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Greek Theatre Greek History 2500 - 500 BC 2500 BC Whose got the power? Egypt Near East.

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Presentation on theme: "Greek Theatre Greek History 2500 - 500 BC 2500 BC Whose got the power? Egypt Near East."— Presentation transcript:


2 Greek Theatre

3 Greek History 2500 - 500 BC

4 2500 BC Whose got the power? Egypt Near East

5 Where’s the Greece? ?

6 Minoan civilization Most prevalent in the Aegean Area Lived on the Isle of Crete 1400 BC - MAJOR EARTHQUAKE destroys Crete cities Focus moves North to Mainland of Greece Culture greatly influences cities of Mycenae and Troy

7 1100 BC

8 DARK AGES 1100 - 800 BC

9 The Dawn of Greek Civilization

10 800 BC - 500 BC Greek Civilization Begins to Take Shape

11 polis “City State”

12 Important Greek Cities Attica (Athens) Corinth Sparta Thebes

13 City state facts Originally ruled by Kings After 800 BC Nobles began to acquire considerable power and control These “tyrants” did much to improve social conditions and promote the arts Peisistratus dominated Athens from 560-510 BC Established numerous festivals including the Festival of Dionysia By the late 6th Century BC Greeks grew weary of tyrants and prevent them from gaining power

14 508 BC Greece creates the world’s first…

15 508 BC democracy

16 Greek Theatre The origins of Comedy & Tragedy


18 WRITTEN records increase but those relating to the Theatre were rare until 534 BC

19 534 BC Athens institutes a contest for the best tragedy at the City of Dionysis (a Major Religious Festival)

20 Thespis is credited with the first win

21 Therefore, Most scholars consider him the inventor of drama

22 Tragedy Taken from the Greek … Goat Song

23 Aristotle said Tragedy evolved out of the improvisations by the leader of the dithyrambs

24 What’s a dithyramb? It was the hymn sung and danced in honor of Dionysis, the greek god of wine and fertility

25 Greek Theatre Comedy

26 Origins of comedy From the Greek word KOMOS Based on religious ceremonies connected with fertility rites Actors wore grotesque costumes and performed using wild gestures Around 570 BC these actions become organized Susaron believed to have written the first comedy

27 Styles of Comedy Old Comedy Middle Comedy New Comedy

28 Structure of Comedy

29 Old Comedy (570 - 404) “HAPPY IDEA” The

30 The Happy Idea Usually wild and impractical The chorus enters and debates the Happy Idea which includes a direct address to the audience of the views of the playwright A series of farcical scenes attempting to implement the happy idea which usually concludes with some merrymaking

31 Middle Comedy (404 - 321) Development connected to the downfall of Athens during the Peloponnesian War Chorus has a lesser role Political commentary removed Stories and characters become somewhat uniform No scipts of this time period remain

32 New Comedy Appears during the last quarter of the 4th Century Comic form most copied by the Romans Structure closely resembles the structure of modern plays (5 Act Structure) Characters drawn from contemporary Athens Last form of theatre to emerge from Athens shows the cynicism prevalent after the city’s decline

33 Satyr play Entered into the Dionysian Festival around 500 BC Accompanied the trilogy Written as pure entertainment usually mocking the theme of the previous plays The chorus was portrayed as Satyrs Very little is known about this form of Greek Theatre

34 Greek Theatre The Playwrights

35 Tragedy in the 5th Century What we know about Greek Tragedy is based solely on three playwrights They are representative of other playwrights However from over a 1,000 plays written during that time period, only 31 still exist

36 The Tragic Playwrights Aeschylus Sophocles Euripides

37 Aeschylus (523 - 456) Oldest of surviving Greek Playwrights Thought to have written 80 plays, only 7 survive including the Oresteia trilogy (Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Eumenides) Introduced the Second actor The most “theatrical” of the tragedians

38 Sophocles (496 - 406) Wrote over 120 plays, 7 survived including Antigone, Electra, and Oedipus Rex Won 24 Dionysian festivals, never lower than 2nd Introduced the 3rd actor, after Aeschylus used 3 No elaborate visual effects, placed increased emphasis on the individual character Considered the most skillful of all the Greek tragedians

39 Euripides (480 - 406) Wrote about 90 plays, 18 survived including Medea, The Trojan Women, and Orestes Popular in later cultures but not during his lifetime because his plays were thought unsuitable for the stage & too undignified for tragedy Badly written, compared to Sophocles & Aeschylus Use of melodrama and sentimentality were signs of what was to come in the 4th Century

40 The Comic Playwrights Aristophanes & Menander

41 Aristophanes (448 - 380) What we know of Old Comedy comes from his writings Wrote 40 plays 11 survive including Frogs, Lysistrata, & Birds Characters come from all classes of Athenians commenting on contemporary society, politics, literature, & war With Athen’s defeat by Sparta, his style of writing becomes less popular

42 Menander (342 - 292) Playwright of the New Comedy Period Wrote about 100 plays 11 exist Grew up in Macedonian controlled Athens Chorus no longer important - group of performers who appear between scenes (5 Act Structure) Stock characters taken from everyday life in contemporary dress - not mythic Not considered great playwright but works influenced Roman playwrights Plautus & Terence Modern Theatre can trace its roots to Menander


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