Vaudeville arrived in America in the 1880s and became a hugely popular form of cultural entertainment for the next fifty years. Consisting of a series of short, non-related acts on a single bill, vaudeville’s eclectic list of variety performances involved anything from live animals, jugglers, magicians and singers to comedians, dancers, clowns, and female and male impersonators. The form gradually died out due to the competing medium of motion pictures. This page contains a collection of curated resources on the history and characteristics of vaudeville.
Comedy of humours is an historical form of comedy linked to Elizabethan playwright Ben Jonson in such works as Everyman in His Humour (1598) and Everyman out of His Humour (1599). It is based on the premise that the human body consists of four liquids – blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile – all representing a different type of humour (or temperament). This in turn affected character behaviour in the drama.
Guerrilla theatre is a form of theatrical protest popularised in America in the 1960s by the San Fransisco Mime Troupe. Commedia dell’Arte and satire were actually the group’s principal modes of performance, not mime. At its purest, guerrilla theatre was left-wing political activism in the form of avant-garde performance in non-traditional spaces such as public parks and sidewalks.