VIEWS: 3 PAGES: 19 POSTED ON: 7/31/2012
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!