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Ancient Greek Theatre

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Ancient Greek Theatre About 600 BCE - about 250 BCE ... Some historians believe Greek drama originated in the dithyrambic choruses Dithyramb: long hymn, ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ancient Greek Theatre


1
Ancient Greek Theatre
  • About 600 BCE - about 250 BCE

2
Origins
  • Religious ceremonies
  • Funerals
  • Seasonal celebrations
  • Ceremonies honoring the gods
  • Of particular significance were ceremonies
    honoring Dionysus, god of wine, fertility and
    revelry.
  • Some historians believe Greek drama originated in
    the dithyrambic choruses
  • Dithyramb long hymn, sung and danced by a group
    of 50 men

3
Thespis
  • Thespis is credited being the first actor
  • In 534 BCE, he stepped out of the chorus and
    delivered a prologue and dialogue while
    impersonating a character
  • That is where we get the modern term thespian
    as a tribute to Thespis.

4
Festivals
  • Business came to a standstill during dramatic
    festivals even wars were stopped to celebrate
    and honor the gods
  • Has no modern day equivalent
  • City Dionysia
  • Held at the end of March when spring had arrived
    to honor Dionysus
  • In 534 BCE, tragedy was incorporated In 486
    BCE, comedy and satyr plays added

5
City Dionysia
  • Lasted for several days
  • Before the opening of the festival, parades and
    sacrifices were held to honor Dionysus
  • 2 days for dithyrambs, 3 days for plays
  • Each playwright had to enter 3 tragedies and 1
    satyr play this was called a tetralogy
  • Awards were given similar to Olympics

6
Greek Tragedy
  • Violence and death offstage
  • Frequent use of messengers to relate information
  • Usually continuous time of action
  • Usually single place
  • Stories based on myth or history, but varied
    interpretations of events

7
Aeschylus
  • His are the oldest surviving plays
  • Has the only remaining Greek trilogy
  • The Orestia
  • Agamemnon
  • The Libation Bearers
  • The Eumenides
  • Introduced the 2nd actor

8
Sophocles (496-406 B.C.)
  • Introduced the 3rd actor
  • Fixed the chorus at 15
  • Wrote
  • Oedipus Rex
  • Antigone

9
Euripides (480-406 B.C.)
  • Very popular in later Greek times
  • little appreciated during his life
  • Sometimes known as "the father of melodrama"
  • Wrote
  • Hecuba
  • Medea

10
Aristotle
  • Wrote The Poetics (c. 335 BCE) in response to
    Platos The Republic
  • Aristotlean Elements
  • Plot
  • Character
  • Thought
  • Diction
  • Music
  • Spectacle

11
The Satyr Play
  • Afterpiece to the tragedies
  • Thematically tied to trilogy
  • Poked fun at honored Greek religion and heroes
  • Had elements of vulgarity

12
Comedy
  • Satirical treatment of domestic situations
  • Called "Old Comedy"
  • Commentary on contemporary society, politics,
    literature, and Peloponnesian War.

13
Aristophanes
  • Wrote plays in the style of Old Comedy
  • Reflected the social and political climate in
    Athens
  • Plays full of bawdy wit
  • Distinguished for their inventive comic scenes,
    witty dialogue and pointed satire rather than for
    plot or character
  • Wrote
  • The Clouds (423 BCE)
  • The Birds (414 BCE)
  • Lysistrata (411 BCE)
  • The Frogs (405 BCE)

14
Greek Theater
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20
Scenery and Special Effects
  • Periaktos
  • rotating triangles used for changing scene
    locations
  • Ekkyklema
  • platform on wheels used to bring out characters
    from inside the building
  • Mechane
  • Crane hidden behind the upper level of the skene,
    used to lower the actor playing the god to
    suggest a descent from the heavens
  • Later changed to deus ex machina which means god
    from a machine

21
Acting Styles
  • Acting styles
  • Only three actors
  • Actors usually played more than one role
  • Men played all the parts
  • Chorus
  • Entered with stately march, sometimes singing or
    in small groups.
  • Choral passages sung and danced in unison,
    sometimes divided into two groups.

22
Costumes and Masks
  • Masks
  • All tragic players wore masks.
  • None survive - made of cork, linen, wood.
  • Covered whole face - hair, beard, etc.
  • Comedy - more varied often birds, animals, etc.
    Probably not realistic.
  • Characters had exaggerated masks, some in chorus
    wore identical masks.

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