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The Golden Age of Ancient Greek Theater the origins of drama.

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Presentation on theme: "The Golden Age of Ancient Greek Theater the origins of drama."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Golden Age of Ancient Greek Theater the origins of drama

2 The Origins Of Drama  Short poems called dithyrambs celebrating Dionysus eventually evolved into dramas.  The story goes: Thespis, a popular writer of dithyrambs, is said to have invented drama when he asked one “performer” to stand outside the chorus to engage in some “call and response.”  Short poems called dithyrambs celebrating Dionysus eventually evolved into dramas.  The story goes: Thespis, a popular writer of dithyrambs, is said to have invented drama when he asked one “performer” to stand outside the chorus to engage in some “call and response.”

3 The Chorus  Because of the dithyrambic (poems that were song-like) origins of Greek drama, the plays featured Choruses.  The chorus danced and either sung or chanted their lines.  Because of the dithyrambic (poems that were song-like) origins of Greek drama, the plays featured Choruses.  The chorus danced and either sung or chanted their lines.

4 Functions of the chorus  an agent: gives advice, asks, takes part  establishes ethical framework, sets up standard by which action will be judged  ideal spectator - reacts as playwright hopes audience would  sets mood and heightens dramatic effects  adds movement, spectacle, song, and dance  rhythmical function - pauses / paces the action so that the audience can reflect on the previous scene.  an agent: gives advice, asks, takes part  establishes ethical framework, sets up standard by which action will be judged  ideal spectator - reacts as playwright hopes audience would  sets mood and heightens dramatic effects  adds movement, spectacle, song, and dance  rhythmical function - pauses / paces the action so that the audience can reflect on the previous scene.

5 Word Origin  The modern word “drama” comes from the Greek word dran meaning "to do”  The Greeks understood the role of action in plays.  The modern word “drama” comes from the Greek word dran meaning "to do”  The Greeks understood the role of action in plays.

6 The Theatre of Dionysus  The first plays were performed in the Theatre of Dionysus, built in the shadow of the Acropolis in Athens at the beginning of the 5th century,  These theatres proved to be so popular, they soon spread all over Greece.  The first plays were performed in the Theatre of Dionysus, built in the shadow of the Acropolis in Athens at the beginning of the 5th century,  These theatres proved to be so popular, they soon spread all over Greece.

7 Amphitheatres  Plays were performed out-of-doors.  The side of the mountain was scooped out into a bowl shape, something like our amphitheatres today, and tiers of stone seats in concentric semi-circles were built on the hill.  These theaters often seated as many as 20,000 spectators, with a special first row being reserved for politicians and important figures.  Plays were performed out-of-doors.  The side of the mountain was scooped out into a bowl shape, something like our amphitheatres today, and tiers of stone seats in concentric semi-circles were built on the hill.  These theaters often seated as many as 20,000 spectators, with a special first row being reserved for politicians and important figures.

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9 Word Origin  The modern word “theater” comes from the Greek word theatron meaning "seeing place"

10 The Actors  All of the actors were men. Women were not allowed to participate.  The actors played multiple roles, so a wooden, cork, or linen mask was used to show the change in character or mood.  If playing a female role, the male actor in want of a female appearance wore the prosternida before the chest and the progastrida before the belly  All of the actors were men. Women were not allowed to participate.  The actors played multiple roles, so a wooden, cork, or linen mask was used to show the change in character or mood.  If playing a female role, the male actor in want of a female appearance wore the prosternida before the chest and the progastrida before the belly

11 Working in the Space  Because of the distance between actors and the audience, the actors, who were all men, used broad gestures and exaggerated speech.  The actor made himself taller by wearing thick-soled shoes called cothurnis and a high head piece called an onkus.  The masks assisted in projecting the actor’s voice through a type of inside megaphone.  Because of the distance between actors and the audience, the actors, who were all men, used broad gestures and exaggerated speech.  The actor made himself taller by wearing thick-soled shoes called cothurnis and a high head piece called an onkus.  The masks assisted in projecting the actor’s voice through a type of inside megaphone.

12 Staging  Staging was accomplished simply with the use of scenery painted on boards and placed against the skene.  Also, triangular walls could be revolved for scenery changes.  Props were also used.  Drums were sounded for thunder.  Staging was accomplished simply with the use of scenery painted on boards and placed against the skene.  Also, triangular walls could be revolved for scenery changes.  Props were also used.  Drums were sounded for thunder.

13 Staging, Cont’d.  A small wagon-type platform was wheeled in to show a corpse to the audience. All killing had to occur off stage and be reported to the audience by the chorus or a messenger.  The deus-ex-machina was a crane-like device occasionally used for lowering in a god to assist the protagonist in neatly solving his problems.  Deus-ex-machina is the use of a godor other figure to wrap up a difficult conflict/plot.  A small wagon-type platform was wheeled in to show a corpse to the audience. All killing had to occur off stage and be reported to the audience by the chorus or a messenger.  The deus-ex-machina was a crane-like device occasionally used for lowering in a god to assist the protagonist in neatly solving his problems.  Deus-ex-machina is the use of a godor other figure to wrap up a difficult conflict/plot.

14 Community Involvement  The entire city would be in attendance.  All other businesses not directly involved with a drama festival would shut down, so that everyone could attend.  The government even offered financial assistance to those who could not afford to attend.  The entire city would be in attendance.  All other businesses not directly involved with a drama festival would shut down, so that everyone could attend.  The government even offered financial assistance to those who could not afford to attend.

15 Types of Greek Drama  Comedy  Tragedy  Satire  Comedy and tragedy were the most popular types of plays in ancient Greece. Hence, the modern popularity of the comedy and tragedy masks to symbolize theatre.  Comedy  Tragedy  Satire  Comedy and tragedy were the most popular types of plays in ancient Greece. Hence, the modern popularity of the comedy and tragedy masks to symbolize theatre.

16 Tragedy  The word “tragedy” came to be derived from the Greek tragos (goat) and ode (poem). Tragedy literally means goat song or goat poem.

17 Traits of Tragedy  Violence and death occurred offstage  Frequently used messengers to relate information  Stories based on myth or history, but varied interpretations of events  Focus was on psychological and ethical attributes of characters, rather than physical.  Violence and death occurred offstage  Frequently used messengers to relate information  Stories based on myth or history, but varied interpretations of events  Focus was on psychological and ethical attributes of characters, rather than physical.

18 Structure of a tragedy  Prologue, which describes the situation and sets the scene.  Parados, an ode sung by the chorus as it makes its entrance.  Five dramatic scenes, or episodes--the last of which is called the Epilogue.  Each episode is followed by a choral ode, which is an exchange of laments by the chorus and the protagonist.  Exodus, the climax and conclusion.  Prologue, which describes the situation and sets the scene.  Parados, an ode sung by the chorus as it makes its entrance.  Five dramatic scenes, or episodes--the last of which is called the Epilogue.  Each episode is followed by a choral ode, which is an exchange of laments by the chorus and the protagonist.  Exodus, the climax and conclusion.

19 Sophocles ( bc)  His plays are more character- driven rather than choric  He is credited with adding a third character  His works include: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Electra  His plays are more character- driven rather than choric  He is credited with adding a third character  His works include: Antigone, Oedipus Rex, Electra

20 The Final Curtain  By the time of Sophocles’s death in 406 BC the golden era of Greek drama was ending.  Athens was overrun in 404 BC by the Spartans, and was later torn apart by constant warring with other city- states.  Theater went on, but did not return to the same creative heights until Elizabethan England, 2,000 years later (the time of Shakespeare).  By the time of Sophocles’s death in 406 BC the golden era of Greek drama was ending.  Athens was overrun in 404 BC by the Spartans, and was later torn apart by constant warring with other city- states.  Theater went on, but did not return to the same creative heights until Elizabethan England, 2,000 years later (the time of Shakespeare).


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