The birth of Theatre Storytelling, Egypt, the Bible and the Greek stage
Ancient Storytelling The 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 Thompson www.youhelpindia.org/ ucandoit/story.html This oral tradition was a form of entertainment and education.
The earliest record of a theatrical performance was in Egypt over 4000 years ago. www.dearauntnettie.com/gallery/ museum-zerotolerance.htm www.dearauntnettie.com/gallery/ museum-zerotolerance.htm In time, people probably began acting out stories of hunts or religious events. In time, people probably began acting out stories of hunts or religious events.
All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. were 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. Pyramid plays
All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. was performed at the crowning of a new pharaoh. Pyramid plays The Coronation Festival Play
also known as the Coronation Jubilee play, enacted events of the pharaohs reign during his thirtieth year on the throne. All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. Pyramid plays The Coronation Festival Play The Heb Sed
told the story of magical healing from the goddess Isis. The Medicinal Play All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. Pyramid plays The Heb Sed Pyramid plays The Coronation Festival Play
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. tells 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 Abydos Passion Play All five types of Egyptian plays are serious, and all were performed in special tombs or in temples. Pyramid plays The Heb Sed Pyramid plays The Coronation Festival Play The Medicinal Play
What common thread runs through all five types of Egyptian plays? Pyramid playsThe Heb SedPyramid plays The Coronation Festival Play Pyramid playsThe Heb Sed The Abydos Passion Play Pyramid plays The Coronation Festival Play The Medicinal Play Egyptian plays reflect their concern with life after death and their worship of pharaohs and the gods.
Ancient Hebrew writings in the Old Testament mention dance and ritual and read much like drama… …but there is no evidence that these writings were performed. The Song of Solomon contains poetic dialogue spoken by a bride and groom. The Book of Job is almost like a five-act drama with a prologue and epilogue. www.galart.com/michel-levy/ cantique_det1_en.htm www.math.toronto.edu/~drorbn/ Codes/Nations/main_gir.html
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. These ceremonies evolved into dramatic contests with written plays. www.clevelandart.org/exhibcef/ mg/html/6269124.html The members of the chorus were called the goat singers and their ritualistic chant was called the tragos or goat song.
Who? Average citizens What? Performances When? c. 500 B.C. Where? Greece
Why ? ? ? ? To worship the gods Greeks worshipped their gods by performing on religious holidays One of these celebrations paid tribute to Dionysus, God of Fertility, Wine and Rebirth homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/
The Festival of Dionysus Each year three playwrights were chosen to present 3 tragedies and 1 satyr play (comedy) in the festival competition The Festival was held in Athens, Greece each Spring www.culture.fr/culture/arcnat/ vienne/en/theatre3.htm www.culture.fr/culture/arcnat/ vienne/en/theatre3.htm
Drama Tragedy Comedy The Language of Theatre The word… comes from the Greek word(s)… meaning… dranto do, to act tragos seido goat song komos seido revel song
The Greek Stage was in an Open Amphitheatre or Hillside Full costume Full costume No curtain No curtain No lighting effects No lighting effects No microphones No microphones As many as 15,000 people in audience As many as 15,000 people in audience
Say what?? Whos that?? To help the audience see and hear… Only 2 or 3 actors were on stage at a time Stages were designed to provide the best acoustics Actors wore masks
Masks Gender Age Emotion Personality Social status Some historians argue that the masks were also designed to act as megaphones to help carry voices of the actors These masks helped audiences see a characters… www.temple.edu/classics/ dramadir.html www.arlymasks.com/photo.htm
Skenelong, low building that served both as dressing room and conventional backdrop for action Theatronsemicircular seating area surrounding three sides of stage Paradoiside entrances or ramps onto the orchestra Thymele platform on which an altar was placed, usually at the center of the orchestra Proskenionraised platform in front of skene Orchestramain circular acting area
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. www.summer.ucla.edu/travel/ Hist-Greece/location.htm On Friday and Saturday evenings in the summer, the theater fills with modern audiences who come to see performances of classic ancient Greek dramas.
Mechanesimple 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. Eccyclemaliterally, a wheeled out thing used to roll out the effects of violence Eccyclema aerial view and side view Deaths were not permitted on stage. Periaktoi3-sided sets that revolved to change scenes Stages had no wing space or fly space to store scenery. Greek stage conventions and devices Divinities were sometimes characters in plays.
Travel through time to the beginnings of theatre Construct a mask similar to the ones used in the ancient Greek theatre and present it to the class. Explain to the class the characters 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 (22x24) 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. Choose one of the following activities:
Created by Amy Pugh Patel S.R. Butler High School Huntsville, AL 6/18/03