that was a total failure. The general effect was that of a failed serfdom. Fields lay fallow, life was not good. This was also during the period of wars with Sweden that lasted from the 1660s until 1720 when the piece treaty was signed. Frederick IV declares himself absolute monarch in 1699, reclaiming the fiefdoms, hoping that as a singular ruler he will have better luck controlling and helping his country to grow and better itself. This book briefly mentions Holberg. He is introduced as a professor of History at the University of Copenhagen who "used humor to castigate contemporary society good-naturedly." This book was simply written, in a magazine-like, flip-book style that was almost childish, and covered several decades in two pages that were mostly pictures. One thing that lends it legitimacy was that an identical copy written in some Scandinavian language was beside it on the shelf of the library. While it served as a good overview, it was not a terrifically academic source. I was able to gain much more insight from in-depth, higher-level volumes. (Allie)

Langslet, Lars Roar. "The Nordic Molière." Scandinavian Review 91.3 (2004): n. pag. ProQuest. Web. 15 Nov. 2012. .

This article from the Scandinavian Review portrays Ludvig Holberg, the central character in this era of Norwegian literature, as a man possessed with the idea of creating a well developed national literature. The essay provides a basic background on his life, as well as a thorough discussion of his literary works and the massive quantity of them, attributing over 20,000 pages of work to him. The article describes him as a workaholic, a man who was so ambitious that he "did it [all] just about alone, a literary one man band, if you will." The article goes on to describe the national literature leading up to the time of Holberg as rather lacking, with the exception of early chronicles and hymn writing. The article glorifies Holberg for his work in numerous fields, and in reading it you find it difficult to blame the authors of the article, given their depictions of Holberg's work ethic. Holberg did not show much interest in the theatre until the opening of a theatre in 1722 and Holberg was hired as a playwright, after which he wrote a new comedy nearly every month. He also wrote historical works and philosophy, and seemed to almost have "a list in his head of all conceivable literary genres, and crossed them off, one by one, as he used them." The article, in short, address both the great quality and quantity of work put forth by Holberg, a justification for the work's continued existence some 300 years after its original composition. (Erik)

Lauring, Palle. History of Denmark. Copenhagen: Host & Son, 1995. Print.

The most interesting part of this book was a section on an English man called Sir Robert Molesworth, who visited the Danish court in 1692 and wrote a scathing book called "An Account of Denmark as it was in the Year 1692." This book, which he published anonymously, criticized the Danish people on many levels. He paints an extremely dreary picture of their culture at the time, which was extremely lacking in original artistic content. More often than not, artists were essentially "imported" from Germany or France by the Danish king to create plays, literature, et cetera for the Scandinavian people to enjoy. Molesworth, stating the purpose of his work, wrote that "this book seeks to depict drastically for an English public just how bad everything can be in an absolute monarchy where the population is made apathetic and subjugated into a state of animal wretchedness. The Danes were dull, boring, lacking in spirit." This made the need for original Scandinavian culture to emerge even more apparent, and frankly, embarrassing. Rebecca mentioned that in one of the books she was reading, the Danish king actually declared that plays written in French were no longer permitted to be performed in the Danish court, so the stage had quite literally been set for Ludvig Holberg to emerge. He wrote comedies in the style of Moliere, who he idolized, but he wrote them in Danish, and he wrote them specifically for the a Danish audience. This leads us to our main controversy: did Holberg write for the government or for the people? He needed the government's support to produce his work, but he needed the people to see it, and many of his lower-class characters are lovable, bold, and clever, sometimes more so than the characters representing authority. (Allie)

Holberg, Ludvig. Selected Essays of Ludvig Holberg. Ed. P. M. Mitchell. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1955. Print.

In Mitchell's collection of Ludvig Holberg's essays, originally published in a series of collections in Danish and while it is not made clear when each essay was published, mitchell makes clear that they were all published during Holberg's lifetime. In this collection we get to see more sides of Holberg, beyond criticisms of his theatrical pieces and the pieces themselves, namely his social and philosophical writings. The collection varies dramatically in subject. Some essays address the theatre directly, such as "Good and Bad Comedies" (95), in which he bemoans the state of theatre in Denmark, that the comedies being translated from French and English are no good and that there do not seem to be decent plays being written in Denmark. As he puts it, "from the the age of Plautus until Molière, a period of two thousand years, no drama of note of which anything is known came into being" (97). In addition to the few essays dedicated to the theatre, in which Holberg also proclaims the need for comedies to be written in prose, we also get to see the type of person that Holberg was, his beliefs an interests. Ranging from "Ancient theories on the origin of man" and "Heathen Ethics" to his endorsement of the regular use of "Tea, Coffee and Tobacco" (67). It is implied in the introduction to the book that these topics were presented in a more organized fashion, by topic, in their original release, however here the editor has provided us with what he believed to be essays that are representative of Holberg's interests, given that the larger collections of Holberg's essays, in which there are some 539 essays, remain unavailable to readers in English. (Erik)

I stumbeled upon this and it would seem project gutenberg offers free online versions of this text. So if you guys haven't read it yet,
have at it.

Someone should let me know one way or another, because one thing that I have not yet figured out since beginning this project is exactly how to create another blog still linked in to our group blog in some way. Maybe this is it. Maybe I'm writing this and it will enter The piece of geography that the University lays claims to in internet land and be lost forever.

In any event. This week I have primarily been focusing my research upon the history surrounding the frame of our research project, as well as focusing a bit upon Holberg himself. A few things have stood out. Primarily I spent some time reading Selected Essays of Ludvig Holberg The man, while primarily known in regards to Scandinavian Literature and Theatre, was also, during his time, known for his philosophical writings. Some of these essays are included in this collection. Some are on serious topics, others not so much. A few were quite pertinent, though I must confess to reading his ode to coffee/tea/tobacco as well, in which he defends his consumption of them and proclaims their health benefits (67).

The most interesting essay that I have read thus far has been "Good and Bad Comedies" (95). In this essay he discusses, amongst other things, that plays originally written in other languages and translated for Danish audiences have not fared well traditionally, with the exception of Molière. He claims that this has been the case, without the audience knowing, or even caring who the author of the play might be. He attributes this to the Danish audience being a more discerning type of audience than that of the Parisians. "Since in all countries Molière's comedies are considered to be masterpieces and since our Northern spectators can stomach only very few of the comedies written after Molière's time, one can be adjudge their taste to good." (95).

This series of essays are from a larger volume of essays in Danish that were released during Holbergs lifetime, though from this collection it is not made clear what essays appeared when. That having been said, it does seem to relate to the call for a truly Danish comedy, the likes of which is the focus of our topic. Having commented that many notice that the same plays are staged to frequently, Holberg dismisses by this tactic, one of the two options presented: translating the newest French and English plays. That only leaves creating new, Danish, plays as a way to answer this problem. He tells the reader that it has been done before and it can be done again. He takes this opportunity to place himself in the company of Molière, mentioning that "it is because of the applause of such [Danish] spectators that I have a good opinion of my own dramas, for I have seen them stand up against Molière's comedies in our theatre, whereas most of the translated pieces cannot do so." (97-98).

I look forward to reading some of Holberg's plays this week and seeing whether to my mind they do, in fact, stand up to Molière.

Despite this mention of his Danish plays as a positive note, this essay would seem to have been written after the "failure" of the "Danish Play" project. He does not seem to recommend translating pieces from other countries, as to him they are nearly all terrible, nor does he recommend the creation of new works. "Experience has shown that innumerable authors have tried in vain ... I cannot advise anyone to venture out into such waters" (96). As far is he is concerned, for an essay entitled Good and Bad Comedies, there are apparently only bad ones. "It may be said that from the the age of Plautus until Molière, a period of two thousand years, no drama of note of which anything is known came into being" (97).

These are no longer the words of a man who sees a strong future for the theatre.
Interesting stuff.

Holberg, Ludvig. Selected Essays of Ludvig Holberg. Ed. P. M. Mitchell. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 1955. Print.

Format of the Presentation

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Our presentation will blend the boundaries of lecture and theater by presenting an information packed look into the setting of 1720's Scandinavia.
Through dramatic representation we will explore the rise and fall of Holberg's "Danish Comedy". Using costumes, props and witty dialogue we shall wrap the audience's attention while simultaneously packing their brains with information.

--We will start the "scene" with a dialogue between some peasants, King Frederik IV, and Holberg.
--We will be borrowing elements from the object of our study; in fact we will be quoting both of the two plays we are focusing on (The Political Thinker and The Internment of Comedy) By the time our presentation rolls around we will have familiarized ourselves, not only with these two texts, but other texts as well, as to be sure that the selections we use are in fact representative of this type of theatre (as it will be our intent to use them as such). We will hopefully succeed also in couching these selections from the two plays into the context in which they were created, thus mitigating ethical dilemmas of how the text is used.
--Obviously all of these snippets of dialogue will be cited properly and included in our bibliography.
--We will assist our classmates in thinking critically by asking questions both at the onset and conclusion of the performance. We will attempt to discuss these questions as part of our piece, and ask for summaries at the end of the performance to elicit a critical discussion. The goal ultimately being to have presented a picture of a small section of the history of Scandinavian Theatre, not the whole picture. Thus piquing the interest of our audience.
--In regards to keeping our performance under 20 minutes. This is always a difficult thing, simply because you research and prepare lots of information, with the hope of providing a good deal of information (and having done enough work to received the grade desired, if we are honest with ourselves). The primary thing which we must do then, given the nature of the performance we wish to achieve, is to not include superfluous aspects to our performance. It must be streamlined and focus not just on performance aspects, but largely on content, because we will have a lot to say. Much as Aristotle ranks spectacle as last in terms of importance for a tragedy, so too must we rank it for our presentation. And of course we must rehearse prior to performance to ensure the time limit is respected.

-- In regards to the choices that went into making this decision, we all found that the types of classroom experiences that engaged us the most tended to be those that would either draw us into active discussion, or show us some aspect of a topic, in addition to simply telling us about it. Being able to watch a portion of a Noh performance comes to mind. Even while we may not have fully understood what was taking place, we needed the surrounding information and discussion to fill in some of the blanks, our attention was drawn in and eventually we had a greater understanding than if we had not been able to actually see a variant of theatrical performance, which was previously alien to us.

-- In short, we find active and interactive performance to be engaging, and assume that the visual imagery will also appeal to our theatrically-minded classmates. As a visual society, we feel our classmates will respond and recall these visual stimuli most effectively. While we are aware that a conventional lecture may convey information in the most direct fashion, we feel that we can appeal to the interest of our audience, use the format to supplement the function and still succeed in bringing about a considered informative presentation on this aspect of the history of Scandinavian Theatre.

Ludvig Holberg has been my primary topic of interest over the last week. In "The History of Scandinavian Theatre" he is mentioned as "the foremost playwright of the eighteenth century in Scandinavia." He came at a time of "revolution and enlightenment," which planted the seed for the development of the first national theaters in Scandinavia a couple decades later. The book describes the era as "a period of restless activity and growth" - which is making me curious about the political background surrounding this time. Although I have not read Holberg's comedies yet, I know they most definitely reference the societal structures of the time because the book quotes that "many people became angry over [them]." The author actually describes him as the true counterpart to Moliere, which says a lot about him as a politically-charged playwright. So the next piece in the puzzle will be to discover what exactly about eighteenth century Scandinavian society he was critiquing and commenting on through his plays.


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1. 1722-1727
2. We plan to focus on the work of Ludvig Holberg and the rise and fall of Danish Comedy, which was also influenced largely by Renee Magnon de Montaigu. "The Political Tinker" was Holberg's first play, and thus important. "The Internment of the Danish Comedy" presented a symbolic death of the Comedy upon the closing of his theater.
3. We haven't fully delved into the socio-political context, but will certainly be adding to this section as our knowledge of the era grows.
4. We all read various sources about scandinavian or theatrical history, and all found these names as a commonly crucial thread through these many publications, so we concluded that they were certainly important to our subject material.
5. We will eventually cite these MLA style, but here are some titles: "A History of Scandinavian Theatre" (marker and marker), "Ludvig Holberg's Comedies" (Argetsinger), "The Scandinavian Theatre" (Marker), "A Mirror to life" (Grose/Kenworthy), "Selected Essays of Ludbig Holberg" (Mitchell)

Narrowing Our Scope.. further...
1722 and 1727 marked the rise and fall of "Danish Comedy." This was a project proposed by Montaigu, the former court theatre director, and approved by the Danish King to write in Danish. Prior to this, the popularized entertainment of the time was primarily French drama and Italian operas. It was the first time plays were written in the national language. This led to the Scandinavia's first public vernacular theater called the Gronnegadeteatret - which will be our primary theater of focus. Holberg was commissioned by the Gronnegadeteatret and produced the first Danish Comedy in 1722 called the "The Political Tinker." Holberg was revolutionary for his strong views on audience self-recognition. He wasn't tempted to write about themes that were popular in other countries because he didn't expect they would be as accepted by Danish audiences. Holberg was famous for always keeping the point of view of the Danish audience in mind and basing all the comedy around that stance. Through theatre, he motivated the idea of Scandinavia coming into their own power and creating their own work.

In 1727, due to financial issues, the Gronnegadeteatret had its final performance of "The Interment of the Danish Comedy" - which actually staged the "death" of comedy. One of the actors who played the majority of clown characters in Holberg's plays jumped down into the trapdoor "grave" while the actress who introduced comedy to the stage 4 years earlier read a eulogy over the "defunct venture."
(This information about Holberg has come from "A History of Scandinavian Theatre" by Marker and Marker. In almost every book we have found that talks about Scandinavia's theatrical or political history - Holberg is mentioned in one way or another. He was definitely a revolutionary guy for his time period and Scandinavian history as a whole)

Historical Context:

Denmark (and norway, which was at the time under denmark's rule) and Sweden had been at war since 1640. The peace treaty was signed in 1721.

An absolute monarchy came about with the rule of Frederick III in 1648. The general population of Denmark was drab, to say the least. Serfdom was rampant, and as British Visitor Sir Robert Molesworth wrote in his satirical work "An Account of Denmark as it was in the year 1692," that the population of Denmark is apathetic, subjugated into a state of animal wretchedness, dull, boring, and lacking in spirit. Theater was not common, mostly performed by university students to audiences that didn't quite understand the concept, and art/artists were essentially imported from France and Germany to bring "culture" to the Danish Court.

Frederik IV was the monarch who tried to improve the education and creativity of the peasantry by building schools and encouraging artists like eventually Holberg to create. Holberg began his career as a professor at the University of Copenhagen. With the reign of Frederick IV came a time of increased freedom in the culture with the end of the The Great Norther War with Sweden in 1721 and his abolition of Vornedskab (a form of Serfdom) in 1702. In the time of Holberg then and The Danish Comedy (project) we also see a short time period in which culture is given the opportunity to thrive, before 1733 after which the son of Frederik IV, Christian VI reintroduced serfdom in Denmark, coinciding with the failure of the project, The Danish Comedy.

Bueller? Bueller?

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Testing...1, 2, 3. Is this blog a real place? Or just a series of numbers floating in space?

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