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Roman Drama 240 B.C. – 476 A.D.. From Greek to Roman As Rome expanded, they borrowed elements from Greek culture, even their gods Instead of tragedy,

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Presentation on theme: "Roman Drama 240 B.C. – 476 A.D.. From Greek to Roman As Rome expanded, they borrowed elements from Greek culture, even their gods Instead of tragedy,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Roman Drama 240 B.C. – 476 A.D.

2 From Greek to Roman As Rome expanded, they borrowed elements from Greek culture, even their gods Instead of tragedy, Romans focused on comedy Developed domestic comedy, similar to our situational comedies (sitcom) today Gave us many new theatrical terms: Auditorium-”hearing place” Persona-mask or character represented by the mask

3 Changes in Theater Design Skene (now called Scaenae)– 3 stories tall with porticos (porch/roofed walkway) and statues

4 Orchestra half circle used by musicians

5 Pulpitum raised stage for acting 2-5 feet high

6 Changes cont. Voms – entrance and exitways for audience Auleum-reversed curtain, pulled upward on poles Theater now called the Auditorium, not the Theatron.

7 Skene Voms Orchestra Pulpitum Audience Auleum Line

8 Theater Designs Actors sometimes performed in temporary, moveable wooden theaters. Permanent theaters were built in 55 B.C. Although temporary, they were still elaborate. Built to be free-standing and usually removed after the festival or occasion.

9 Roman vs. Greek Theater Design Orchestra: semi-circle, used only by musicians One free-standing unit Backstage entrance: Skene with many doors and porticos Entrances and Exits: Voms Located in cities Orchestra: circular, used by actors and chorus Separate buildings built into hills Backstage entrance: Proskenion and 3 doors Entrance and Exits: Parados Located in country

10 Pompey’s Contribution Built permanent theater, called it a place of worship Placed a statue of Venus outside to disguise it (permanent theatres not allowed) Steps to the temple were actually seats for the spectators

11 Pompey continued… It was copied by nearly all other future theatres in Rome and throughout the empire. Multipurpose-used for meetings of the Senate and other gatherings Thought to be the place Julius Caesar was assassinated.

12 Roman Drama Terms Closet Drama: A play that is better read, not performed, because of extremely violent scenes. Satire: A play mocking or ridiculing society or a well-known institution. Farce: Comedy that is possible but highly unlikely Claque: Someone paid to influence the audience to clap or shout.

13 Plautus Copied Greek tales and made them comical Used slapstick and stock characters Works inspired later playwrights

14 Plautus cont. Plays did not use a chorus Did not deal with political or social issues Depicted the trials and tribulations of romance Resembled modern musical comedies About 20 fragments of his plays survive, although he may have written over 50

15 Plautus’ Stock Characters A stock character was a stereotype of a certain person in society, stressing their personality traits Country Bumpkins Young Lovers Wise servant, Inept Master Smart or naïve person The braggart soldier What are stock characters we use today?

16 Terence Freed slave Borrowed/stole Greek play ideas and themes Consistently styled after Menander Wrote differently from Plautus Characterization Subtlety of expression Elegant language

17 Terence cont. Used plot elements from 2 Greek plays and created 1 new work May have been the first major black playwright in Western theater Not as whimsical as Plautus, more literary 6 comedies survive

18 Seneca Only major tragedian Borrowed plots from the Greeks Served as models for later European playwrights 9 plays, all based on Greek myths

19 Seneca’s Closet Dramas Seneca’s plays were so gory, they were better read than performed, making them closet dramas Jocasta cuts out her womb Oedipus blinds self onstage Did not exploit violence, but used it to show tragedy Did not use tragic flaws, obsessed with overwhelming emotion

20 Decline in Theater Because of the growing spectacles in the Coliseums (gladiators, lion fighting, slave/ship fighting etc.), theater was eventually overshadowed Rome fell in 476 A.D., becoming a Christian society Those who went to theater instead of church were excommunicated. Theatrics were banned because they were sinful, European drama dead for 500 years


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