Select Page

Previously discussed in the second part of the evolution of theatre series, Torres talked about the playhouses built and the influence they had on drama. Ending this series, Pedro J Torres will tackle the writers of the 17th and 18th century.

Sturm und Drang (1771-1782)
Friedrich Klinger set the tone for the future drama and plays at the beginning of the 17th century and into the 18th century. His phrase Sturm und Drang means Storm and Stress and that is what young writers in Germany based their own writings off of. The first successful play with this new style of storm and stress was Goethe when he wrote Götz von Berlichingen mit der eisernen Hand (Götz von Berlichingen with the iron hand). Friedrich Schiller, which we will discuss later, also engaged in the theme and wrote a play called The Robbers or Die Räuber. As the century continued though, the mood seemed to shift.

Beaumarchais (1775-1784)
A light comedy caught the eye of many in 1775 whenever the energetic characters from Le Barbier de Séville, The Barber of Seville, came to stage thanks to the French writer Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais. Along with being a writer, he was also a watchmaker, a secret agent for the French government and a risky businessman. As his life continued on, his writing seemed to move to the backburner until 1775 whenever he was known as the most popular French dramatist due to his comedies featuring the star character Figaro. Beaumarchais had the fortune to be able to have his two comedies Le Barbier de Séville and Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) to be made into operas by Mozart and Rossini.

Schiller (1797-1805)
The French Revolution was the main event in 1797 but that is also the time that Goethe was trying his hardest to convince Schiller to return to the theater. Schiller started with seven plays that took place over several years. The first few plays that were performed as a trilogy about a character named Wallenstein. The character that was extraordinary was going through the ups and downs of the Thirty Years’ War. Schiller’s plays were so well liked that four of them were made into operas. Goethe and Schiller made quite a team because although Goethe got Schiller back into the theater, Schiller also influenced Goethe to return in 1797.