2Greek Theater HistoryGreek drama began with dances and songs performed in honor of Dionysus.Theatre as an art form evolved over hundreds of years, but records establish the sixth century B.C. as its official debut.Thespis legendary first actor.Theatre flourished in fifth century B.C. when Athens became center of Greek culture and governmental power.Most important Greek activities were outdoors great outdoor theatres.Three, week-long festivals were held each year which sponsored competitions for tragedy and comedy.1. Before the play would begin it was tradition to have a ceremony of song and dance to honor the god Dionysus.2. 600BC to 501BC3. The word Thespians refers to actors that have been inducted into the prestigious Thespian Society.4. The fifth century BC, BC, is when the city of Athens became the center of Greek culture and governmental power.5. Greek activities were done outdoors and they had great outdoor theatres. The modern day Olympic Games originated in Greece. In ancient Greece, athletic competitions were held in a city called Olympia. They had events such as racing, wrestling, boxing, long jump, discus, and javelin. Also, the marathon originated in Greece. How does marathon get its name? Greece was at war with Persia and when they won the Battle of Marathon, a Greek messenger ran from the city of marathon to Athens to deliver the victorious news. He died from exhaustion.6. Winners of these competitions would win prizes, such ass a goat!
3Setup of Greek TheatreOrchestra area where chorus danced; at foot of semi-circular hillside where stone benches were built.Theatron area where audience sat on benches.Parados two broad aisles extending from the orchestra to each side of the theatron.Skene rectangular building with 3 doors in front, providing a background for action of the play as well as an area into which actors could exit and change costumes and masks; violence in plays took place here, out of the view of the audience.Proskenion last addition to Greek theater; a small platform in front of skene to give actor more visibility and separate them from the chorus.Dancing spaceViewing spacePassageways4. Tent5. Like a catwalk/outcropping
5The Greek ActorParticipating in Greek drama was considered a citizen’s duty They were expected to volunteer to perform in the chorus.Experienced performers became actors.Actors portraying gods, kings, or heroes costume which adds size and distinction:*Chiton: long, flowing robe, dyed in symbolic colors with padding underneath.*Cothurni: high platformed shoes to add height.Actors used props to indicate their role (king scepter, etc.)Actors wore masks which helped to identify specific characters, yet generalized features enough to make the actor seem like he could be any man.The costumes worn by the actors. “Chiton” are similar to togas. Platform shoes were worn to indicate their superior status as gods, kings, or heroes. Like today, props are used. A scepter is like a rod that is sumbolic or power and royalty.
6MasksCalled a persona.Served as a megaphone because of its large mouth opening.A symbol to distinguish role.Identified age, sex, mood, and rank.Made of bark, cork, leather, or linen.Tragic beautiful; Comic bizarre or grotesque.Allowed actors to change roles easily.Actors wore masks called “personas” – representations of a particular person or a personality typeMasks served as a means of amplification tools so that their voices could project into the audienceMasks were able to portray different emotions4. They also allowed actors to portray many different characters, all they had to do was change their mask.
8Characteristics of the Greek Chorus Group of about 15 men.Sang lyric poetry and danced to music.Unpaid, usually citizens performing their “civic duty.”Trained, costumed in the dress of the people they represented, and wore light masks.The Chorus provides time for scene and costume changes as well as provides necessary background information and summaries. Their dance and chanting also provide an added visual experience.The Chorus also acts out what the audience should be thinking; reacts how they should react and asks rhetorical/probing questions.3. The Chorus also has a practical function. It can crreate pauses and help to pace the play so the audience has time to think abd reflect and the actors can rest up and prepare for the next scene.
9Functions of the Greek Chorus Link from audience to actors.Tension release.Reflects, ponders, asks questions.Sometimes advises main characters.Often acted as the conscience of the people.Establish mood and heighten dramatic moments.Establish pacing of play.Separate scenes.
10Five Sections of Greek Tragedies The Prologue (Prologos) Opening portion of the play, which sets the scene and contains the exposition.The Parados Entrance song of the chorus. Named after the aisles where the chorus entered the theater.The Episodes (Scenes) Contain the action of the drama; performed by the actors.The Stasimons (Odes) A choral passage of the play which alternates with the episodes. The chorus sang and danced the odes accompanied by musical instruments. Odes consisted of strophes and antistrophes (similar to stanzas.)Exodos The concluding section of the tragedy. The exodos ends with the chorus singing their final lines as they exit.
12Dramatic IronyIrony is a contrast between what appears to be and what actually exists, between what is expected and what is experienced.Dramatic irony The audience or reader is aware of critical information of which the characters are unaware.Example of dramatic irony Oedipus vows to punish whoever killed King Laius the audience knows that he himself is the murderer.
13Hubris People’s destinies are decided by the Fates. Trying to change your destiny is a sin of pride hubris.Examples from Oedipus:King Laius tries to kill Oedipus because of a prophecy that his son will kill him.Oedipus leaves the man and woman he thinks are his father and mother because of a prophecy that he will kill his father and marry his mother.What about Creon?
14Aristotle—“The Poetics”— Characteristics of the Tragic Hero Character has a high social rank/noble birth.Character is pitted against forces beyond his/her controlDecisions lead to a no-win situationPuts up a courageous struggle/downfallRealizes mistake and regrets it and gains self-awareness through defeat (often ends up dying).This travels right through to Shakespeare’s tragedies. Shakespeare uses Aristotle’s model. “Catharsis” describes a change in emotion, occurring as a result of experiencing strong feelings such as sorrow, fear, or pity.