History of entertainment

Entertainment is any action, event or activity for the purpose of entertaining and eliciting the interest of an audience. It is the presence of an audience that makes any private activity from recreation or leisure into entertainment. The audience may play a passive role, such as when watching a play, opera, television show or movie; or an active role, as in the case of games. The entertainment can be public or private and involve a formal and predetermined performance, as in the case of the theateror concerts, or a spontaneous performance, as in the case of games. Many forms of entertainment are cross-cutting throughout history and cultures and evolve in the light of cultural and technological changes. Movies and electronic games, for example, while making use of new media and media, continue to tell stories and make use of music. The festivals dedicated to music, theater or dance allow the entertainment of an audience over several consecutive days.

Some of the activities that were once considered entertainment, such as public executions, were successively removed from the public sphere. Other activities that throughout history have been essential skills of certain professions, such as sword management or archery, are today competitive sports, while becoming forms of entertainment as they become appealing to an audience each time. What a group or individual interprets as entertainment may be viewed as work by others.

Entertainment provides fun, personal satisfaction and good mood. In certain circumstances and contexts, entertainment has a serious purpose, as in the case of celebrations, religious festivities or satires. As such, there is a possibility that what appears to be entertainment may also be a form of cultural and intellectual development. The appeal of entertainment, along with its ability to use different media and its potential for creative adaptations, has ensured the continuity and longevity of many forms, themes, images and social structures.

The experience of being entertained has come to be strongly associated with amusement, so that one common understanding of the idea is fun and laughter, although many entertainments have a serious purpose. This may be the case in the various forms of ceremony, celebration, religious festival, or satire for example. Hence, there is the possibility that what appears as entertainment may also be a means of achieving insight or intellectual growth.

An important aspect of entertainment is the audience, which turns a private recreation or leisure activity into entertainment. The audience may have a passive role, as in the case of persons watching a play, opera, television show, or film; or the audience role may be active, as in the case of games, where the participant/audience roles may be routinely reversed. Entertainment can be public or private, involving formal, scripted performance, as in the case of theatre or concerts; or unscripted and spontaneous, as in the case of children’s games. Most forms of entertainment have persisted over many centuries, evolving due to changes in culture, technology, and fashion for example with stage magic. Films and video games, for example, although they use newer media, continue to tell stories, present drama, and play music. Festivals devoted to music, film, or dance allow audiences to be entertained over a number of consecutive days.

Throughout history the forms of entertainment have been maintained and evolving; being some of them similar in all civilizations, times and places, and others remarkably different.

Everything has its opportune moment; there is a time for everything that is done under heaven:… a time to mourn, and a time to laugh; a time to be in mourning, and a time to jump for pleasure

And it happened that when the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, David took the harp and played it with his hand. And Saul found relief and felt better. Thus the evil spirit departed from him.

The “ancient craft of communicating events and experiences, using words, images, sounds and gestures” by telling a story is not only the means by which people passed on their cultural values and traditions and history from one generation to another, it has been an important part of most forms of entertainment ever since the earliest times. Stories are still told in the early forms, for example, around a fire while camping, or when listening to the stories of another culture as a tourist. “The earliest storytelling sequences we possess, now of course, committed to writing, were undoubtedly originally a speaking from mouth to ear and their force as entertainment derived from the very same elements we today enjoy in films and novels.”

Storytelling is an activity that has evolved and developed “toward variety”. Many entertainments, including storytelling but especially music and drama, remain familiar but have developed into a wide variety of form to suit a very wide range of personal preferences and cultural expression. Many types are blended or supported by other forms. For example, drama, stories and banqueting (or dining) are commonly enhanced by music; sport and games are incorporated into other activities to increase appeal. Some may have evolved from serious or necessary activities (such as running and jumping) into competition and then become entertainment. It is said, for example, that pole vaulting “may have originated in the Netherlands, where people used long poles to vault over wide canals rather than wear out their clogs walking miles to the nearest bridge. Others maintain that pole vaulting was used in warfare to vault over fortress walls during battle.”

The equipment for such sports has become increasingly sophisticated. Vaulting poles, for example, were originally made from woods such as ash, hickory or hazel; in the 19th century bamboo was used and in the 21st century poles can be made of carbon fibre. Other activities, such as walking on stilts, are still seen in circus performances in the 21st century. Gladiatorial combats, also known as “gladiatorial games”, popular during Roman times, provide a good example of an activity that is a combination of sport, punishment, and entertainment.

Changes to what is regarded as entertainment can occur in response to cultural or historical shifts. Hunting wild animals, for example, was introduced into the Roman Empire from Carthage and became a popular public entertainment and spectacle, supporting an international trade in wild animals.

Entertainment also evolved into different forms and expressions as a result of social upheavals such as wars and revolutions. During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, for example, Revolutionary opera was sanctioned by the Communist party and World War I, the Great Depression and the Russian revolution all affected entertainment.

Relatively minor changes to the form and venue of an entertainment continue to come and go as they are affected by the period, fashion, culture, technology, and economics. For example, a story told in dramatic form can be presented in an open-air theatre, a music hall, a movie theatre, a multiplex, or as technological possibilities advanced, via a personal electronic device such as a tablet computer. Entertainment is provided for mass audiences in purpose-built structures such as a theatre, auditorium, or stadium. One of the most famous venues in the Western world, the Colosseum, “dedicated AD 80 with a hundred days of games, held fifty thousand spectators,” and in it audiences “enjoyed “blood sport with the trappings of stage shows”. Spectacles, competitions, races, and sports were once presented in this purpose-built arena as public entertainment. New stadia continue to be built to suit the ever more sophisticated requirements of global audiences.

Court entertainment
Imperial and royal courts have provided training grounds and support for professional entertainers, with different cultures using palaces, castles and forts in different ways. In the Maya city states, for example, “spectacles often took place in large plazas in front of palaces; the crowds gathered either there or in designated places from which they could watch at a distance.” Court entertainments also crossed cultures. For example, the durbar was introduced to India by the Mughals, and passed onto the British Empire, which then followed Indian tradition: “institutions, titles, customs, ceremonies by which a Maharaja or Nawab were installed… the exchange of official presents… the order of precedence”, for example, were “all inherited from… the Emperors of Delhi”. In Korea, the “court entertainment dance” was “originally performed in the palace for entertainment at court banquets.”

Court entertainment often moved from being associated with the court to more general use among commoners. This was the case with “masked dance-dramas” in Korea, which “originated in conjunction with village shaman rituals and eventually became largely an entertainment form for commoners”. Nautch dancers in the Mughal Empire performed in Indian courts and palaces. Another evolution, similar to that from courtly entertainment to common practice, was the transition from religious ritual to secular entertainment, such as happened during the Goryeo dynasty with the Narye festival. Originally “solely religious or ritualistic, a secular component was added at the conclusion”. Former courtly entertainments, such as jousting, often also survived in children’s games.

In some courts, such as those during the Byzantine Empire, the genders were segregated among the upper classes, so that “at least before the period of the Komnenoi” (1081–1185) men were separated from women at ceremonies where there was entertainment such as receptions and banquets.

Court ceremonies, palace banquets and the spectacles associated with them, have been used not only to entertain but also to demonstrate wealth and power. Such events reinforce the relationship between ruler and ruled; between those with power and those without, serving to “dramatise the differences between ordinary families and that of the ruler”. This is the case as much as for traditional courts as it is for contemporary ceremonials, such as the Hong Kong handover ceremony in 1997, at which an array of entertainments (including a banquet, a parade, fireworks, a festival performance and an art spectacle) were put to the service of highlighting a change in political power. Court entertainments were typically performed for royalty and courtiers as well as “for the pleasure of local and visiting dignitaries”. Royal courts, such as the Korean one, also supported traditional dances. In Sudan, musical instruments such as the so-called “slit” or “talking” drums, once “part of the court orchestra of a powerful chief”, had multiple purposes: they were used to make music; “speak” at ceremonies; mark community events; send long-distance messages; and call men to hunt or war.

Courtly entertainments also demonstrate the complex relationship between entertainer and spectator: individuals may be either an entertainer or part of the audience, or they may swap roles even during the course of one entertainment. In the court at the Palace of Versailles, “thousands of courtiers, including men and women who inhabited its apartments, acted as both performers and spectators in daily rituals that reinforced the status hierarchy”.

Like court entertainment, royal occasions such as coronations and weddings provided opportunities to entertain both the aristocracy and the people. For example, the splendid 1595 Accession Day celebrations of Queen Elizabeth I offered tournaments and jousting and other events performed “not only before the assembled court, in all their finery, but also before thousands of Londoners eager for a good day’s entertainment. Entry for the day’s events at the Tiltyard in Whitehall was set at 12d”.

Public punishment
Although most forms of entertainment have evolved and continued over time, some once-popular forms are no longer as acceptable. For example, during earlier centuries in Europe, watching or participating in the punishment of criminals or social outcasts was an accepted and popular form of entertainment. Many forms of public humiliation also offered local entertainment in the past. Even capital punishment such as hanging and beheading, offered to the public as a warning, were also regarded partly as entertainment. Capital punishments that lasted longer, such as stoning and drawing and quartering, afforded a greater public spectacle. “A hanging was a carnival that diverted not merely the unemployed but the unemployable. Good bourgeois or curious aristocrats who could afford it watched it from a carriage or rented a room.” Public punishment as entertainment lasted until the 19th century by which time “the awesome event of a public hanging aroused the loathing of writers and philosophers”. Both Dickens and Thackeray wrote about a hanging in Newgate Prison in 1840, and “taught an even wider public that executions are obscene entertainments”.

Entertainment in the Ancient Age:

In ancient Greece, the activity of the aedos (the recitation of traditional epic poems, their alteration or composition, additions and personal creations, or improvisation and suddenness) was the Hellenic form of entertainment shared by all the cultures of the world: the storytelling. Greek theater was created from certain religious rituals; in the same way that from certain funerary rituals the games and the gladiatorial combat were created.

… Aquileo stopped the people and made him sit down, forming a great circus; and immediately removed from the ships, for the prize of those who beat in the games, boilers, tripods, horses, mules, oxen with a robust head, women with a beautiful waist and shiny iron.

Public amusements in Ancient Rome were a matter of decisive political importance, paid for by politicians who sought to please the people (panem et circenses); and even after Roman decadence (despite the imposition of Christianity as an official religion, which ended other manifestations considered pagan) they were still at the beginning of the Byzantine Empire, so much so that the confrontation between the rival hobbies of the chariot races was in the center of a revolt that could overthrow Justinian I (disturbances of Niká, 532).

For a Roman citizen, going to the hot springs (as the Arabs and Turks would later do with their baths) was a widespread custom, differentiated by sex, which allowed the day to pass pleasantly dedicated to all kinds of pleasures and social relations. Reserved to the great wealth of the aristocrats, one of the purposes of the Roman villas was to distract from urban life. Literally the concept of otium was defined in front of that of negotium. For all, the passage of time was regulated by the calendar of festivities (fasti), among which the lupercales (February, which with Christianization became thefiesta de la Candelaria) the liberalia or bacchanalia (March, very restricted from 186 a., Christianized as carnival) and the saturnalia (before the end of the year, Christianized as Christmas holidays).

Entertainment in the Middle Ages

The large rooms of the hall Germanic staying a type of banquets and entertainment, so it is reflected in literary testimonies like Beowulf and the sagas, were similar to those reflected in Homer’s Iliad (the Megaron pre – Hellenic and Hellenistic). Later, the castles welcomed banquets that were animated with music and recitation of epic poems by the minstrels. In the High Middle Ages, the religious legitimization of feudalism would mean that the entertainment patterns of lords and serfs should not differ substantially, Beyond the level of life of some and others; but that changed in the final centuries. The martial arts of the nobility ended up being regulated in the tournaments. The leisure of the students and the monks was reflected in the goliardesco environment. The aristocratic lifestyle of the court of Provence was idealized by the troubadours and extended imitating Europe. The Burgundian-style refinement of the late fourteenth and early fifteenth centuries was studied by Johan Huizinga (The Autumn of the Middle Ages). The same author theorized about Homo ludens. For all social groups, the distractions of the carnival functioned as an escape valve from tensions and conflicts, because unlike other celebrations, where the inequalities of rank were manifestly expressed, all differences in status or wealth were dissolved in it. purpose of restarting the cycle of a new world, in which the structures remained intact.

Entertainment in the Modern Age

Centuries XVI and XVII
Entertainment in the sixteenth century and entertainment in the seventeenth century:

The nobility could entrust artists and craftsmen of all specialties with works of art, music, theater, opera (in the shows it occupied the best seats, away from the populace of “musketeers” who crowded in the lower part of the corrals of comedies) and the necessary paraphernalia for his extravagant celebrations, dances, banquets, hunting, falconry, horse riding. In England, cricket was identified with the nobility. In 1563, Lawrence Humphrey considered the five sports (sports) of ancient Greece worthy of the nobles: whirling, leaping, casting the darte, wrestling, running and ridiculingdauncing, fayninge to instrumentes, playe at dise, chesse, or tennes.

The middle class of merchants and craftsmen could sometimes emulate the aristocracy by enjoying the arts and theater. Were popular ” blood sports ” with animals (cockfighting, bear fights, dog fights or bull shows not only in Spain, but elsewhere in Europe, such as England, as well as mixed fighting against bulls -dogs or bears, etc.-) The companies of actors congregated the population of the places they visited; some entrepreneurs settled and built stable theaters (like the Globe Theater in London or the comedy corralsSpanish people); in Italy the first covered was built: the Olympic Theater of Vicenza. A good part of the Spanish classical theater was performed at the Real Coliseo del Buen Retiro in Madrid (since 1640), and at the French classical theater at the Comedie Française in Paris (since 1680).

The less fortunate, who could not afford a good theater ticket, had to stand up. The executions were seen as a form of entertainment open to all audiences, as well as attending public humiliations in the stocks. Very popular were the punishments to the witches, which could be ordeals such as the test of water or his death at the stake.

Hernán Cortés presented to 1529 before Carlos V the game of the palo executed by Native Americans, who also made a demonstration in the papal court, which was reflected graphically by Christoph Weiditz.

Nowhere was there so much curiosity about games and dances as in New Spain, where today there are turning Indians, who admire, on a string; and others on a high right stick, standing on their feet, and with their knees, waving and throwing up, and stir a very heavy trunk, which does not seem to be credible, if it is not seeing it; thousand tests make great subtlety, to climb, jump, flip, carry great weight, suffer blows enough to break iron, all of which tests are sick donosas.

Given the scarcity of literate public, public readings were common, such as those that were made of La Celestina or Don Quixote (in a famous anecdote, Felipe III guesses that it is the work of Cervantes that a student reads with laughter).

That it is about what the one who will read it will hear it or the one who will hear it will read it

Entertainment in the 18th century

It was characteristic the diffusion of the coffees in the European cities (from the Turkish withdrawal of the siege of Vienna) and the gatherings in the aristocratic salons of French tradition (in the English custom, drinking tea). It has been argued that it was a stimulus for intellectual production that alcohol ceased to have a monopoly on the beverages used to socialize. The differentiation between classical or cultured music and popular music was accentuated; which did not limit the first to the minority audience of chamber musicIn the most important cities, successful composers such as Handel or Mozart were hugely successful; and theaters were built to represent operas and theater works of complex stages throughout Europe (those of the Prince, of the Cross and of the Canals of the Pear tree in Madrid, the Haymarket of London, the Burgtheater of Vienna, the Odéon of Paris) and especially in Italy (the Regio of Turin, the San Carlo in Naples, La Fenice in Venice, La Scala in Milan). The illustrated onesthey tried to reform the customs, including the popular amusements that they considered “backward”; In this context there were debates about the convenience or inconvenience of maintaining the bullfighting party in Spain. Gaspar Melchor de Jovellanos wrote a remarkable Memory for the arrangement of the police of the spectacles and public amusements and on their origin in Spain. The custom of undertaking pleasure trips, a previously unpublished concept, began as a common practice in the British upper class, being called the Grand Tour that traveled the cultural destinations of France and Italy praised by the connoisseurs and dilletanti; as a witness to their stay they could take a veduta; It is the origin of tourism.

Entertainment in the Contemporary Age
The extension of literacy, with great differences between countries, urban and rural areas and social classes, allowed the reading of newspapers and serial novels to be a very popular entertainment. The large attendance attending theater and opera performances made them a favorable place for political use: the battle of Hernani (1830), the boycott of Emperor Franz Joseph and the Empress Sissi at the Scala in Milan (1849). Walking through nature had always been a leisure activity -topic locus amoenus-, and ascending mountains had been at least since Petrarca -centre Mont Ventoux, 1336-; but the mountaineering and hiking were born in the nineteenth century as a result of industrial society. The practice of “taking the baths” in spas and sea baths, to which the upper classes submit, began as a medical prescription (the Roman and Arabic practice of baths had been greatly restricted in Europe since the Middle Ages) and they became social customs whose main purpose is entertainment.

The practice of sport (sport – from disport, “look for fun” -)began to be a fun alternative to the forms of increasingly sedentary lifestyles; while the sporting events became multitudinal convocations that were followed so much in direct as in their retransmissions and in the journalistic chronicles. The differentiation between amateur sport and professional sport maintained a separation, initially classist (rich people were dedicated to sports from the university – for example, the Oxford-Cambridge regattas- and then in their leisure time, while the poor, engaged in long and exhausting days of work, could not do the same unless they were paid to dedicate themselves to sport as a trade), but which remained in the Olympic Games until late twentieth century.

Two technological innovations of the late nineteenth century, the cinema and the automobile, spread very quickly. Cinema became the first global mass spectacle; later, it was the radio (since the 1920s) and television (second half of the twentieth century). Other innovations allowed new forms of individual and family entertainment: the reproduction of sound through the phonograph and the turntable, and the image through instant photography (previously photography was essentially a professional activity). The passenger carit added to its other functions to be an entertainment option in itself. In developed countries, the increase in the standard of living and the generalization of holidays (in France, two weeks paid since 1936) encouraged mass tourism. In addition to the resorts or resorts and package holidays, the camping and caravanning (use of caravans or motorhomes) they met an immediate success because of their autonomy and low cost.

Entertainment in the Great Depression:
During the Great Depression of the 1930s it was very difficult to spend money on entertainment for a large part of the population, although they could already do so legally in alcohol, after the end of the Prohibition Act (1933). Public assistance programs of the New Deal included the use of artists and entertainers, with free shows that allowed many to escape from their problems for a while.

Some of the most important American film productions in history, in the maturity of black and white sound films, are from this era (Los Angeles del infierno -1930-, The public enemy and Frankenstein -1931-, Goodbye to arms and Freaks -1932-, King Kong -1933-, It happened one night -1934-, One night at the opera and Anna Karenina -1935-, The load of the Light Brigade -1936-, The diligence, Gone with the wind, The Wizard of Oz-the three of 1939, the last two, among the first color productions), and many of them are considered to be evasion films, such as Walt Disney’s cartoons (The Three Little Pigs -1933-, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs -1937-) or the musical cinema (the Broadway Melodies -1929, 1936, 1938, 1940-). Later came the best productions of social cinema (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington -1939-, The grapes of anger -1940-, How green was my valley -1941-).

Listening to the radio was a form of free entertainment that was very widespread, and there were broadcasts for each type of audience. The Little Orphan Annie children’s program was very famous in the United States. Among the adult public programs were the news programs, the musical programs (Grand Ole Opry, the musical radio competitions of the time have been represented in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?), The rediofónico theater (soap operas), sports broadcasts and the broadcasting of sermons and religious programs. Great repercussion had the radio dramatization of Orson Welles The War of the Worlds (October 30, 1938).

The hardness of the dance competitions was portrayed in Danzad, danzad, damned. The diffusion of American music and dance in Nazi Germany, in Rebeldes del swing.

From the Second World War, and especially with the economic expansion of the central decades of the 20th century, the so-called American way of life (“United States way of life”) spread throughout the western world, including its guidelines for consumption and entertainment, especially among the youth (social movements of 1968) and in “environments” segmented by subcultures. Despite the ideological differences, they also spread through the countries of the Eastern bloc (communist, Soviet or “really existing socialism”), especially in the period before their final crisis (fall of the Berlin Wall, 1989).

Entertainment in the postindustrial society
The postindustrial society of the late twentieth century and early twenty-first century, while incorporating into entertainment the new information and communication technologies, with significant consequences for social uses, maintains or even promotes entertainment linked to more or less traditions old or reinvented, that spread around the world as a result of globalization; which is also criticized for the trivialization and distortion that implies dissociating them from their religious origins (or any other circumstance that constitutes their genuine essence) and for what they suppose of cultural appropriation.

Source from Wikipedia