Realism began around 1850 as the Romanticism period was ending around 1870, and gave way to the 'isms' of Modernism in the theatre of the 20th century. Henrik Ibsen is considered to be the father of Realism in theater. In the UK, Thomas William Robertson was an early proponent.
The theme of Realism in theater was likeness to life and this movement sought to create theater that was a laboratory for the nature of relationships. The goal of a realism-era play was to set forth a functional or dysfunctional situation in an objective manner to an impartial audience. The audience is meant to view the characters as a visitor observes animals in a zoo.
The Performing Century: Nineteenth-Century Theatre's History.(Redefining British Theatre History series)(Book review)
Feb 01, 2009; The Performing Century: Nineteenth-Century Theatre's History Tracy C. Davis and Peter Holland (eds) Redefining British Theatre...