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					Greek Theatre
 550 – 330 BCE
    Basic Background Info:
Theatre is state supported
Festival of Dionysus (god of wine, fertility &
  ecstasy)
  -lasted several days
  -theatre was a whole day activity... multiple pays
  presented
  -everyone attended…businesses closed, trade on hold,
              prisoners released (temporarily)
Amphitheatre setting
  -carved out of hills
  -amazing acoustics
  -huge seating
    Greek Amphitheatre




Theatre of Dionysus,
  Athens
The Plays…
• Theme = “basic human question”... who
    controls a man’s fate?
•   Playwrights generally used familiar legends,
    myths, & subjects so the audience was likely
    to be familiar with the story before they got
    there
•   NO VIOLENCE ON STAGE – it was
    considered too common to see, not “ideal”
•   Music – used to help create emotions
    (especially in tragedy)
•   Dance – mimed/imitated the action of the
    play (performed by the chorus)
       Comedy vs.
         Tragedy
COMEDY...

Old Comedy (social
 satire that poked fun at
 any & everyone)
New Comedy (dealt with
 the humor in daily life)
     Comedy vs.
      Tragedy
TRAGEDY...

revolves around a hero
  who experiences a
  reversal of fortune
uses dramatic irony
  (audience knows more
  than the characters)
           Aristotle’s
         Definition of
1.   must be Tragedy
             of serious nature
        provide emotional catharsis
        arouse feelings of horror & pity in the audience for the characters
2.   must adhere to the 3 unities:
       TIME – takes place in 1 day
       PLACE – 1 location
       ACTION – focuses on 1 plot, no subplots
3.   must have a tragic hero
        a VIP (high-ranking person) who is essentially good but has a
     tragic flaw        (usually pride)
4.   fate/destiny must make the hero choose between 2
     things, neither      appears better than the other
5.   the hero is destroyed by his choice
       (usually not dead – death was considered an escape therefore
     was not the        ultimate punishment)
“OEDIPUS REX”
       -Sophocles

    is considered the
 greatest/purest tragedy
ever written according to
        these rules
       Actors
• Originally only used a chorus,
      no individual actors
• CHORUS generally used to sum
      things up for the audience &
      to speak for the audience
• THESPIS = 1st actor,
      -1st to step away from the chorus & have solo part
      -term “THESPIAN” comes from his name
• 3rd actor added by Sophocles, famous Greek playwright
• 3 actors play all roles
• used MASKS for facial expression, vocal amplification, &
  costume changes
      Greek Playwrights

COMEDY:
• Aristophanes (Old Comedy) – prolific
  writer, one famous work = “Lysistrata”,
  attacked social issues through comedy,
  employed the ridiculous
• Menander (New Comedy) – found
  comedy in everyday life, one famous
  work = “The Curmudgeon”
       Greek Playwrights

TRAGEDY:
• Aeschylus – is the “Father of Tragedy”
• Sophocles – most well-preserved
  playwright, added 3rd actor, focused
  on heroes, most famous work =
  Oedipus Cycle (trilogy)
• Euripides – different from others
  because he focused on the
  psychological motivation of his
  characters (some idea of free will)
As Greek power declines tragedy goes out of
 fashion & comedy becomes more popular

Rome takes power!!!

Plays
-adaptations of Greek works
-comedy flourishes
-becomes cruder
-”stock characters”
-still wearing masks
Plays are still the in
  amphitheatres…
      Publius Terentius Afer
            (Terence)




• Playwright
• Freed North African slave
• Combines various Greek plays to make new
  ones
• Storylines re: domestic & romantic
  adventures
New Roman entertainment…
   extravagant spectacles known as ludi



           Water battles…




                        …Equestrian shows
                 …Gladiator contests




Chariot races…
Where could you see this spectacle?

        At the Colosseum!!!
  What brings an end to all this
         blood & gore?

• The development of Christianity




• Barbarian invasions
leading to the “fall of Rome”
Theatre is “dead” until the
      Renaissance




    See you in 600 or so years!

				
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