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GREEK theatre Dr. Neighbours NRHS Theatre Classes.

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Presentation on theme: "GREEK theatre Dr. Neighbours NRHS Theatre Classes."— Presentation transcript:

1 GREEK theatre Dr. Neighbours NRHS Theatre Classes

2 The land The land The myths The stage

3 The Land Located in Europe in the Aegean Sea

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5 The Land

6 PURPOSE OF GREEK DRAMA Dramas presented by the state at annual religious festivals. Typically the Festival of Dionysius, the God of Wine, Fertility & Revelry Plays were supposed to be presented for the purpose of ethical and moral improvement of the spectators and to ensure the spiritual survival of the community. And a little entertainment, too! Winners of prizes were selected by ten citizens chosen by lots for the duty.

7 FESTIVALS OF DIONYSUS In honor of the god of Wine, Fertility, and Revelry In honor of the god of Wine, Fertility, and Revelry Early worship involved orgies and drunkenness Early worship involved orgies and drunkenness Myths relate to seasonal growing cycles and passions of Man Myths relate to seasonal growing cycles and passions of Man Purpose of worship was inducement of fertility Purpose of worship was inducement of fertility 8th-7th Century B.C.--contests of choral dancing held at many festivals ; “dithyrambs ” 8th-7th Century B.C.--contests of choral dancing held at many festivals ; “dithyrambs ”

8 DITHYRAMB “Ecstatic Hymn” A RELIGIOUS CHANT OR SONG PERFORMED IN RHYTHM AND WITH DANCING

9 First Definite Record of Drama in Greece: 534 B.C. “City Dionysia” (late March) reorganized “City Dionysia” (late March) reorganized Contest for Best Tragedy instituted Contest for Best Tragedy instituted Winner of first contest is Thespis, who also acted in the performance Winner of first contest is Thespis, who also acted in the performance Actors today are known as “Thespians”, in honor of the first known Greek actor. Actors today are known as “Thespians”, in honor of the first known Greek actor.

10 Actors were all male. They wore masks. Actors were all male. They wore masks. Scenes of the drama were always outdoors; indoor actions were reported by messengers. Scenes of the drama were always outdoors; indoor actions were reported by messengers. There was no violence on stage There was no violence on stage There was “unity” in plot -- no subplots or irrelevancies. There was “unity” in plot -- no subplots or irrelevancies. The action always took place in one day. The action always took place in one day. There were no curtains or intermissions. There were no curtains or intermissions. CHARACTERISTICS OF GREEK DRAMA

11 “HYPOKRITE” GREEK WORD FOR ACTOR, MEANS “WEARER OF MASKS”

12 “CHORAGUS” A wealthy patron, wishing to honor the gods, pays for the cost of a production A wealthy patron, wishing to honor the gods, pays for the cost of a production Precursor to the “Producer” Precursor to the “Producer”

13 THE CHORUS IN GREEK DRAMA The function of the chorus was to : The function of the chorus was to : set the mood of the drama set the mood of the drama interpret events interpret events relieve the tension relieve the tension generalize meaning of the action generalize meaning of the action converse with and give advice to the actors converse with and give advice to the actors give background information give background information emphasize the beauty of poetry and dancing emphasize the beauty of poetry and dancing leader acted as spokesman for the group leader acted as spokesman for the group

14 SUBJECT OF PLAYS The subject was almost exclusively taken from well- known myths. The subject was almost exclusively taken from well- known myths. The plays explored the mysteries of life and the role of the gods in human affairs. The plays explored the mysteries of life and the role of the gods in human affairs. The main purpose was ethical and religious instruction. The main purpose was ethical and religious instruction.

15 STYLE IN PLAYS There are long, wordy speeches (sometimes about current events or contemporary people). There are long, wordy speeches (sometimes about current events or contemporary people).

16 MESSAGE FROM TRAGEDIES Out of great tragedy comes wisdom. Out of great tragedy comes wisdom.

17 CONCEPT OF TRAGIC HERO AND TRAGEDY (from Aristotle) Tragedy arouses the emotions of pity, fear, wonder and awe. A tragic hero must be a man or woman capable of great suffering. Tragedy explores the question of the ways of God to man. Tragedy purifies the emotions (catharsis) Tragedy shows how man is brought to disaster by a single flaw in his own character.

18 Greek Theatre Terms exodus -- exodus -- Dionysus -- Dionysus -- skene -- skene -- theatron or theatron or orchestra -- parados -- parados -- thymele -- thymele -- prologue – prologue – episode -- episode -- stasimon -- stasimon -- chorus – chorus – choragas -- choragas -- proscenium -- proscenium -- choral ode -- choral ode -- strophe -- strophe -- antistrophe – antistrophe – epode -- epode -- hubris – hubris – humartia -- humartia -- sphinx -- sphinx -- unities -- unities --

19 Oedipus rex, Antigone and Greek Theatre Terms, cont. exodus -- final action of the play exodus -- final action of the play Dionysus -- God of drama, wine, revelry Dionysus -- God of drama, wine, revelry skene -- wooden building with three doors through which actors made their entrances and exits skene -- wooden building with three doors through which actors made their entrances and exits theatron or orchestra -- dancing place of the chorus theatron or orchestra -- dancing place of the chorus parados -- chorus marching in from the left or right parados -- chorus marching in from the left or right thymele -- altar to Dionysus on which sacrifices were made, and which was sometimes used as a stage prop thymele -- altar to Dionysus on which sacrifices were made, and which was sometimes used as a stage prop

20 prologue -- opening scene (introduction) prologue -- opening scene (introduction) episode -- act or scene episode -- act or scene stasimon -- choral ode (end of each episode) stasimon -- choral ode (end of each episode) chorus -- clarifies experiences and feelings of the characters and expresses conventional attitude toward development in the story; also sets the mood chorus -- clarifies experiences and feelings of the characters and expresses conventional attitude toward development in the story; also sets the mood proscenium -- level area in front of the skene on which most of the plays action took place proscenium -- level area in front of the skene on which most of the plays action took place choral ode -- lyric sung by the chorus which develops the importance of the action choral ode -- lyric sung by the chorus which develops the importance of the action

21 strophe -- a turning, right to left, by chorus strophe -- a turning, right to left, by chorus antistrophe -- a turning, left to right, by chorus antistrophe -- a turning, left to right, by chorus choragas -- leader of the chorus choragas -- leader of the chorus epode -- the part of a lyric ode following the strophe and antistrophe epode -- the part of a lyric ode following the strophe and antistrophe hubris -- Greek word for excessive pride or arrogance hubris -- Greek word for excessive pride or arrogance

22 humartia -- Greek word for error in judgment, especially resulting from a defect in the character of a tragic hero; the tragic flaw humartia -- Greek word for error in judgment, especially resulting from a defect in the character of a tragic hero; the tragic flaw sphinx -- a female monster, usually represented as having the head and breast of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle sphinx -- a female monster, usually represented as having the head and breast of a woman, the body of a lion, and the wings of an eagle unities -- time, place, action; a play should have no subplot, should not cover more than 24 hours and should not have more than one locale unities -- time, place, action; a play should have no subplot, should not cover more than 24 hours and should not have more than one locale

23 Masks of Greek Theater

24 The masks were worn for many reason including: 1. Visibility 2. Acoustic Assistance 3. Few Actors, Many Roles 4. Characterization

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26 Masks of Greek Theater

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29 Modern-day replicas Hero-King Comedy (Servant or Herald ) Tragedy (Weeping Chorus)

30 THE THEATRE OF THE GREEKS The Grecian Amphitheatre (Where They Performed)

31 The Stage

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33 Theater at Epidaurus

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35 Once, on a Hill Far Away… The theatre of the Greeks was built on the slope of a hill The theatre of the Greeks was built on the slope of a hill This secured sufficient elevation for the back row of seats without enormous substructures (which the Romans used) This secured sufficient elevation for the back row of seats without enormous substructures (which the Romans used) If the surface was rocky, semicircles were cut out, tier above tier (level above level) If the surface was rocky, semicircles were cut out, tier above tier (level above level) If it was soft ground, an excavation was made in the hillside and lined with rows of stone benches If it was soft ground, an excavation was made in the hillside and lined with rows of stone benches The steps were often made with marble, as in the theatre of Dionysus at Athens. The steps were often made with marble, as in the theatre of Dionysus at Athens.

36 The Circular Pit The circular pit that was formed by the seating was enclosed by a lofty portico and balustraded terrace The circular pit that was formed by the seating was enclosed by a lofty portico and balustraded terrace This area was assigned to the spectators. This area was assigned to the spectators. The auditorium was divided by broad concentric belts, named diazomata, which served as lobbies, The auditorium was divided by broad concentric belts, named diazomata, which served as lobbies, Had eleven rows of seats between each, and these were further divided into wedges by transverse flights of stairs between the lobbies, converging on the centre of the orchestra. Had eleven rows of seats between each, and these were further divided into wedges by transverse flights of stairs between the lobbies, converging on the centre of the orchestra. The latter resembled the passages in a trireme with its banks of oars, and hence were called selides or gangways, the subdivisions, eleven to each section, suggesting as many benches of rowers. The latter resembled the passages in a trireme with its banks of oars, and hence were called selides or gangways, the subdivisions, eleven to each section, suggesting as many benches of rowers.

37 The Auditorium The auditorium was divided, as with contemporary theatres, into several parts The auditorium was divided, as with contemporary theatres, into several parts But the assignment of seats was determined not by a money payment, but by rank and other considerations. But the assignment of seats was determined not by a money payment, but by rank and other considerations. Thus the rows nearest the orchestra were set apart for the members of the council, while others were reserved for young men, who sat together, or for those who, for whatever reason, were entitled to them. Most of the space was given to the general public, who with these exceptions could make their own choice of seats.

38 Parts of a Greek Theatre ORKESTRA: circular acting space at center, translates as “dancing place” ORKESTRA: circular acting space at center, translates as “dancing place” THYMELE: Altar stone at center of orkestra THYMELE: Altar stone at center of orkestra THEATRON: Spectator seating; “seeing place” THEATRON: Spectator seating; “seeing place” SKENE: Stage building behind orkestra; where we get the words “scene” and “scenery” SKENE: Stage building behind orkestra; where we get the words “scene” and “scenery”

39 The Orchestra (Orkestra) The orchestra was ten or twelve feet below the front row of seats which formed its boundary The orchestra was ten or twelve feet below the front row of seats which formed its boundary A portion of its space was occupied by a raised platform, which superseded the altar of Dionysus in the centre, though still known as the thymele. A portion of its space was occupied by a raised platform, which superseded the altar of Dionysus in the centre, though still known as the thymele. In front of the orchestra, and on a level with the lowest tier of seats, was the stage In front of the orchestra, and on a level with the lowest tier of seats, was the stage Flights of steps led from the orchestra, with others leading to chambers below, known as Charon's stairways; They were used for the entrance of spectres from the nether world and for the ghostly apparitions of the dead.

40 SKENE STAGE HOUSE: provides scenic background, a place to change costumes, place to exit STAGE HOUSE: provides scenic background, a place to change costumes, place to exit Had one to three doors Had one to three doors May have been raised up off ground level May have been raised up off ground level Developed a second story in later years Developed a second story in later years

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42 Parts of a Greek Theatre PARADOS/PARADOI: entry ramps for the chorus between the Teatron and Skene; where we get the word “parade” PARADOS/PARADOI: entry ramps for the chorus between the Teatron and Skene; where we get the word “parade” PERIAKTOI: Three-sided turnable column used as a scenic device, placed in space between columns of skene PERIAKTOI: Three-sided turnable column used as a scenic device, placed in space between columns of skene MACHINA: Crane-like device used to suspend celestial figures above the action; “deus ex machina” means “god from the machine” MACHINA: Crane-like device used to suspend celestial figures above the action; “deus ex machina” means “god from the machine”

43 Side View: Orkestra and Teatron

44 Orkestra with Thymele, Skene

45 Teatron

46 AUDITORIUM “The Hearing Place” Includes Orkestra and Teatron

47 Seating for the Priests

48 The Head Priest’s Chair

49 GREEK PLAYWRIGHTS Only 5 playwrights and 45 plays survive Only 5 playwrights and 45 plays survive According to Aristotle, drama developed out of improvisation by the leaders of the dithyrambs According to Aristotle, drama developed out of improvisation by the leaders of the dithyrambs Early “plays”, such as those by Thespis, were no more than a discourse between one actor (“Protagonist”) and the chorus. Early “plays”, such as those by Thespis, were no more than a discourse between one actor (“Protagonist”) and the chorus. In later years, playwrights wrote 3 Tragedies and one Satyr Play for the contests at the City Dionysia In later years, playwrights wrote 3 Tragedies and one Satyr Play for the contests at the City Dionysia

50 Major Greek Dramatists Aeschylus524 B.C.Agamemenon Sophocles496 B.C.Antigone Oedipus Euripides480 B.C.Medea DramatistBornWrote

51 AESCHYLUS: B.C. Tragic Playwright, Introduced Second Actor, “Deuteragonist” Tragic Playwright, Introduced Second Actor, “Deuteragonist” Encouraged face-to-face conflict between characters Encouraged face-to-face conflict between characters reduced importance of chorus, size from 50 reduced importance of chorus, size from 50 Wrote Agamemnon and Prometheus Bound Wrote Agamemnon and Prometheus Bound

52 SOPHOCLES: B.C. Considered greatest Greek dramatist, wrote tragedies Considered greatest Greek dramatist, wrote tragedies Created Third Actor Created Third Actor More concerned with human relationships than religious issues More concerned with human relationships than religious issues Wrote Oedipus Rex (the King) and Antigone Wrote Oedipus Rex (the King) and Antigone

53 EURIPIDES: B.C. Last of great Greek Tragic playwrights Last of great Greek Tragic playwrights Reduced chorus to relatively unimportant role Reduced chorus to relatively unimportant role Treated Gods with lack of awe Treated Gods with lack of awe Wrote Medea and The Trojean Women Wrote Medea and The Trojean Women

54 ARISTOPHANES: B.C. Comic Playwright, “Old Comedy”, discusses “happy idea” Comic Playwright, “Old Comedy”, discusses “happy idea” Wrote Lysistrata, an anti-war comedy Wrote Lysistrata, an anti-war comedy

55 ONE LAST WORD ON GREEK TRAGEDIES… General pattern developed by Aeschylus General pattern developed by Aeschylus PROLOGOS: establishes dramatic situation PROLOGOS: establishes dramatic situation PARODOS: Entrance of Chorus, “exposition” PARODOS: Entrance of Chorus, “exposition” EPEISODA: main action, equivalent of an “Act” EPEISODA: main action, equivalent of an “Act” STASIMA: Choral interlude, makes comment on the action in the Epeisoda STASIMA: Choral interlude, makes comment on the action in the Epeisoda Climax occurs in last Epeisoda, so that last Stasima allows final comment by the chorus Climax occurs in last Epeisoda, so that last Stasima allows final comment by the chorus EXODOS: Final summation and exit of Chorus EXODOS: Final summation and exit of Chorus


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