Theatre History Rituals to Renaissance Rituals - 38,000-500 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


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Theatre History Rituals to Renaissance Rituals - 38,000-500


Theatre History Rituals to Renaissance Rituals - 38,000-5000 BC Oldest form of expression - storytelling Begins with primitive man as dance and rhythmic movement ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Theatre History Rituals to Renaissance Rituals - 38,000-500

Theatre History
  • Rituals to Renaissance

Rituals - 38,000-5000 BC
  • Oldest form of expression - storytelling
  • Begins with primitive man as dance and rhythmic
  • These rituals explained tradition, religion, why
    thing happen in nature
  • Rituals evolved into pantomime - stories shown
    not told

Egypt - 4000 - 500 B.C.
  • Pyramid plays - religious plays about the
    deceased kings soul being resurrected
  • Coronation Festival plays - celebration of the
    new pharaoh
  • Passion plays - murder of a king battle,
    voyages, and a scary resurrection scene
  • Ra plays - Ra (sun god) fought Apophis (snake
    god) of the underworld. Ra always won.

Greeks 1200-500 B.C.
  • Performances grew out of religious festivals in
    honor of Greek God Dionysis
  • Festivals (5-6 days) were held once a year in the
    THEATRON (watching space) which is where we get
    our word THEATRE
  • All citizens were expected to attend
  • Largest seated 1400 (1/2 population of Athens)
  • Theaters were semi-circles built of stone into
    the hillside

(No Transcript)
Greek Theatre (continued)
  • Greek Theatre focused on TRAGEDY (issues of
    life, death, the gods)
  • Actors all male/wore masks
  • Chorus (12-50) acted out the
  • story/life of the Gods together
  • First producer/director/actor was
  • THESPIS - invented acting when
  • he steps out of the chorus to
  • answer them ---
  • this created stage dialogue

Greek Theatre (continued) - Playwrights
  • Aeschylus - (525?-456 B.C.) Father of Tragedy
    considered to be the first playwright
  • Idea of the play is the most important thing -
    not the character
  • Adds a 2nd actor
  • Sophocles (496-406 B.C.)
  • Writes about right vs wrong, the idea that man
    can not solve all the problems in the world
  • Focuses on character -- drives the plot
  • Euripides (480?-406 B.C.)
  • First Modern playwright
  • Writes plays of characters in relation to society
    and mocks them
  • Characters are realistic
  • No chorus

Roman Theatre - 6th century B.C.
  • Borrowed from the Greeks and improved on them
  • Less philosophical than the Greeks
  • Actors/performers were called histriones
  • Encompassed more than drama acrobatics,
    gladiators, jugglers, athletics, chariots races,
    naumachia (sea battles), boxing, venationes
    (animal fights)

Roman Theatre (continued)
  • Pantomime/Mime - solo dance, with music (lutes,
    pipes, cymbals) and a chorus.
  • Used masks, story-telling, mythology or
    historical stories, usually serious but sometimes
  • Spoken
  • Usually short
  • Sometimes elaborate casts and spectacle
  • Serious or comic (satiric)
  • No masks
  • Had women
  • Violence and sex depicted literally
  • Scoffed at Christianity
  • Needless to say, the Church did not

    look kindly at Mime.

Roman Theatre (continued)
  • Theaters are free-standing buildings with stadium
  • Large stages (20-40 deep and 100-300 feet long)
  • Could seat 10-15,000 people
  • Stage covered with a roof (often
  • Audience covered with a awning to
    protect them from the
  • Trap doors common
  • Around 78 B.C. a cooling system
    put in place
    --- air blown over
    streams of
  • Sand on the stage floor

(No Transcript)
Roman Playwrights
  • Titus Maccius Plautus (254-184 B.C.)
  • 130 plays total
  • Wrote comedy
  • Extremely popular in his own time
  • Lots of slapstick and dialog with short lines
  • Publius Terenius Afer (Terence) (195 or 185 to
    159 B.C.)
  • Came to Rome as a boy slace, educated and freed
  • 6 plays (all survived)
  • More complex stories --- all from Greek originals
  • Less popular than Plautus
  • Lucius Annaeus seneca (4 or 5 B.C. to 65 A.D.)
  • Wrote 9 plays - 5 adapted from Euripides
  • Popularity declined and committed suicide in 65
  • Characters in plays dominated by a single passion
  • Violence and horror onstage (unlike Greeks)

Medieval Theatre (950-1550)
  • Theatre is dead in Europe but active in Asia
  • Traveling Troupes performed on wagons which
    opened to create a fixed stage - used props and
    costumes but in Europe no women performers
  • 3 Types of plays performed
  • Miracle Plays - enacted the lives of saints
  • Mystery Plays - Bible stories sometimes also
    called passion plays
  • Morality Plays - taught moral lessons - right vs
    wrong and the struggle between good and evil for
    the soul of Man

Italian Renaissance (1470-1550)
  • Built indoor theaters
  • Church no longer calling the shots
  • Commedia DellArte - 1st form of improvisation
    still traveling troupes that performed for from
    the crowd that gathered plot summary learned by
    actors beforehand
  • Considered to be the 1st professional theatre
  • First in Europe to put Women on stage

English Renaissance (1470-1550)
  • Focused on the plays of Shakespeare, Marlowe, and
  • Theatre saw an incredible burst of energy and
    talent -- 1 in 8 people regularly went to the
  • Purpose to entertain the rich. They got the good
    seats in the balcony and the poor stood below
  • Roles were played by men (including women roles
  • First time costumes fit the character

Shakespeare April 24,1564-April 24,1616
  • Noted to be the greatest playwright in history,
    although authenticity is questioned by many.
  • He was an poet, actor, playwright, and producer
  • Wrote 38 plays histories, comedies, tragedies,
    and fantasies
  • Balanced plot and character

The Globe Theater
  • Built in 1599 - considered indoor
  • Thrust Stage
  • 3 Stories high
  • Audience Sits
    around the stage
  • Little furniture
  • Burned down in
    1613 during a
    performance of
    Henry 8th

The Globe today
The Globe Today
The Globe Today
French Renaissance (1550-1700)
  • Best playwright - Jean-Baptiste Moliere
    (1622-1672) wrote comedies that focued on social
    rules also called Comedy of Manners
  • French Theatre had several rules
  • Unities - time, place, and action had to be 24
    hours or less
  • Purity of Form - no mixing of Comedy and Tragedy
  • Verisimilitude - the appearance of truth with
    the following categories - Reality (could happen
    in real life), Morality (teach a lesson),
    Generality (normal attirbutes), and Decorum

19th Century Theatre (1800-1900)
  • Naturalism (1850-1922)
  • The relationship between character and enviroment
  • 2 important creators - Anton Chekhov (Russian
    playwright) and Konstantin Stanislavsky
    (1963-1938). Both men demanded natural reponses
    from their actors. Psychological reactions of the
    characters could be more important than the
    situation itself.
  • Stanislavsky created The System or Method
    acting - actor uses an emotional memory to
    create character/motivation.

19th Century Theatre (1800-1900)
  • Realism (1850-1950)
  • A style showing life as it really is reflects
    real life
  • The FOURTH WALL is established as a result - the
    idea that the actors can see through an invisible
    wall into the lives of the characters.
  • Henrik Ibsen (1828-1906)
  • Playwright who saw theatre as a means to
    challenge mistakes he saw in the society he
    lived in. Most famous play A Dolls House helped
    pave the way for women to be seen as equals.