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Greek Drama & Theater Origins of Drama Greek drama reflected the flaws and values of Greek society. In turn, members of society internalized both the.

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Presentation on theme: "Greek Drama & Theater Origins of Drama Greek drama reflected the flaws and values of Greek society. In turn, members of society internalized both the."— Presentation transcript:

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2 Greek Drama & Theater

3 Origins of Drama Greek drama reflected the flaws and values of Greek society. In turn, members of society internalized both the positive and negative messages, and incorporated them into their daily lives. This concept of exposing society’s flaws and allowing the audience to learn from them is evident in contemporary theater.

4 Origins of Drama The earliest origins of drama are ancient hymns, called dithyrambs. These were sung in honor of the god Dionysus. These hymns were later adapted for choral processions in which participants would dress up in costumes and masks. The earliest origins of drama are ancient hymns, called dithyrambs. These were sung in honor of the god Dionysus. These hymns were later adapted for choral processions in which participants would dress up in costumes and masks.

5 Why Dionysus? In Greek mythology, Dionysus was the son of Zeus & Semele. He is the only god born of one god and one mortal parent. In Greek mythology, Dionysus was the son of Zeus & Semele. He is the only god born of one god and one mortal parent. One of the 12 Olympians One of the 12 Olympians He was the god of wine, fertility and revelry. He was the god of wine, fertility and revelry.

6 Dionysus Responsible for human impulses Responsible for human impulses Divine mission: eradicate all care and worry Divine mission: eradicate all care and worry Described as feminine; “man-womanish” Described as feminine; “man-womanish” It was believed that Dionysus could liberate and inspire man. It was also believed that he could endow man with divine creativity. Dionysus, thus, came to be considered a patron of the arts. It was believed that Dionysus could liberate and inspire man. It was also believed that he could endow man with divine creativity. Dionysus, thus, came to be considered a patron of the arts. Honored him through theater festivals Honored him through theater festivals

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

8 Greek Theater First resemblance of a Greek theater was in the Palace at Knossos in northern Crete First resemblance of a Greek theater was in the Palace at Knossos in northern Crete First formal Greek theater built in Athens between 550 and 534 BC First formal Greek theater built in Athens between 550 and 534 BC Front rows reserved for distinguished visitors Front rows reserved for distinguished visitors Open-air theater Open-air theater  Simple surrounding allowed audience to devote full attention to characters

9 Theatre of Dionysus Built in the shadow of the Acropolis in Athens at the beginning of the 5th century 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. These theatres proved to be so popular they soon spread all over Greece.

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11 Parts of the Theater Orchestra: (literally, "dancing space") A circular and level space where the chorus would dance, sing, and interact with the actors who were on the stage near the skene. Orchestra: (literally, "dancing space") A circular and level space where the chorus would dance, sing, and interact with the actors who were on the stage near the skene. Theatron: (literally, "viewing-place") This is where the spectators sat. The theatron was usually part of hillside overlooking the orchestra. Theatron: (literally, "viewing-place") This is where the spectators sat. The theatron was usually part of hillside overlooking the orchestra.

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13 Parts of the Theater Skene: (literally, "tent") The skene was directly in back of the stage, and was usually decorated as a palace, temple, or other building, depending on the needs of the play. It had at least one set of doors, and actors could make entrances and exits through them. Skene: (literally, "tent") The skene was directly in back of the stage, and was usually decorated as a palace, temple, or other building, depending on the needs of the play. It had at least one set of doors, and actors could make entrances and exits through them. Parodos: (literally, "passageways") The paths by which the chorus and some actors made their entrances and exits. The audience also used them to enter and exit the theater before and after the performance. Parodos: (literally, "passageways") The paths by which the chorus and some actors made their entrances and exits. The audience also used them to enter and exit the theater before and after the performance.

14 Amphitheaters The side of a mountain was scooped out into a bowl shape, and tiers of stone seats were built into the hillside. The side of a mountain was scooped out into a bowl shape, and tiers of stone seats were built into the hillside. Often seated as many as 20,000 people Often seated as many as 20,000 people

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16 In the sixth century BC, the Athenian ruler Pisistratus established the “City Dionysia,” a festival of entertainment held in honor of the god Dionysus. In the sixth century BC, the Athenian ruler Pisistratus established the “City Dionysia,” a festival of entertainment held in honor of the god Dionysus. This festival, held in March, featured competitions in music, singing, dance and poetry. This festival, held in March, featured competitions in music, singing, dance and poetry. Statue of Dionysus was carried into theater so he could observe the performance. Statue of Dionysus was carried into theater so he could observe the performance. Performance was preceded by a sacrifice to Dionysus. Performance was preceded by a sacrifice to Dionysus. “City Dionysia” (di- u- niz- ea)

17 Community Involvement in Festival The entire city would be in attendance. The entire city would be in attendance. All other businesses not directly involved with the 6-day festival would shut down so that everyone could attend. All other businesses not directly involved with the 6-day festival would shut down so that everyone could attend. The government even offered financial assistance to those who could not afford to attend. The government even offered financial assistance to those who could not afford to attend.

18 Thespis Thespian: Of or relating to drama; dramatic: thespian talents Of or relating to drama; dramatic: thespian talents The most remarkable winning actor/playwright was said to be a wandering bard named Thespis. Does the name Thespis remind you of anything? Can you guess which modern word goes back to this early actor’s name?

19 Essentials of Greek Drama 1. The play 2. The actors 3. The chorus

20 The Play: The Tragedy Tragodia in Greek Tragodia in Greek Derived from the words Tragos, meaning goat, and oide, meaning song. Reason for this obscure origin has two possibilities: Derived from the words Tragos, meaning goat, and oide, meaning song. Reason for this obscure origin has two possibilities: 1. Choruses were dressed in loin-skins of goats 2. Prize for best song was a goat

21 The Play: The Tragedy Centered around the rise and downfall of the “hero” Centered around the rise and downfall of the “hero” The conclusion of a tragedy was usually a messenger coming out to tell the audience of the tragic consequences of the characters’ actions The conclusion of a tragedy was usually a messenger coming out to tell the audience of the tragic consequences of the characters’ actions Stories based on myth or history, but varied interpretations of events Stories based on myth or history, but varied interpretations of events Focus was on psychological and ethical attributes of characters, rather than physical and sociological. Focus was on psychological and ethical attributes of characters, rather than physical and sociological.

22 The Structure of Greek Tragedy Prologue, which described the situation and set the scene Prologue, which described the situation and set the scene Parados, an ode sung by the chorus as it made its entrance Parados, an ode sung by the chorus as it made its entrance Five dramatic scenes, each followed by a Komos, an exchange of laments by the chorus and the protagonist Five dramatic scenes, each followed by a Komos, an exchange of laments by the chorus and the protagonist Exodus, the climax and conclusion Exodus, the climax and conclusion **Tragedies were often presented in trilogies. Interspersed between the three plays in the trilogy were satyr plays.

23 TRAGIC ACTION ARETE, ARISTEIA: excellence HUBRIS: arrogance HAMARTIA: fatal mistake PERIPETEIA: reversal of fortune ANAGNORISIS: understanding KATHARSIS

24 Satyr (say-ter) Plays These were short plays performed between the acts of tragedies. They made fun of the plight of the tragedy's characters. These were short plays performed between the acts of tragedies. They made fun of the plight of the tragedy's characters. The satyrs were mythical half-human, half-goat servants of Dionysus. The satyrs were mythical half-human, half-goat servants of Dionysus.

25 Word Origin Does the term Satyr remind you of any modern-day term? Does the term Satyr remind you of any modern-day term? The Satyr and the Satyr plays spawned the word satire. The Satyr and the Satyr plays spawned the word satire.

26 The Play: The Comedy Not admitted to Dionysus festival till B.C. – late Not admitted to Dionysus festival till B.C. – late The first comedies were mainly satirical and mocked men in power for their vanity and foolishness. The first comedies were mainly satirical and mocked men in power for their vanity and foolishness. Slapstick and crude humor Slapstick and crude humor Comedies usually concluded with a “happy ending” and the characters find a resolution to the original conflict Comedies usually concluded with a “happy ending” and the characters find a resolution to the original conflict

27 The Actors Actors were chosen from a pool of professionals. Actors were chosen from a pool of professionals. Speaking parts were allotted to three men. Speaking parts were allotted to three men. Women were not allowed to participate. Women were not allowed to participate. Gestures and body movements were controlled and stately Gestures and body movements were controlled and stately

28 The Actors- Costuming Wore long, trailing robes with elaborate designs Wore long, trailing robes with elaborate designs At the bottom of each of the actors’ shoes was a 6-inch wooden sole to make him appear taller and more intimidating. At the bottom of each of the actors’ shoes was a 6-inch wooden sole to make him appear taller and more intimidating.

29 The Actors- Masks Made out of linen, cork, or wood Made out of linen, cork, or wood Allowed the actors to portray multiple characters Allowed the actors to portray multiple characters Portrayed different emotions Portrayed different emotions Amplified voices Amplified voices

30 The Chorus The word “chorus” literally means “dance” The word “chorus” literally means “dance” Most Greek choruses blended music, dance and song Most Greek choruses blended music, dance and song The chorus began in numbers as large as 50 but dwindled to The chorus began in numbers as large as 50 but dwindled to The traditional Greek chorus moved and spoke in unison. The traditional Greek chorus moved and spoke in unison.

31 Functions of the Chorus: 1) To establish the ethical framework– the standard by which action will be judged 2) To set mood and heighten dramatic effect 3) To add movement, spectacle, song, and dance 4) To provide rhythm-- pauses / paces the action so that the audience can reflect. 5) To provide time for scene changes and introduce background or summary information. 6) To represent the “ideal” spectator-- they take part in play, ask questions, react as playwright intends audience to react

32 GreekBothModern Maximum of 3 male actors, in addition to chorus Maximum of 3 male actors, in addition to chorus Have a moral that actors/director/ Have a moral that actors/director/ playwright is trying to convey to audience As many characters and of any gender as playwright deems necessary As many characters and of any gender as playwright deems necessary Plays divided into prologue, parados, episodes, stasimons and exodus Plays divided into prologue, parados, episodes, stasimons and exodus Integrate music, dance and story Integrate music, dance and story Plays divided into scenes and acts Plays divided into scenes and acts Few and very simple special effects and props Few and very simple special effects and props The Tragedy and The Comedy, including slapstick and satyr The Tragedy and The Comedy, including slapstick and satyr Many complex special effects and props Many complex special effects and props Some religious significance Some religious significance Reaction of audience is very important to life of a play Reaction of audience is very important to life of a play Purely entertainment Purely entertainment Playwright was responsible to write, direct, choreograph, design and sometimes act in a play Playwright was responsible to write, direct, choreograph, design and sometimes act in a play Similar set-up of theater Similar set-up of theater Specific jobs are given to specialists. i.e. playwright writes script, director directs actors, etc. Specific jobs are given to specialists. i.e. playwright writes script, director directs actors, etc.


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