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Twentieth-Century Theaters

Smaller independent theaters were also prevalent in the early 20th cent., as in the Provincetown Players (1915) in the United States. Concurrently, antirealistic expressionist and symbolic movements in theater were developing, such as Vsevolod Meyerhold's constructivism, the "theater of cruelty" of Antonin Artaud, and the "epic theater" of Bertolt Brecht. There was also a growing interest in Asian theater, which seemed attractive to many because of its relatively bare stage, symbolic stage properties, and stylized, nonrealistic acting (see Asian drama).

Theatrical developments since World War II, especially in noncommercial theater, have brought the stage more in contact with the audience. Theater-in-the-round became popular at American universities in the 1930s, and in the 1950s and 60s many "music tents" featuring theater-in-the-round sprang up in American cities. Experimental relationships between audience and acting space have also been constructed. Such groups as the Living Theater of Julian Beck and Judith Malina produced free-form events in which audience and actors mingled, thus removing completely traditional barriers between them.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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