Monday, 1 March 2010

WIP Burlesque Doll

1st Quarterly ADO Challenge

- Burlesque

Challenge - to create a doll with the theme of Burlesque.

Burlesque is a humorous theatrical entertainment involving parody and sometimes grotesque exaggeration. In 20th century America, the form became associated with a variety show in which striptease is the chief attraction.

The term burlesque may be traced to folk poetry and theater
- apparently derived from the late Latin burra ('trifle’).

Its literal meaning is to 'send up'. In Britain 'burlesque' in verse and prose was first popularised in the 14th century by Geoffrey Chaucer's satirical The Canterbury Tales.

Early theatrical burlesque was a form of musical and theatrical parody in which a serious or romantic opera or piece of classical theatre was adapted in a broad, often risqué style that ridiculed stage conventions.

In Britain, burlesque was largely a middle class pursuit, where the jokes relied on the audiences' familiarity with known operas and artistic works.

In 20th century America the word became associated with a variety show in which striptease is the chief attraction. Although the striptease originated at the Moulin Rouge in 1890s Paris and subsequently became a part of some burlesque across Europe,
only in American culture is the term burlesque closely associated with the striptease.

These shows were not considered 'theatre' and were regarded as 'low' by the vaudevillians, actors and showgirls of neighbouring theatreland.

Put simply, burlesque means "in an upside down style".

Like its cousin, commedia dell'arte, burlesque turns social norms head over heels. Burlesque is a style of live entertainment that encompasses pastiche, parody, and wit.

The genre traditionally encompasses a variety of acts such as dancing girls, chanson singers, comedians, mime artists, and striptease artistes, all satirical and with a saucy edge.

The striptease element of burlesque became subject to extensive local legislation, leading to a theatrical form that titillated without falling foul of censors.

By the 1880s, the genre had created some rules for defining itself:

  • Minimal costuming, often focusing on the female form.
  • Sexually suggestive dialogue, dance, plotlines and staging.
  • Quick-witted humor laced with puns, but lacking complexity.
  • Short routines or sketches with minimal plot cohesion across a show.

Charlie Chaplin in his autobiography gives this account of burlesque in Chicago in 1910:

Chicago... had a fierce pioneer gaiety that enlivened the senses, yet underlying it throbbed masculine loneliness.
Counteracting this somatic ailment was a national distraction known as the burlesque show, consisting of a coterie of rough-and-tumble comedians supported by twenty or more chorus girls.
Some were pretty, others shopworn.
Some of the comedians were funny, most of the shows were smutty harem comedies—coarse and cynical affairs.
Charles Chaplin , My Autobiography: 125–6
Notable burlesque star Gypsy Rose Lee

Bright blessings to all x