Segments in this Video

Acting: Holding the Mirror Up to Nature (00:57)


With new acting techniques and technologies, the history of acting evolved throughout the nineteenth century. The training, according to actress Sarah Bernhardt, stressed the need for the actor to reflect the history and culture of the time to be invented.

Changes in Nineteenth Century American Theater (02:46)

By his death in 1893, Edwin Booth had left a rich legacy for both actors and audiences, especially for David Belasco and Marian Anderson. During the nineteenth century, the repertoire company declined and the stock star system emerged.

Emergence of Acting Schools in America (03:25)

The disappearance of repertoire companies in the nineteenth century created a need for performance training grounds. The new source, acting schools, aroused both skepticism and derision. Marian Anderson's success was limited without training.

American Academy of Dramatic Arts (03:06)

Steele MacKaye and Franklin Sargent founded the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, based on the Paris Conservatoire model and Francois Delsarte's acting style which stressed that the mind dictates what emotions should be displayed in a performance.

Changes in Stage and Set Design (02:03)

During the nineteenth century the stage evolved from the conventional theatrical set into the box set. MacKaye's technology, including the elevated stage and better lighting, allowed for more realistic as well as multiple sets.

Two Acting Schools (04:24)

The American Academy of Dramatic Arts' curriculum focused on Delsartes' system, MacKaye's aesthetic gymnastics, and William DeMille's imagination class. In 1925, George Baker founded the Yale School of Drama and The 47 Workshop.

American Musical Theater (02:08)

After the Civil War, American theater offered a wide variety of entertainment, including musical theater, beginning with "The Black Crook" by a traveling French ballet company, and 1903's "In Dahomey," which found success in London as well.

Eleanora Dusa and Sarah Bernhardt (04:35)

Italian Eleanora Dusa and French Sarah Bernhardt were two popular European actresses who toured in America. Bernhardt expressed her acting and theater philosophies in her book "The Art of the Theater."

David Belasco: The Bishop of Broadway (02:33)

Another change in late nineteenth century American theater was the emerging role of the producer/director, previously the actor/manager. David Belasco's legacy includes acting, directing, producing, and designing realistic sets.

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From Apprenticeship to the Academy

Part of the Series : A Search for an American Voice in Theater
DVD Price: $99.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $149.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $99.95



In this program, Brooks McNamara, expert on 19th-century theater at New York University, and theater historian and author Mary Henderson plot out three crucial transitions in American culture between 1875 and 1914: for budding actors, a shift from apprenticeship to academy-oriented training at centers such as The American Academy of Dramatic Arts; for playwrights, a progression from surface realism to the earliest form of American naturalism; and for America, a change in sensibilities that paved the way for the global, technocentric society of the 20th century. The program also outlines the contributions of impresario David Belasco and the phenomenon of Sarah Bernhardt in the U.S. (30 minutes)

Length: 30 minutes

Item#: BVL9165

ISBN: 978-1-4213-3386-1

Copyright date: ©1999

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.