Plzeňské sympozia

Alena Jakubcová

The Actor and the Machine

pp. 211–219, summary pp. 219–220

The theatre, performed by live actors and absorbing the recent events of the period’s everyday life, mediated for its audience also the period fashion of chess-playing automata (technical sensations constructed by the court counsellor and playwright Wolfgang von Kempelen already at the beginning of the 1770s), mechanical figures, speaking machines and automata combining the elements of magic, mechanics, hydraulics and magnetism, which were the domain of entertaining as well as didactic puppet, optical and mechanical art. The research of the material focused on the frequency of the phenomenon of the machine and automaton in the drama and performed theatre repertoire in the Bohemian Lands at the turn of the 19th century, namely as an element of deception, delusion, parody, metaphor, allegory, or also a grotesque or sinister symbol. In this context, attention is paid also to the period acting on the level of theoretical deliberations and proclamations.

Key words: Bohemian Lands, 19th century, cultural history, theatre, automata

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