Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)




College of Humanities and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Robert Earnest



In this work, I will look at the implications and history of theatre theory, then lay the

ground work for what works will be used in this examination. Then, I look at the definition

of form and content in theatrical terms and introduce the issue of this work, what is the

function of Theoretical Theatre ideas, given the content presented in modern theatre?

Then, I will talk about the work of Aristotle, giving brief biographical information and

some of his theory on creating theatrical work, citing his work known as The Poetics. I will

then look at the implications of this work on the modern play structures created based off of

his ideals.

After Aristotle, I will look ahead to Emile Zola, and discuss his work on the ideal genre

of naturalism. After giving a full description of naturalism in his mind and biographical

information, I will use Woyzeck by George Büchner as an exemplar to better explain what

naturalism is, in practice. Then, I will look at the implications of naturalism on modern

realism, which is what is normally used in the modern theatre.

Next, I will look to the work of Bertolt Brecht, first giving a biographical outline, then

quickly going into his theory. I will use his play Mother Courage and Her Children to

outline how his theory would look in practice. Lastly for him, I will look at the implications

of his work on how we modernly conceptualize theatre in terms of form and content.

Lastly, I will look at the work of Antonin Artaud, with a biographical exploration, then an exploration into his theoretical work The Theatre and Its Double. After this, as there isn’t a good exemplar of his work that is well-known, I will dive into the impact of his work on

modern theatre directly. I will then conclude the essay with a refined glance at the work of each theorist and how each has shaped the modern theatre.