Presentation on theme: "Storytelling, Egypt, the Bible and the Greek stage"— Presentation transcript:
1 Storytelling, Egypt, the Bible and the Greek stage The birth of TheatreStorytelling, Egypt, the Bible and the Greek stage
2 This oral tradition was a form of entertainment and education. Ancient StorytellingThe teller of stories has everywhere and always found eager listeners. Whether his tale is the mere report of a recent happening, a legend of long ago, or an elaborately contrived fiction, men and women have hung upon his words and satisfied their yearnings for information or amusement, for incitement to heroic deeds, for religious edification, or for release from the overpowering monotony of their lives. —Stith Thompsonucandoit/story.htmlThis oral tradition was a form of entertainment and education.
3 In time, people probably began acting out stories of hunts or religious events. The earliest record of a theatrical performance was in Egypt over 4000 years ago.The earliest actors were probably hunters who retold their adventures. These early actors later started wearing masks to represent animals or characters and used rhythmic chants and dances to tell their stories. More and more this acting began to resemble drama as we know it.Eventually, this storytelling became a way to worship gods and earthly leaders. (The Book of Job and Song of Solomon in the Old Testament are dramatic forms/dialogue.)First record of theatrical performance—carved on a stone tablet 4000 years ago, told of a man who arranged and played in a 3-day pageant of actual battles, ceremonies, etc. that told the story of the murder and dismemberment and resurrection of the Egyptian god OsirisLittle is known about these Egyptian performances, but it is believed that they were based on actual events or religious beliefs, not fictional stories.museum-zerotolerance.htm
4 All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. Pyramid playswere about the ascent of the soul to become a star. They were written on tomb walls and performed by priests. Pyramid plays include plot, characters and basic stage directions.Medicinal play—Goddess Isis has child who is bitten by a scorpion. Isis heals her son by using artificial respiration and a magic cure.
5 All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. Pyramid playsThe Coronation Festival Playwas performed at the crowning of a new pharaoh.
6 All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. Pyramid playsThe Coronation Festival Playalso known as the Coronation Jubilee play, enacted events of the pharaoh’s reign during his thirtieth year on the throne.The Heb Sed
7 All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. Pyramid playsThe Heb SedThe Coronation Festival PlayThe Medicinal Playtold the story of magical healing from the goddess Isis.
8 All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. Pyramid playsThe Heb SedThe Coronation Festival PlayThe Medicinal PlayThe Abydos Passion Playtells the story of Set, the god of evil, who kills his brother Osiris, who is resurrected and becomes King of the Dead, ruling over mortals who ascend to heaven.The annual production of this play lasted several days as part of a religious festival. It included a mock water battle on the Nile and a funeral procession in which the audience participated.
9 What common thread runs through all five types of Egyptian plays? Pyramid playsThe Heb SedThe Coronation Festival PlayThe Abydos Passion PlayThe Medicinal PlayEgyptian plays reflect their concern with life after death and their worship of pharaohs and the gods.
10 Ancient Hebrew writings in the Old Testament mention dance and ritual and read much like drama… The Book of Job is almost like a five-act drama with a prologue and epilogue.cantique_det1_en.htmThe Song of Solomon contains poetic dialogue spoken by a bride and groom.Codes/Nations/main_gir.html…but there is no evidence that these writings were performed.
11 Ancient Greeks held ceremonies to honor the gods In one ceremony, to honor the god Dionysus, a group of chanters called a chorus danced around an altar upon which a goat was sacrificed.mg/html/ htmlThe members of the chorus were called the “goat singers” and their ritualistic chant was called the tragos or “goat song.”Still, these performances were not truly “plays.”The art of words appeared long before the art of writingThese ceremonies evolved into dramatic contests with written plays.
12 Who? Average citizens What? Performances When? c. 500 B.C. Where? GreeceWho? Wealthy citizens bore the cost of production as a means of paying income tax. Audiences watched from sunrise to sunset, brought lunch and entire families. Everyone was expected to attend because drama was such a religious spectacle. (Actors were only men. For hundreds of years, men performed only for men. Women were only allowed to attend after 4 B.C. and were never allowed to perform)What? Performances lasted 7 days. Plays and chants.When? Several times a year, especially at religious holidaysWhere? Several theatres around Greece. The Theatre of Dionysus was just below the Acropolis in Athens.
13 One of these celebrations paid tribute to Dionysus, Why ? ? ? ? To worship the godsGreeks worshipped their gods by performing on religious holidaysOne of these celebrations paid tribute to Dionysus,God of Fertility,Wine and RebirthOther gods include Apollo, Athena, etc. (pagan, worshipped several gods)The competition was held once or twice a year, on religious holidaysFestival of Dionysus held in spring for 3-6 daysStatue of Dion. Was placed at the front of the stage so “he could enjoy”Centuries later, actors were considered heathens, on the same level as prostitutes, etc. because acting was associated with pagan worshiphomepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/
14 The Festival of Dionysus The Festival was held in Athens, Greece each SpringEach year three playwrights were chosen to present3 tragedies and1 satyr play (comedy)in the festival competitionSatyr play provided comic relief and rounded out the festival with mirth. The satyr play is so called because of its chorus which consists of satyrs, grotesque woodland spirits having human form with a horse's ears and tail. Only one satyr play survives, the Cyclops of Euripides, which parodies the story of Odysseus and Polyphemus in the Odyssey.Playwrights submitted scripts to jury of 10 citizens—those judged most worthy were performed—1 playwright/day~our Oscars or Tony Awards, but the award was a little different—the winning playwright was given a goat which was then sacrificed. Later, gold was given as a prizeQuestion: Do we worship in the same way? Yes, Easter, Christmas programs often incorporate dramatic performances. Some churches even incorporate dance, flags, skits as regular Sunday worship. Lots of church groups have drama troupes.vienne/en/theatre3.htm
15 The Language of Theatre comes from the Greek word(s)…meaning…The word…dran“to do, to act”DramaTragedytragosseido“goat”“song”Dran—not pronounced “drahn”Seido—pronounced “saydo”(When tragos seido appears, ask students if they remember those words from earlier in the presentation. Do they remember what they meant?)Goat was sacred to Dionysus, so a group of chanters (chorus) danced around an altar in goat skins and goat tails, while they sacrificed a goat—they were “goat singers” whose chant was the tragos seido or goat song, a sort of dance-rhythm poemThe Greek influence can also be seen when we look at the ancient Greek stagesComedykomosseido“revel”“song”
16 The Greek Stage was in an Open Amphitheatre or Hillside Full costumeNo curtainNo lighting effectsNo microphonesAs many as 15,000 people in audience(Photo: Theatre of Dionysus)Originally, seats and stage were in wood, but through the years, the theatres were “remodeled” in stoneWhy so many people? Only form of entertainment=storytelling,theatre, chariot racing, gladiator fights ) no Internet, no TV, no books for most bc no printing press and many people =illiterateWhat would be the difficulty for such a large audience? Seeing and hearing
17 Say what?? Who’s that?? To help the audience see and hear… Only 2 or 3 actors were on stage at a timeStages were designed to provide the best acousticsActors wore masksSmall # of actors on stage so won’t confuse aud. trying to see far away
18 These masks helped audiences see a character’s… ∞Gender ∞ Age ∞ Emotion∞Personality ∞Social statusSome historians argue that the masks were also designed to act as megaphones to help carry voices of the actorsLook at the two masks in the top right hand corner. What can you tell about their gender, age, emotion, personality, social status?Some masks were built with one face on front (maybe happy) and one on back (maybe scared) to allow more versatility in actorsMasks worn as helmet/hat (covered entire head)First made of lead, then linendramadir.html
20 The Greek StageSkene—long, low building that served both asdressing room and conventional backdrop for actionProskenion—raised platform in front of skeneOrchestra—main circular acting areaThymele— platform on which an altar was placed, usually at the center of the orchestraParadoi—sideentrances orramps ontothe orchestraSkene—(pronounced “skeenee”) a changing house built behind the orchestra to make changing masks or costumes easierLater had scenery painted on the side facing the audienceThis is the basis for our word SCENEScenery was always stylized. This meant that is was NOT realistic. A lightning bolt might represent a storm, A sun might represent a pleasant day, etcOrchestra - Literally "the dancing place", circular or nearly circular space of the Greek theater situated in front of the stage, in which the chorus went through its evolutionsHad altar for Dionysus in centerTHEATRON - The curved seating or viewing area of a theater, also referred to as the auditorium or the CAVEA –Theatron means literally “to see” or “to hear”—the seeing placeParadoi—side entrances or ramps onto orchestra, used by chorus (similar to our word Parade)Thymele –A place for sacrifice, an “altar," the platform at the center or at some point along the periphery of the orchestra.Theatron—semicircular seating area surrounding threesides of stage
21 Epidaurus: The best-preserved Greek theatre The acoustics are so perfect that even a person sitting in the worst seat can hear a coin drop in the center of the performance area.Extremely well-preserved outdoor stone theatre, home to a famous sanctuary of the god of medicine, AsclepiusAudiences are transported back to life in ancient Greece with revivalInfluential on modern theater designSemi-circular theater is built into a hillside and can seat up to 15,000 spectators for performances of dramatic plays (Originally seated 6,210, until the expansion of 21 rows)On Friday and Saturday evenings in the summer, the theater fills with modern audiences who come to see performances of classic ancient Greek dramas.Hist-Greece/location.htm
22 Greek stage conventions and devices Divinities were sometimes characters in plays.Mechane—simple crane used to swing characters from a trap door in the roof of the skene down onto the proskenion or orchestra. The earliest known use of the mechane was in the year 431.Deaths were not permitted on stage.Eccyclema—literally, “a wheeled out thing” used to roll out the effects of violencePeriaktoi—(pronounced “pariahktoy”)Thespis—was originally part of the chorus, but he stepped out and spoke to the chorus, becoming the first “actor” in 534 B.C. From his name, we get the word “Thespian”Eccyclema aerial view and side viewPeriaktoi—3-sided sets that revolved to change scenesStages had no wing space or fly space to store scenery.
23 “Travel through time” to the beginnings of theatre Choose one of the following activities:Construct a mask similar to the ones used in the ancient Greek theatre and present it to the class. Explain to the class the character’s personality, social position and age as symbolized in the mask. For simple one-dimensional masks, use posterboard and decorate with magic markers, yarn, etc. For three-dimensional masks, decorate a blank mask, or brown paper bag for two-sided masks.Prepare a poster (22”x24”) which illustrates the major features of Egyptian or Greek theatre and present it to the class. Include at least seven accurate facts and three graphics.
24 Amy Pugh Patel Created by S.R. Butler High School Huntsville, AL 6/18/03