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Greek Theatre Humanities I Mrs. Cave-Mattie. The Roots of Drama Drama is a Greek word meaning “to do” or “to act”. Drama is a Greek word meaning “to do”

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Presentation on theme: "Greek Theatre Humanities I Mrs. Cave-Mattie. The Roots of Drama Drama is a Greek word meaning “to do” or “to act”. Drama is a Greek word meaning “to do”"— Presentation transcript:

1 Greek Theatre Humanities I Mrs. Cave-Mattie

2 The Roots of Drama Drama is a Greek word meaning “to do” or “to act”. Drama is a Greek word meaning “to do” or “to act”. Drama is rooted in sacred ritual. Drama is rooted in sacred ritual. It has been built on traditions that are up to 2500 years old. It has been built on traditions that are up to 2500 years old. The earliest forms of civilization acted out activities that were important to them before engaging in them. The earliest forms of civilization acted out activities that were important to them before engaging in them. They believed that this form of drama would grant them success in meeting their real needs. They felt that by imitating the intended act, they would increase their chances of success in the act. They believed that this form of drama would grant them success in meeting their real needs. They felt that by imitating the intended act, they would increase their chances of success in the act. Many plays were performed by these people to teach the young boys about the rituals they would soon partake in (hunting, fishing, war, etc.). Many plays were performed by these people to teach the young boys about the rituals they would soon partake in (hunting, fishing, war, etc.). Can you think of how individuals in today’s society might do the same thing? Can you think of how individuals in today’s society might do the same thing? Since most people were not able to read, religious plays were performed to teach important religious beliefs that the particular culture held in highest esteem. Since most people were not able to read, religious plays were performed to teach important religious beliefs that the particular culture held in highest esteem. Are religious plays performed in our society? Are religious plays performed in our society? AncientRituals (Google Images) (“History of Theatre”)

3 Ancient Festival Many cultures made use of choral hymns and dances in their worship. This practice parallels what we commonly see in musicals that are performed in today’s society. Many cultures made use of choral hymns and dances in their worship. This practice parallels what we commonly see in musicals that are performed in today’s society. Classical forms of tragedy and comedy are said to have sprung from these folk celebrations. Classical forms of tragedy and comedy are said to have sprung from these folk celebrations. Today’s drama is the direct descendant of primitive ritual, teaching ceremony and ancient festival. Today’s drama is the direct descendant of primitive ritual, teaching ceremony and ancient festival. Isn’t it interesting how although so much has changed, so much has also remained the same? Isn’t it interesting how although so much has changed, so much has also remained the same? Do you think this will be true 100 years from now? Do you think this will be true 100 years from now? (“History of Theatre”) (Theater Animations)

4 Greek Theatre The Classic, or Golden Age of Greece ( BC) brought about the greatest tragedies of all time. The legacy of Greek Theatre has never been surpassed—even to this day. The Classic, or Golden Age of Greece ( BC) brought about the greatest tragedies of all time. The legacy of Greek Theatre has never been surpassed—even to this day. Greek drama has its roots in Greek religion. Greek drama has its roots in Greek religion. Celebrations were held in honor of the god of wine and fertility, Dionysus. During these celebrations, dancers would chant around the altar. Celebrations were held in honor of the god of wine and fertility, Dionysus. During these celebrations, dancers would chant around the altar. This chanting evolved into Greek Tragedy, and the dancers became known as the “chorus”. This chanting evolved into Greek Tragedy, and the dancers became known as the “chorus”. Tragedy competitions were held in Athens each spring between many playwrights. Tragedy competitions were held in Athens each spring between many playwrights. By the 5th century, BC, a man named Thespis of Attica “invented” acting by designating one member of the chorus to stand out from the chorus and respond to them. This is why actors are often called Thespians. By the 5th century, BC, a man named Thespis of Attica “invented” acting by designating one member of the chorus to stand out from the chorus and respond to them. This is why actors are often called Thespians. Statues of Greek actors (Google Images) (“History of Theatre”)

5 Greek Theatre Special practices of drama are called conventions and are based upon the traditions and customs of that particular time period. Special practices of drama are called conventions and are based upon the traditions and customs of that particular time period. Greek Conventions: Greek Conventions: Chorus Chorus Plays were performed outdoors Plays were performed outdoors Acting area was called the orchestra Acting area was called the orchestra Theatres sat up to 17,000 people Theatres sat up to 17,000 people Actors wore thick shoes to appear taller Actors wore thick shoes to appear taller Only three actors played all major roles Only three actors played all major roles Long speeches were the rule, rather than quick exchanges of dialogue Long speeches were the rule, rather than quick exchanges of dialogue Speeches were delivered more to the audience than other characters, taking away even more of the realism we expect today Speeches were delivered more to the audience than other characters, taking away even more of the realism we expect today Rule: ALL VIOLENCE MUST TAKE PLACE OFFSTAGE. Acts of violence must be out of sight by the audience. Usually a messenger or other character would enter and tell about the murder, suicide, or whatever had happened. Rule: ALL VIOLENCE MUST TAKE PLACE OFFSTAGE. Acts of violence must be out of sight by the audience. Usually a messenger or other character would enter and tell about the murder, suicide, or whatever had happened. Masks were constructed so that the mouthpiece amplified the actor’s voice Masks were constructed so that the mouthpiece amplified the actor’s voice Plays were based on myths and legends that the audience already knew about. The audience usually knew in advance how each play would end. This allowed the audience to concentrate on appreciating the poetry of the speeches, the skill of the actor’s presentations, and the spectacle of masks, costumes, and movements of the chorus. Plays were based on myths and legends that the audience already knew about. The audience usually knew in advance how each play would end. This allowed the audience to concentrate on appreciating the poetry of the speeches, the skill of the actor’s presentations, and the spectacle of masks, costumes, and movements of the chorus. The Greek Chorus (Google Images) (“History of Theatre”)

6 Greek Playwrights Aeschylus ( BC) Aeschylus ( BC) Often called the Father of Tragedy Often called the Father of Tragedy Plays dealt with the interaction between gods and men, Plays dealt with the interaction between gods and men, with emphasis on the inevitability of suffering. with emphasis on the inevitability of suffering. Known for his Orestia trilogy Known for his Orestia trilogy Sophocles ( BC) Sophocles ( BC) Responsible for the addition of the third actor on stage Responsible for the addition of the third actor on stage He wrote over one hundred plays He wrote over one hundred plays He won the City Dionysia prize 18 times He won the City Dionysia prize 18 times Only seven of this plays have survived Only seven of this plays have survived Known for Oedipus Rex Known for Oedipus Rex Euripedes ( BC) Euripedes ( BC) Youngest, most modern, and least popular of the three great writers of tragedy. Youngest, most modern, and least popular of the three great writers of tragedy. Emphasized psychological motivation and social consciousness Emphasized psychological motivation and social consciousness Appealed to the emotions by including in his plays a look at the small details of the daily lives of his characters Appealed to the emotions by including in his plays a look at the small details of the daily lives of his characters Aeschylus wrote about gods, Sophocles wrote about heroes, and Euripedes wrote about men. Sophocles (Google Images) (“History of Theatre”)

7 Greek Playwrights Aristophanes (448–380 BC) Aristophanes (448–380 BC) The eleven surviving plays are the only examples we have of what is called “Old Comedy”. The eleven surviving plays are the only examples we have of what is called “Old Comedy”. Wrote very funny and popular social satire Wrote very funny and popular social satire He poked fun at public figures such as Socrates and Euripedes. He poked fun at public figures such as Socrates and Euripedes. He was not above having the gods come out second best in plays. He was not above having the gods come out second best in plays. Menander ( BC) Menander ( BC) He is known for “New Comedy”. He is known for “New Comedy”. The only surviving work of this style was written by Menander The only surviving work of this style was written by Menander He wrote comedies dealing with daily life and domestic situations He wrote comedies dealing with daily life and domestic situations His plays featured characters such as clever servants, protective fathers, and young lovers—types who have been standards in the comic theatre ever since. His plays featured characters such as clever servants, protective fathers, and young lovers—types who have been standards in the comic theatre ever since. Aristophanes (Google Images) (“History of Theatre”)


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