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GREEK theatre Dr. Neighbours NRHS Theatre Classes

GREEK theatre

Feb 23, 2016




GREEK theatre. Dr. Neighbours NRHS Theatre Classes. The myths. The land. The stage. The Land. Located in Europe in the Aegean Sea. The Land. PURPOSE OF GREEK DRAMA. Dramas presented by the state at annual religious festivals. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


GREEK theatreDr. NeighboursNRHS Theatre ClassesThe land

The mythsThe stage

The LandLocated in Europe in the Aegean Sea

44The Land

PURPOSE OF GREEK DRAMADramas 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.FESTIVALS OF DIONYSUSIn honor of the god of Wine, Fertility, and RevelryEarly worship involved orgies and drunkennessMyths relate to seasonal growing cycles and passions of ManPurpose of worship was inducement of fertility8th-7th Century B.C.--contests of choral dancing held at many festivals ; dithyrambs

DITHYRAMBEcstatic HymnA RELIGIOUS CHANT OR SONG PERFORMED IN RHYTHM AND WITH DANCINGFirst Definite Record of Drama in Greece: 534 B.C.City Dionysia (late March) reorganizedContest for Best Tragedy institutedWinner of first contest is Thespis, who also acted in the performanceActors today are known as Thespians, in honor of the first known Greek actor.

Actors were all male. They wore masks.

Scenes of the drama were always outdoors; indoor actions were reported by messengers.

There was no violence on stage

There was unity in plot -- no subplots or irrelevancies.

The action always took place in one day.

There were no curtains or intermissions.

CHARACTERISTICS OF GREEK DRAMAHYPOKRITEGREEK WORD FOR ACTOR, MEANS WEARER OF MASKSCHORAGUSA wealthy patron, wishing to honor the gods, pays for the cost of a productionPrecursor to the Producer

THE CHORUS IN GREEK DRAMAThe function of the chorus was to :set the mood of the dramainterpret eventsrelieve the tensiongeneralize meaning of the actionconverse with and give advice to the actorsgive background informationemphasize the beauty of poetry and dancingleader acted as spokesman for the group

SUBJECT OF PLAYS 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 main purpose was ethical and religious instruction.STYLE IN PLAYS There are long, wordy speeches (sometimes about current events or contemporary people).

MESSAGE FROM TRAGEDIES Out of great tragedy comes wisdom.

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.Greek Theatre Termsexodus --

Dionysus --

skene --

theatron or orchestra --

parados --

thymele --prologue

episode --

stasimon --


choragas --

proscenium --

choral ode --strophe --


epode --


humartia --

sphinx --

unities --Oedipus rex, Antigone and Greek Theatre Terms, cont.exodus -- final action of the play

Dionysus -- God of drama, wine, revelry

skene -- wooden building with three doors through which actors made their entrances and exits

theatron or orchestra -- dancing place of the chorus

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 propprologue -- opening scene (introduction)

episode -- act or scene

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

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

strophe -- a turning, right to left, by chorus

antistrophe -- a turning, left to right, by chorus

choragas -- leader of the chorus

epode -- the part of a lyric ode following the strophe and antistrophe

hubris -- Greek word for excessive pride or arrogance

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

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

Masks of Greek Theater

The masks were worn for many reason including:1. Visibility2. Acoustic Assistance3. Few Actors, Many Roles4. Characterization

Masks of Greek Theater

Masks of Greek Theater

Modern-day replicasHero-KingComedy (Servant or Herald )Tragedy (Weeping Chorus)THE THEATRE OF THE GREEKSThe Grecian Amphitheatre(Where They Performed)30

The StageThe Stage

Theater at Epidaurus

Theater at Epidaurus

Once, on a Hill Far AwayThe theatre of the Greeks was built on the slope of a hillThis 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 it was soft ground, an excavation was made in the hillside and lined with rows of stone benchesThe steps were often made with marble, as in the theatre of Dionysus at Athens.

35The Circular PitThe circular pit that was formed by the seating was enclosed by a lofty portico and balustraded terraceThis area was assigned to the spectators. 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. 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.

36The AuditoriumThe auditorium was divided, as with contemporary theatres, into several partsBut 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.

37Parts of a Greek TheatreORKESTRA: circular acting space at center, translates as dancing placeTHYMELE: Altar stone at center of orkestraTHEATRON: Spectator seating; seeing placeSKENE: Stage building behind orkestra; where we get the words scene and scenery

The Orchestra (Orkestra)The orchestra was ten or twelve feet below the front row of seats which formed its boundaryA 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 stageFlights 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.

39SKENESTAGE HOUSE: provides scenic background, a place to change costumes, place to exitHad one to three doorsMay have been raised up off ground levelDeveloped a second story in later years

41Parts of a Greek TheatrePARADOS/PARADOI: entry ramps for the chorus between the Teatron and Skene; where we get the word paradePERIAKTOI: Three-sided turnable column used as a scenic device, placed in space between columns of skeneMACHINA: Crane-like device used to suspend celestial figures above the action; deus ex machina means god from the machine

Side View: Orkestra and Teatron

Orkestra with Thymele, Skene


AUDITORIUMThe Hearing PlaceIncludes Orkestra and Teatron

Seating for the Priests

The Head Priests Chair

GREEK PLAYWRIGHTSOnly 5 playwrights and 45 plays surviveAccording to Aristotle, drama developed out of improvisation by the leaders of the dithyrambsEarly 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 DionysiaMajor Greek DramatistsAeschylus524 B.C.AgamemenonSophocles496 B.C.


Euripides480 B.C.MedeaDramatistBornWroteAESCHYLUS: 525-456 B.C.Tragic Playwright, Introduced Second Actor, DeuteragonistEncouraged face-to-face conflict between charactersreduced importance of chorus, size from 50 to @15Wrote Agamemnon and Prometheus Bound

SOPHOCLES: 496-406 B.C.Considered greatest Greek dramatist, wrote tragediesCreated Third ActorMore concerned with human relationships than religious issuesWrote Oedipus Rex (the King) and Antigone

EURIPIDES: 480-406 B.C.Last of great Greek Tragic playwrightsReduced chorus to relatively unimportant roleTreated Gods with lack of aweWrote Medea and The Trojean Women

ARISTOPHANES: 450-385 B.C.Comic Playwright, Old Comedy, discusses happy ideaWrote Lysistrata, an anti-war comedy

ONE LAST WORD ON GREEK TRAGEDIESGeneral pattern developed by AeschylusPROLOGOS: establishes dramatic situationPARODOS: Entrance of Chorus, expositionEPEISODA: main action, equivalent of an ActSTASIMA: Choral interlude, makes comment on the action in the EpeisodaClimax occurs in last Epeisoda, so that last Stasima allows final comment by the chorusEXODOS: Final summation and exit of Chorus

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