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Ancient Greek Theatre About 600 BCE - about 250 BCE.

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Presentation on theme: "Ancient Greek Theatre About 600 BCE - about 250 BCE."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ancient Greek Theatre About 600 BCE - about 250 BCE

2 Origins Religious ceremonies –Funerals –Seasonal celebrations –Ceremonies honoring the gods Of particular significance were ceremonies honoring Dionysus, god of wine, fertility and revelry. Some historians believe Greek drama originated in the dithyrambic choruses –Dithyramb: long hymn, sung and danced by a group of 50 men

3 Thespis Thespis is credited being the first actor –In 534 BCE, he stepped out of the chorus and delivered a prologue and dialogue while impersonating a character That is where we get the modern term “thespian” as a tribute to Thespis.

4 Festivals Business came to a standstill during dramatic festivals – even wars were stopped to celebrate and honor the gods –Has no modern day equivalent City Dionysia –Held at the end of March when spring had arrived to honor Dionysus –In 534 BCE, tragedy was incorporated – In 486 BCE, comedy and satyr plays added

5 City Dionysia Lasted for several days Before the opening of the festival, parades and sacrifices were held to honor Dionysus 2 days for dithyrambs, 3 days for plays –Each playwright had to enter 3 tragedies and 1 satyr play – this was called a tetralogy Awards were given – similar to Olympics

6 Greek Tragedy –Violence and death offstage Frequent use of messengers to relate information –Usually continuous time of action –Usually single place –Stories based on myth or history, but varied interpretations of events

7 Aeschylus His are the oldest surviving plays Has the only remaining Greek trilogy –The Orestia Agamemnon The Libation Bearers The Eumenides Introduced the 2nd actor

8 Sophocles (496-406 B.C.) Introduced the 3rd actor Fixed the chorus at 15 Wrote: –Oedipus Rex –Antigone

9 Euripides (480-406 B.C.) Very popular in later Greek times –little appreciated during his life Sometimes known as "the father of melodrama" Wrote: –Hecuba –Medea

10 Aristotle Wrote The Poetics (c. 335 BCE) in response to Plato’s The Republic Aristotlean Elements –Plot –Character –Thought –Diction –Music –Spectacle

11 The Satyr Play Afterpiece to the tragedies Thematically tied to trilogy Poked fun at honored Greek religion and heroes Had elements of vulgarity

12 Comedy Satirical treatment of domestic situations –Called "Old Comedy" Commentary on contemporary society, politics, literature, and Peloponnesian War.

13 Aristophanes Wrote plays in the style of Old Comedy –Reflected the social and political climate in Athens –Plays full of bawdy wit –Distinguished for their inventive comic scenes, witty dialogue and pointed satire rather than for plot or character Wrote: –The Clouds (423 BCE) –The Birds (414 BCE) –Lysistrata (411 BCE) –The Frogs (405 BCE)

14 Greek Theater






20 Scenery and Special Effects Periaktos –rotating triangles used for changing scene locations Ekkyklema –platform on wheels used to bring out characters from inside the building Mechane –Crane hidden behind the upper level of the skene, used to lower the actor playing the god to suggest a descent from the heavens Later changed to deus ex machina which means “god from a machine”

21 Acting Styles Acting styles: –Only three actors Actors usually played more than one role –Men played all the parts Chorus: –Entered with stately march, sometimes singing or in small groups. –Choral passages sung and danced in unison, sometimes divided into two groups.

22 Costumes and Masks Masks –All tragic players wore masks. –None survive - made of cork, linen, wood. –Covered whole face - hair, beard, etc. –Comedy - more varied often birds, animals, etc. Probably not realistic. –Characters had exaggerated masks, some in chorus wore identical masks.



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