Background Originated in Athens ~534 BC. Thespis is the earliest playwright recorded. The term ‘Thespian performer’ came from Thespis. Satyr play is the earliest type of play. It was a mythological tragedy portrayed in a comedic fashion. Tragedies and Comedies are totally different genres. No one knows where tragedies and comedies originated from. Aristotle and other philosophers proposed theories.
Background Males who played female roles wore a prosternada, a wooden structure for the chest and a progastreda the stomach. Actors who had tragic roles wore boots Corthurnus. Comedic roles wore thin soled shoes called socks. Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides are the three great playwrights.
Playwrights The first playwright and the first actor and the earliest recorded playwright. From a village named Icaria. Aeschylus 525-456 BC, Sophocles 496-406 BC, and Euripides 484-406 BC. Aeschylus composed ~80 plays. Sophocles wrote ~120 plays. Seven of them are still alive. Eurpides wrote ~98 plays.
Playwrights Aeschylus introduced a new format for a play. Instead of one character and the chorus, he brought in two characters along with the chorus. Sophocles invented the skenographia. A painted backdrop for his play, he was the first playwright to put a background in a play. Euripides invented the mechanical accessories in the play to make the gods and goddesses appear and disappear faster.
Parts Theatre Orchestra, dancing place. Theatron, seating place. Skene, backdrop, set of play. Usually a two story building. Parados, arch ways where actors and chorus enter and exit
Order of Play Prologue, background of play spoken by 1-2 characters. Parados, song sung by chorus while orchestra and dances enter. (First) Episode, parts of play where chorus and characters talk. (First) Stasimon, ‘summary’ of each episode where the moral is reviewed. Exodes, While chorus exits they sing some words of wisdom to the audience.
Scene Elements Machina, Crane that makes characters fly. Ekkykelema, Wheeled wagon to bring ‘dead’ characters closer to the crowd. Trap doors, openings in ground to let characters in and out, Pinakes, pictures hung to show the setting of scene “episode”. Thyromata, more detailed pictures placed on the second-third floor of skene. Phallic, props used in a Satyr plays to portray fertility in honor of Dionysus.
Dionysus Greek god of fertility and wine A very important god and one of the two who understand human suffering In Orphic legend, he was Dionysus Zagreus, the son of Zeus and Persephone In other legends he was the son of Zeus and Semele The only god born from a mortal parent He was reared by nymphs on Mt. Nysa, where he invented the art of wine making He wandered through many lands, teaching men the culture of wine and the mysteries of his cult
Dionysus He was followed by an entourage of satyrs, sileni, maenads, and nymphs He was worshiped and had his own festival created by man Later, his worship became more formalized and calm It was believed that he could liberate and inspire man through wine and ecstatic frenzy He could also endow man with divine creativity Thus he was considered a patron of the arts He was represented as a full-grown bearded man, as a beast, and as a delicate, effeminate youth
Festival of Dionysus There were many festivals of Dionysus In each one he was worshipped and celebrated His characteristic worship was ecstatic and women were prominently involved Votaries were people who made vows of dedication to religious service They were giving service through music and plays
Festival of Dionysus They celebrated by singing songs, dancing, and drinking They also sacrificed animals and ate their flesh and blood This is how they also attempted to merge their identities with nature From the music, singing, and dancing they created dithyramb and ultimately Greek drama Dithyramb was a song created for the worship of Dionysus at the festivals The idea of Thanksgiving came from these festivals
The Different Festivals There were four different festivals The Lesser or Rural Dionysia (in late December) The Greater or City Dionysia (in late Spring) The Anthesteria (in early Spring) The Lenaea (in winter) Each one not only had the normal festival celebrations, but also had plays There were tragedies and comedies for the worship of Dionysus There was a competition for the winning play Each festival would hold three tragedies and one satyr for the audience to leave on a happy note
Tragedies In 534 B.C., Athens introduced an annual tragedy contest at the City Dionysia Every year an official would chose three plays that each contained three tragedies and one satyr play They assigned a wealthy citizen to pay for all production costs not covered by the state There was a panel of ordinary citizens, chosen by lottery, to judge the plays and award prizes
Tragedies The most important innovators were the three tragedians whose work still survives Aeschylus (523-456 B.C) created the Oresteia Trilogy which he used to explore political concepts like justice Sophocles (496-406 B.C) made plays of the famous Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone Euripides showed the most civil discourse in plays like Medea, Electra, and The Trojan Women Around 488, the City Dionysia added a comedy competition
Citations "Dionysus." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 25 Aug. 2013. "Dionysus." Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6Th Edition (2013): 1. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 25 Aug. 2013. Stainburn, Samantha. "A Revolution On The Stage." Mysteries Of History: The Ancient World (2004): 56. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 25 Aug. 2013. Stainburn, Samantha. "A Revolution On The Stage." Mysteries Of History: The Ancient World (2004): 56. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 25 Aug. 2013.