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The Origins of Theater Ancient Greeks PowerPoint Presentation
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The Origins of Theater Ancient Greeks

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The Origins of Theater Ancient Greeks

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  1. TheOrigins of Theater Ancient Greeks

  2. What did the Greeks contribute to the modern stage? • The theatrical form of tragedy • Actors • Theatre space • Trilogy • Masks • Raised theatre to a level of art; very highly respected • Terms like “scene,” “proscenium,” “thespian,” and “theatre.” Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  3. Where it started… • Athens: the capital of Greece; named after Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war. • 5th -6th century B.C. • Annual Dionysian festival celebrating spring and Dionysus, the god of wine and fertility. • Derived from prayer to Dionysus, the dithyramb Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  4. The golden age of Greece • Athens had rid the city of dictators and established the world’s first democracy • Rebuilt the city and built the Parthenon, a temple to Athena, on top of the Acropolis Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  5. A day at the Dionysus Festival… • Wild, ecstatic procession bringing the statue of Dionysus into his theater • Trilogy of tragic plays • End of the day, a satyr or comedic play to close the evening • Satyr: a half-man, half-horse • Hero is placed in a ridiculous situation Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  6. Theatre of Dionysus, at the foot of the Acropolis

  7. The Theatre of Dionysus proskenion skene three doors theatron scenery altar chorus orchestra

  8. Parts of the stage • Skene: stage house at edge of orchestra; dressing area for actors to make entrances and exits, hence the word “scene;” has three formal doors • Proskenion: refers to the arch frame around the stage; today we call it the proscenium arch • Orchestra: literally means “dancing place;” circular section on the ground where the chorus performs • Theatron: literally means “viewing place;” where the audience is seated; the Theatre of Dionysus could seat around 17-20 thousand people. Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  9. Theatre at Epidaurus

  10. The players • The Chorus • unique to Greek theater • responded and reacted to the actor • similar to a narrator • 12-50 members • The effort of dancing and singing through three tragedies and a satyr play was likened to that of competing in the Olympic Games • Chanted and danced the dithyramb, the prayer to Dionysus which the drama is derived. • Never entered or exited the through the skene Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  11. Actors • Thespis is considered the first actor, hence the term “thespian.” • The original word for 'actor' was hypokrites, meaning 'answerer,' for the actor answered the chorus. • Thespis was later called protagonistes (literally 'first competitor'). • The introduction of a second actor (deuteragonistes) is attributed to Aeschylus and the third (tritagonistes) to Sophocles. • Ordinarily, each actor would play several different roles in one production. Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  12. Technical and Artistic elements • Music • Dance • Poetry • Masks • Helped to distinguish between characters • Made it easier to show emotion in large theatre space Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  13. Masks… Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  14. Tragedy • Literally means “goat song” • A serious form of theater developed by the Greeks • Involves a hero character who challenges the gods, but in the end is forced to face the consequences. • The Greek hero character is described as honorable and imperfect. • Struggle which usually ends in death Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  15. Three tragedy playwrights: • Aeschylus • Sophocles • Euripides • Well known satyr playwright: Aristophanes Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  16. Aeschylus • Earliest playwright • Focused on big epic dramas; catastrophic events involving the gods, titans, and kings • Reduced the chorus to 12 members • Introduced a second actor, and, therefore, invented dialogue • Trilogy called Oresteia: • Agamemnon • The Libation Bearers • Eumenides Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  17. Sophocles • All characters were essential in his plays • Aeschylus was his teacher • Credited with perfecting the Greek tragedy • Focused on the human struggle • Introduced a third actor • Had a chorus of about 20 members • Trilogy: • Oedipus • Oedipus at Kolonos • Antigone Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  18. Euripides • Wrote about moral and political issues that were reflective of Athens government • Characters are neurotic individuals, bursting into uncontrolled violence at evil around them • Involved Feminist issues and had strong female characters • Trilogy: • Electra • The Trojan Women • Medea Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007

  19. Aristophanes - The father of comedy • Wrote for the two Athenian dramatic festivals: the City Dionysia and the Lenea. • Greek Old Comedy, a mix of political, social, and literary satire in which chorus, mime, and burlesque played a considerable part. Characterized by bold fantasy, realistic characters, merciless invective and outrageous plots. • Surviving Comedies: • The Clouds • The Wasps • The Birds • Lysistrata • The Frogs Webster’s High School Higher Drama 2007