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Ancient Greek Theatre.

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Presentation on theme: "Ancient Greek Theatre."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ancient Greek Theatre

2 Ancient Greek Theatre Originated as part of a festival to the god Dionysus (the Dionysia festival) Evolved from single performers reciting poems into three actors + a chorus Formed the basis for modern drama

3 Ancient Greek Theatre Each play would be performed by, at most, three actors Actors wore masks to identify them with the personage they portrayed; as well as to help project their voices Actors were accompanied by a chorus who sang

4 Ancient Greek Theatre Theatre sessions were a competition where, at the end of ten days, a winner would be announced Known playwrights: Aeschylus: Added a second character and dialog Sophocles: Used three characters and created more realistic dramatic scenes Euripides: Created psychologically complex characters Thespis: Replaced the chorus with one character who stepped forward from the chorus to narrate or tell the story

5 Sophocles Developed form of tragedy to a high art
Plays focused on humans under the influence of the gods Stories taught moral and social lessons Oedipus Cycle Told the story of a great king who violated the rules of the gods (and society)

6 Characteristics of the Buildings
Built on a large scale to accommodate large audiences (up to 14,000 people) Mathematics played a large role in the construction of these theatres - acoustics had to be such that actors' voices could be heard throughout the theatre, including the very top row of seats

7 Characteristics of the Buildings
Theatron: (literally, “viewing space”) where the spectators sat. Usually part of a hillside overlooking the orchestra. Orchestra: (literally, “dancing space”) a circular area where the chorus would dance, sing and interact with the actors on the stage near the skene. Skene: backdrop or curtain where actors changed costumes and deaths took place (it was considered inappropriate to show deaths to the audience). The skene grew larger as interest in settings and backdrops grew Parodos: (literally, “passageways”) the paths by which the chorus and some actors made their entrances and exits

8 Scenic Elements Machina: a crane that gave the impression of a flying actor (thus, deus ex machina). Ekkyklema: a wheeled wagon used to bring dead characters into view for the audience Trap doors or similar openings in the ground to lift people onto the stage Pinakes: pictures hung into the scene to show a scene's scenery Thyromata: more complex pictures built into the second-level scene (3rd level from ground)

9 Masks Persona One of the iconic conventions of classical Greek theatre
All twelve members of the chorus wear the same mask because they are considered to be representing one character Classical masks were able to bring the characters' face closer to the audience, especially since they had intensely over-exaggerated facial features and expressions Enabled an actor to appear and reappear in several different roles, thus preventing the audience from identifying the actor to one specific character

10 Tragedy A form of art based on human suffering that causes pity (pathos) and fear within the spectators. This results in a catharsis (emotional cleansing) or healing for the audience through their experience of these emotions in response to the suffering of the characters in the drama

11 Elements of Tragedy Chorus: a group of 12 or 15 minor actors. Their purpose is to: offer a variety of background and summary information to help the audience follow the performance. comment on themes express to the audience what the main characters could not say, such as their hidden fears or secrets

12 Elements of Tragedy Tragic Hero: the main character in a tragedy. The modern use of the term usually involves the notion that such a hero makes an error in his or her actions that leads to his or her downfall or flaw. The hero discovers that his downfall is the inevitable result of his own actions, not by things happening to him A tragic hero is often of noble birth, or rises to noble standing The suffering of the hero is meaningful, because although it is a result of the hero's own actions, it is not totally deserved and may be cruelly disproportionate.

13 Elements of Tragedy Tragic Flaw: Hamartia:
An imbedded flaw in the hero’s character that leads to tragic consequences Examples of tragic flaw: Hubris (excessive pride) – the opposite of Arete (pursuit of excellence) Stubbornness Lack of knowledge Hamartia: A tragic error committed by the hero (often caused by their tragic flaw) that leads to the hero’s downfall It is the starting point of a causally connected train of events ending in disaster. Often, the hero believes he is choosing to do good, but in doing so, chooses something that will lead to unhappiness

14 Elements of Tragedy Construction of Drama: Prologue Parados Episodia
Establishes the dramatic situation; precedes the entrance of the chorus Parados The beginning processional hymn by the chorus; provides exposition Episodia The main action of the play; characters engage in dialogue; equivalent of a modern “act” Stasimon A brief interlude where the chorus makes comment on the episode Exodos The chorus’ ending processional ode

15 Elements of Tragedy Deus ex machina
from deus (“a god”) + ex (“from”) + machina (“a device, a scaffolding, an artifice”) In Greek tragedy, a device where a machine is used to bring actors playing gods onto the stage Generally, a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved, with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability, or object.

16 Elements of Tragedy Deus ex machina
The Greek tragedian Euripides is often criticized for his frequent use of the deus ex machina. More than half of Euripides's extant tragedies employ a deus ex machina in their resolution. A frequently cited example is Euripides' Medea in which the deus ex machina, a dragon-drawn chariot sent by the Sun-God, is used to convey his granddaughter Medea, who has just committed murder and infanticide, away from her husband Jason to the safety and civilization of Athens.

17 Elements of Tragedy Anagnoresis Perepeteia Apotheosis
The moment of recognition. The protagonist of a tragedy recognizes or has it revealed to him that his trouble is his own fault. Perepeteia A reversal of fate (from good to bad, usually). Peripeteia is, therefore, the turning point in Greek tragedy. Apotheosis When a tragic hero achieves a god-like status, usually after death.


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