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We're back! This year Mike Rugnetta is teaching you about theater and drama. Are you in drama club? Want to know about the history of theater? Maybe learn some theater history? Have a lot of fun? This is the series for you! Over the next year, we're going to learn about the history and workings of the dramatic arts, together. It's going to be a great time, very low drama. Except it's all drama. Embrace the paradox, folks.

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Hey there, I'm Mike Rugnetta and this is CrashCourse Theater. And, this is Yorick, more on him later.

[Intro Music]

So, maybe you're a part of your school's theater program. Maybe you're a Broadway musical devotee. Maybe you've just been waiting for a series that would explain things like "what are all of these phalluses doing in Greek drama?" And, "who though Neoclassism was a good idea?" And, "the theater of cruelty, why so mean?" If that's the show that you're after, then great. Have a seat.

We explored several plays in CrashCourse Literature, mostly Greek tragedies and Shakespearean tragedies. And, we'll be looking at plays in CrashCourse Theater, but we'll be doing a lot more than that, too. We'll explore theater's history, its theories, and even, its performance technologies, from the Greeks right into the modern era. Thunder sheets, fog machines, rotating gobos. Because, reading a play is great, but if you've attended live theater, than you know that it's a different and pretty extraordinary experience to see that play performed right in front of you. We're going to investigate how that experience is produced, and what it's meant throughout history to theater-going audiences. Theater-going, at least, when they aren't running off to go see rope-dancers, or consorting with prostitutes, or heading out to grab a beer and a chicken leg; audiences are tricky.

But, we say it's worth staying in your seat. Why? Because, theater is the art form most like life; it's performed by real people, in real space, in real time, and it's often a way to work out our ideals about the social conflicts and problems of the day. Theater is a laboratory for life. Plays explore how people feel about government, and religion, and birth, and death, and love, and each other; and, sometimes they explore how it's funny to put on a wig and tell lewd jokes. So really, just something for everyone. 

And oh, just so you know, I won't be teaching you how to act, or direct, or write plays, or hang lights, or sew phalluses onto costumes. Not because I don't like making theater, actually I've been making theater since I was a kid, and before YouTube, I was actually a full-time, professional theater artist making multimedia performance art in New York. And, I still do that stuff occasionally; don't worry, I'll invite you to my one-man show. So, it's not like we don't find the nuts and bolts of theater exciting, quite the opposite, but here, we're mostly concerned with theater's history, technology, and its cultural significance on the whole.

I'll tell you about Greek tragedy, and Roman comedy, and classical Japanese theater, and how theater returns to the West, because of one nun. We'll see psycho-plays, and passion-plays, and commedia dell'arte, and Shakespeare, obviously, but also, Renessaince writers other than Shakespeare. We'll cover really long French plays, and shorter Spanish ones, and classical Indian drama, and melodrama, and symbolism, and Dadaism, and Expressionism, and Futurism, and all the -isms. Well, some of the -isms. A very reasonable number of -isms, and I promise, at least one mention of Hamilton. Until then, exit Mike Rugnetta, and, I mean, could we end a theater show any way other than, curtain!

[Outro music]