Festival of Dionysus (the god of wine and fertility), each performance was presented as part of competition. Original performances were presented as a chorus, large groups speaking in unison to tell legends and myths. Thespis, whose name was the basis for the term “thespian” was the first to step out of the chorus and speak independently. The Origins
The term tragoida (goat song) was used to describe events because the songs were sung before sacrificing a goat, or the prize was a goat. This term is the basis for our modern term “tragedy” Main plays of the time were tragedies based on mythology and often included the gods as characters watching and manipulating the action. Common examples of tragedies are Oedipus Rex and Antigone. Tragedies
Shorter comedies and satyr plays were performed between tragedies. Aristophanes was the main comedic playwright in the 5 th century. His plays were much shorter than tragedies and were often based on human interactions rather than myths and gods. Most popular plays include Lysistrata and The Frogs. Comedies
The Greek chorus was the center of all plays with the playwright portraying all the other characters. The chorus was used not only to portray character but also to show the audience how to respond, to set the mood, or to provide pauses in the action where the audience could reflect on and anticipate the story. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quLkooLxsO4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quLkooLxsO4 Greek Chorus
After Thespis stepped out from the chorus, more playwrights followed suit. Aeschylus introduced a second actor who was minimally used outside the chorus. Sophocles removed himself entirely from the performances of his plays and had three actors. By the time of Euripides, the chorus was generally on the peripheral, used often as council members or a character’s conscience. Tragic actors eventually had their own additional contest during the festival. Evolution of the actor
Methods of costuming are not readily agreed upon because there is little mention of specific costumes in surviving text and pictorial evidence is contradictory. Use of masks is readily agreed upon. Original masks covered the entire head and included appropriate hairstyles. Purpose of masks was the make changes in character clear because one actor played all the parts. Masks were made out of lightweight wood and linen and, after Aeschylus were usually painted. Costumes and Masks
Theatre Architecture Ancient architecture was very basic, starting as a rectangular performance area with open seating on two sides. The skene was a temporary building behind the stage used for a changing area. The skene usually had one or more doors that opened onto the stage, and either a roof or second level built as additional playing area, generally for the gods.
Transition to Roman The Hellenistic period formed a bridge between Greek and Roman Theatre. The architecture developed greatly in this time. The stage was raised to between 13 and 18 feet high. It was up to 140 feet long and between six and half and 14 feet deep. Ramps were introduced to connect the stage to the orcestra. The skene became two full stories, each with it’s own façade.
In groups of 5 to 7, you will choose a chorus scene from an ancient Greek play. You will bring materials to make masks based on your characters (paper plates, construction paper, glue, markers, etc). You will have one full week (beginning tomorrow 10/2) to make your masks and rehearse your scenes. LINES MUST BE MEMORIZED. Performances will take place 10/09 and 10/10. There will be a QUIZ 10/11. Assignment