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ROMAN THEATRE

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Title: ROMAN THEATRE


1
ROMAN THEATRE
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Brief Roman History
  • 509 B.C
  • Etruscan (from Etruria) ruler was expelled, and
    Rome became a republic (just as Athens became a
    democracy).
  • Roman theatre and festivals highly influenced by
    Etruscan practices

6
Brief Roman History
  • by 345 B.C
  • There were over 175 festivals a year
  • 240 B.C
  • The beginnings of Roman theatre recorded
  • The first record of drama at the
  • ludi Romani (Roman Festival or
  • Roman Games).

7
Brief Roman History
  • 55 B.C
  • First stone theatre built in Rome by order of
    Julius Caesar.

8
Roman Theatre
  • Borrowed Greek ideas and improved (?) upon them
  • Topics less philosophical
  • Entertainment tended to be grandiose,
    sentimental, diversionary

9
Roman Theatre
  • Included more than drama
  • acrobatics
  • gladiators
  • jugglers
  • athletics
  • chariots races
  • naumachia (sea battles)
  • boxing
  • venationes (animal fights)

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Roman Theatre
  • 3 Major Influences
  • Greek Drama
  • Etruscan influences, which emphasized circus-like
    elements
  • Fabula Atellana which introduced FARCE (Atella
    was near Naples).

12
Roman Theatre
  • Farce
  • Short improvised farces, with stock characters,
    similar costumes and masks
  • based on domestic life or mythology
  • burlesque, parody
  • Most popular during the 1st century B.C., then
    frequency declined

13
Roman Theatre
  • Farce
  • Probably was the foundation for commedia dell
    Arte
  • Productions included stock characters
  • Bucco braggart, boisterous
  • Pappas foolish old man
  • Dossenus swindler, drunk, hunchback

14
Roman Theatre
  • Pantomime
  • solo dance, with music (lutes, pipes, cymbals)
    and a chorus.
  • Used masks
  • The story-telling was usually mythology or
    historical stories, usually serious but sometimes
    comic.

15
Roman Theatre
  • Mime
  • overtook after 2nd century A.D.
  • The Church did not like Mime
  • Most common attributes of mime
  • Spoken
  • Usually short
  • Sometimes elaborate casts and spectacle

16
Roman Theatre
  • Serious or comic (satiric)
  • No masks
  • Had women
  • Violence and sex depicted literally
    (Heliogabalus, ruled 218-222 A.D., ordered
    realistic sex)
  • Scoffed at Christianity

17
Roman Festivals
  • Held in honor of the gods, but much less
    religious than the Greeks
  • Performances at festivals probably paid for by
    the state.
  • Were often lengthy and included a series of plays
    or events, and probably had prizes awarded tp
    those who put extra money in.

18
Roman Festivals
  • Acting troupes (perhaps several a day) put on
    theatre events.
  • Festivals were sometimes repeated, since whenever
    any irregularity in the rituals occurred, the
    entire festival, including the plays, had to be
    repeated. (known as instauratio)

19
Roman Festivals
  • ludi official religious festivals
  • these were preceded by pompa religious
    procession

20
Roman Festivals
  • ludi Romani
  • oldest of the official festivals
  • held in September and honored Jupiter
  • regular performance of comedy and tragedy began
    in 364 B.C.

21
Roman Tragedy
  • Characteristics of Roman Tragedy
  • 5 acts/episodes divided by choral odes
  • included elaborate speeches
  • interested in morality
  • unlike Greeks, they depicted violence on stage

22
Roman Tragedy
  • Characteristics of Roman Tragedy
  • characters dominated by a single passion which
    drives them to doom (ex obsessiveness or
    revenge)
  • developed technical devices such as
    soliloquies, asides, confidants
  • interest in supernatural and human connections

23
Roman Tragedy
  • Seneca (5 or 4 B.C. 65 A.D.)
  • only playwright of tragedy whose plays survived
  • Nine extant tragedies, five adapted from
    Euripides (Gr.)
  • Though considered to be inferior, Seneca had a
    strong effect on later dramatists.

24
Roman Tragedy
  • Seneca (5 or 4 B.C. 65 A.D.)
  • WroteThe Trojan Women, Media, Oedipus, Agamemnon,
    etc., which were all based on Greek originals
  • His plays were probably closet dramasnever
    presented, or even expected to be.

25
Roman Comedy
  • Characteristics of Roman Comedy
  • Chorus was abandoned
  • No act or scene divisions
  • Concerned everyday, domestic affairs
  • Action placed in the street

26
Roman Comedy
  • Material from only 2 playwrights survived
  • Platus (c. 254-184 B.C.)
  • Terence (195 or 185-159 B.C.)

27
Roman Comedy
  • Platus (c. 254-184 B.C.)
  • Very popular.
  • Plays include Pot of Gold, The Menaechmi,
    Braggart Warrior
  • All based on Greek New Comedies, probably, none
    of which has survived

28
Roman Comedy
  • Platus (c. 254-184 B.C.)
  • Added Roman allusions, Latin dialog, witty jokes
  • varied poetic meters
  • Developed Slapstick Songs

29
Roman Comedy
  • Terence (195 or 185-159 B.C.)
  • Wrote only six plays, all of which survive,
    including The Brothers, Mother-in-Law
  • More complex plots combined stories from Greek
    originals.

30
Roman Comedy
  • Terence (195 or 185-159 B.C.)
  • Character and double-plots were his forte
  • Less boisterous than Plautus, less episodic, more
    elegant language.
  • Used Greek characters.
  • Less popular than Plautus.

31
Roman Theatre Design
32
Roman Theatre Design
  • First permanent Roman theatre built 54 A.D. (100
    years after the last surviving comedy)

33
Roman Theatre Design
  • General Characteristics
  • Built on level ground with stadium-style seating
    (audience raised)

34
Roman Theatre Design
  • General Characteristics
  • Stage raised to five feet
  • Stages were
  • large
  • 20-40 ft deep
  • 100-300 ft long

35
Roman Theatre Design
  • General Characteristics
  • Theatre could seat 10-15,000 people
  • dressing rooms
  • in side wings
  • stage was
  • covered with
  • a room

36
Roman Theatre Design
  • General Characteristics
  • trap doors were common
  • cooling system air blowing over streams of
    water
  • awning over the audience to protect them from the
    sun

37
Roman Theatre Design
  • Scaena
  • stage house
  • joined with
  • audience to
  • form one
  • architectural
  • unit

38
Roman Theatre Design
  • Scaena frons
  • front/façade of the stage house
  • was painted and
  • had columns,
  • niches,
  • porticoes,
  • statues

39
Roman Theatre Design
  • Orchestra
  • becomes half-circle
  • was probably used for gladiators and for the
    display and killing of wild animals
  • if entertainment permitted, people were sat here

40
Roman Theatre Design
  • Vomitoria
  • corridors under the seats that lead onto the
    orchestra

41
Roman Theatre Design
  • Pulpitum
  • the stage
  • Cavea
  • the auditorium

42
Roman Theatre Design
  • Other structures included
  • Circus Maximus
  • Ampitheatres

43
Roman Theatre Design
  • Circus Maximus
  • Primarily for Chariot racing
  • Permitted 12 chariots to race at once

44
Roman Theatre Design
  • Ampitheatres
  • For gladiator contests, wild animal fights, and
    occasionally naumachia
  • Had space with elevators below to bvring up
    animals, etc.

45
Roman Actors
  • Referred to as histriones, cantores (means
    declaimers), and mimes later primarily
    histriones
  • Mostly male women were in mimes

46
Roman Actors
  • Mimes were considered inferior some believed
    they were slaves.
  • In the 1st century B.C., a "star" performer seems
    to have been emphasized

47
Roman Actors
  • Style of Acting
  • Mostly Greek traditions masks, doubling of
    roles
  • Tragedy slow, stately,
  • Comedymore rapid and conversational

48
Roman Actors
  • Style of Acting
  • Movements likely enlarged
  • Actors probably specialized in one type of drama,
    but did others
  • Encores if favorite speeches given (no attempt at
    "realism")

49
Roman Actors
  • Style of Acting
  • Mimes no masks
  • Used Greek or Roman costumes
  • Lots of music
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