Friedemann Kreuder
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The Re-Inspired and Revived Bernardon
Metamorphoses of early modern comedy in eighteenth-century bourgeois theatre
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This chapter analyses the poetics and aesthetics of the ‘other theatre’ (Münz) in mid-eighteenth-century Vienna, on the example of Joseph Felix von Kurz’s medley Der aufs neue begeisterte und belebte Bernardon (1754). Inspired by transnational performative traditions (commedia dell’arte, English Comedy, Haupt- und Staatsaktionen), the Bernardonians experienced a shift in meaning in the context of the emerging middle class. This paper explores the role of popular theatre in the ideological construction of bourgeois ideals of emotional distance and decorum. By pushing the limits of theatre as play to the full, and by openly displaying a playful character through acting techniques rather than trying to hide it, popular performers such as Bernardon crossed the narrow borders of bourgeois notions of identity and gender roles.

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