BY aliyah lalani
The auditorium of the Restoration Theatres consisted of a pit with benches and probably two galleries with boxes round the walls. There was a forestage projecting into the auditorium similar to the platform stage in the pre-Commonwealth outdoor theatres. This had various names including ‘platform’, ‘proscenium’ and ‘scene’. Where the outdoor platform stage and the Blackfriars had doors at the rear of the stage in the tiring house façade, the Restoration forestage had entrance doors on either side of the stage in front of what was called the frontispiece and which became the proscenium arch. A curtain was hung at the rear of the forestage which was drawn up at the beginning of a performance and stayed up during the whole performance, so that every scene change took place in the view of the audience. On granting licences to the theatres, the King ordered that the plays should employ painted scenery and there was an area beyond the forestage, and the curtain, in which this could be set. The locations were painted in perspective on sets of side wings which led to a system of sliding shutters which met across the rear stage area. The wings and back shutters could be parted to disclose another location up to a probable total of three or four, and the back shutters could also draw apart to enable a disclosure or discovery, or to close off one scene as the action moved into another.
Periwig—Wig that gained favor during the period
of Louis XIV; hair at this time was worn shoulder
length and in flowing curls. The head was then
regularly shaved, the wig taking the place of the
man's own hair. At first it was made to look like
natural hair, but eventually an artificial effect
was cultivated. Masses of ringlets fell over the
shoulders and down the back. By 1660 wig-
making in France reached such a stage of
perfection that French periwig was in demand all
Chapeau Bra—Since hats were required at French
court and women could not wear hats on their
high wigs, they created this “arm hat” to wear.
Rabat—Type of Cravat, with vertically pleated
Jabot—The frill on the shirt front that might
accompany the rabat.
Cassock Coat—Between 1650 and 1670 the
doublet of Charles I reign was sometimes
lengthened and almost to the knee. Like its
Predecessor it could be worn either belted or
beltless, but following the new trend it had a
lower waist line; its skirts flared slightly. Except
for length, it was essentially like the modern
Cannon—Bunches of ribbon loops affixed at the
knee, worn between 1660 and 1670.
Bolero—A small jacket often with rounded
corners on the front.
Manteau—The formal female gown of the period
of Louis XIV. The overskirt was looped back and
held by ribbon bows. The looped-up folds were
often bunched in back over an underskirt of
taffeta; the train, the length of which was
determined by the lady's social position. The
train was carried over the left arm, except in the
presence of royalty, when it trailed on the floor.
Tricorne—The standard three-cornered hat worn
by gentle-men of the period.
Cravat—Any type of neck dressing other than a
collar. Of various types through several periods.
Her the rabat, or lace falling band, with round
corners became broad and long, and the jabot,
or frill on the shirt front, frequently appeared
with it. By the end of the 1670's the ends of the
cravat became full lace tabs, tied under the chin
with a cravat string of ribbon or lace.
Steinkirk—A scarf of lace or lawn, loosely tied
with the ends casually twisted into the vest or
shirt front or drawn through a buttonhole or ring.
Black silk steinkirks were introduced in the 1690s
and were named after the Battle of Steinkirk,
where the hurriedly garbed French, unable to tie
their cravats, twisted the ends through
buttonholes in their coats.
Petticoat Breeches—Full breeches, ending in
deep ruffles or canons. There were two styles of
petticoat breeches—one which resembled a kilt,
the other a divided skirt. By about 1660 the
breeches were so wide that it is not always easy
to distinguish between Rhinegrave breeches and
s short skirt. Sometimes the legs of these
garments attained a width of six feet.
Fontanges—In 1680 the Duchess de Fontanges,
having her hat blown off at a royal hunting party,
tied her curls in place with her garter, arranging
a bow with ends in front. From that incident a
new fashion evolved—a cap of tier of upstanding
wired and pleated ruffles of lawn, lace, and
ribbons. The hair dressed in that fashion was
called coif-fure a la Fontanges, and the cap with
its narrow rising front was known as le bonnet a
la Fontanges. The cap often had two floating
pieces of ribbon or lace in back, and over the
whole arrangement was often worn a black silk
hood or kerchief. In 1691 the headdress was
reduced to two tiers of pleats and became known
as the commode.
Waistcoat—A sleeveless vest that was worn under
a coat and was the same length as the coat.
Baldric—A diagonal sash that went across the
body that would hold the sword, display metals
and show status.
William Wycherley – Plays include The Country Wife, Love in a Wood, Gentleman Dancing-Master, and,
The Plain Dealer Lived between 1640-1715
George Etherege – Plays include; The Man of Mode, The Comical Revenge, or Love in a Tub, and, She
Would If She Could. He was a Londoner who lived between 1636 and 1689.
William Congreve – The Way of the World; (1670-1729) Irish writer. William Congreve is a famous
playwright, known for The Way of the World and other plays in Restoration comedy including, The Old
Bachelo, The Double Dealer, Love for Love, and, The Mourning Bride.
The country wife
The way of the world
The man of the mode
The plain dealer
Restoration theatre was truly a unique era of plays and play writing. When Charles Stuart was restored to the throne in 1660, theatres were reopened after an eighteen-year span.
Restoration theatre became a way to celebrate the end of Puritan rule, with its strict moral codes. To celebrate the opening of the theatres Restoration plays were lavish, often immoral by Puritan standards, and poked fun at both royalists and roundheads. The lightheartedness of the plays reflected a society recovering from years of division and unrest. Although the audience enjoyed tragedies, comedies were the hallmark of Restoration plays. Classics such as Romeo and Juliet were rewritten and given a happy ending! Restoration comedies involved quick wit and comedic situations. There were elements of Restoration comedy that were repeated for over 40 years; common themes suggest several social anxieties of the time.Another thing that rose in this century was cuckolding.