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Information about GREEK THEATRE

Published on October 15, 2007

Author: Alien


GREEK THEATRE:  GREEK THEATRE THE BIRTHPLACE OF WESTERN DRAMA FESTIVALS OF DIONYSUS:  FESTIVALS OF DIONYSUS In honor of the god of Wine and Fertility Early worship involved orgies and drunkeness Myths relate to seasonal growing cycles and passions of Man Purpose of worship was inducement of fertility 8th-7th Century B.C.--contests of choral dancing held at many festivals ; “dithyrambs” DITHYRAMB “Ecstatic Hymn”:  DITHYRAMB “Ecstatic Hymn” A RELIGIOUS CHANT OR SONG PERFORMED IN RYTHYM AND WITH DANCING First Definite Record of Drama in Greece: 534 B.C.:  First Definite Record of Drama in Greece: 534 B.C. “City Dionysia” (late March) reorganized Contest for Best Tragedy instituted Winner of first contest is Thespis, who also acted in the performance Actors today are known as “Thespians”, in honor of the first known Greek actor. “HYPOKRITE”:  “HYPOKRITE” GREEK WORD FOR ACTOR, MEANS “WEARER OF MASKS” “CHORAGUS”:  “CHORAGUS” A wealthy patron, wishing to honor the gods, pays for the cost of a production Precursor to the “Producer” GREEK THEATRE STRUCTURES:  GREEK THEATRE STRUCTURES “Amphitheatres” Built onto hillsides Originally temporary wooden structures, later made of stone Were considered a form of temple Some held up to 20,000 spectators Parts of a Greek Theatre:  Parts of a Greek Theatre ORKESTRA: circular acting space at center, translates as “dancing place” THYMELE: Altar stone at center of orkestra TEATRON: Spectator seating; “seeing place” SKENE: Stage building behind orkestra; where we get the words “scene” and “scenery” Parts of a Greek Theatre:  Parts of a Greek Theatre PARADOS/PARADOI: entry ramps for the chorus between the Teatron and Skene; where we get the word “parade” PERIAKTOI: Three-sided turnable column used as a scenic device, placed in space between columns of skene MACHINA: Crane-like device used to suspend celestial figures above the action; “deus ex machina” means “god from the machine” SKENE:  SKENE STAGE HOUSE: provides scenic background, a place to change costumes, place to exit Had one to three doors May have been raised up off ground level Developed a second story in later years Side View: Orkestra and Teatron:  Side View: Orkestra and Teatron Orkestra with Thymele, Skene:  Orkestra with Thymele, Skene Teatron:  Teatron AUDITORIUM “The Hearing Place” Includes Orkestra and Teatron:  AUDITORIUM “The Hearing Place” Includes Orkestra and Teatron Seating for the Priests:  Seating for the Priests The Head Priest’s Chair:  The Head Priest’s Chair GREEK PLAYWRIGHTS:  GREEK PLAYWRIGHTS Only 5 playwrights and 45 plays survive According to Aristotle, drama developed out of improvisation by the leaders of the dithyrambs Early “plays”, such as those by Thespis, were no more than a discourse between one actor (“Protagonist”) and the chorus. In later years, playwrights wrote 3 Tragedies and one Satyr Play for the contests at the City Dionysia AESCHYLUS: 525-456 B.C.:  AESCHYLUS: 525-456 B.C. Tragic Playwright, Introduced Second Actor, “Deuteragonist” Encouraged face-to-face conflict between characters reduced importance of chorus, size from 50 to @15 Wrote AGAMEMMNON and PROMETHEUS BOUND SOPHOCLES: 496-406 B.C.:  SOPHOCLES: 496-406 B.C. Considered greatest Greek dramatist, wrote tragedies Created Third Actor More concerned with human relationships than religious issues Wrote OEDIPUS THE KING and ANTIGONE EURIPIDES: 480-406 B.C.:  EURIPIDES: 480-406 B.C. Last of great Greek Tragic playwrights Reduced chorus to relatively unimportant role Treated Gods with lack of awe Wrote MEDEA and THE TROJAN WOMEN ARISTOPHANES: 450-385 B.C.:  ARISTOPHANES: 450-385 B.C. Comic Playwright, “Old Comedy”, discusses “happy idea” Wrote LYSISTRATA, an anti-war comedy MENANDER: 342-292 B.C.:  MENANDER: 342-292 B.C. Comic playwright, “New Comedy” More secular-based, often a comedy of “manners” Copied by the Romans, more like a “sitcom” Wrote ARBITRATION and DYSCOLUS (“The Old Grouch”) GREEK TRAGEDIES:  GREEK TRAGEDIES General pattern developed by Aeschylus PROLOGOS: establishes dramatic situation PARODOS: Entrance of Chorus, “exposition” EPEISODA: main action, equivalent of an “Act” STASIMA: Choral interlude, makes comment on the action in the Epeisoda Climax occurs in last Epeisoda, so that last Stasima allows final comment by the chorus EXODOS: Final summation and exit of Chorus

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