A Historical Overview of the Development of Theatre Technology from Ancient Greece to the Mid-1800s

2421 Words 10 Pages
Throughout the history of the theatre its technology has helped to convey the story, amaze the audience, and to, at times, make the theatrical performance possible. Over the ages we have seen the growth of theatre shown in its technology, namely its staging, costumes, scenery, and lighting. We will trace the development and growth of these technologies from Ancient Greece through the end of the eighteenth-century. The technology of the Ancient Greeks is, in fact, very amazing. One has no options other than to be dumbfounded by what they were capable of . The most striking of these technological achievements is the acoustics of their theatres. These theatres were gigantic, to say the least. Any person in any of the 6000 original …show more content…
(Cleaver 14) There is little knowledge of what the drops were used for, but, according to Cleaver,
Information is available of certain scenic devices, which were not used in the modern pictorial fashion, but rather in a symbolic sense. On each side of the stage there was a three-sided screen on which were painted three different pictures. The screens were made to revolve so that any of the three pictures could face the audience (18).

Another exhibition of Greek ingenuity is prevalent in the Deus ex Machina discussed in Aristotle's Poetics. Deus ex Machina is described by Britannica online as “the timely appearance of a god to unravel and resolve the plot. The deus ex machina was named for the convention of the god’s appearing in the sky, an effect achieved by means of a crane.” Much about this technology's construction is unknown, but it was definitely something awe-inspiring. Trap doors appeared, in Ancient Greek theatre, as a way to bring any being that was thought, at that time, to be subterranean on to the stage (Cleaver 19). Obviously, the Greeks were very innovative in their theatrical technologies, which is why it is not surprising that the budding Roman Empire did not hesitate to steal this from the fading Greek Republic. Early in the era of the Roman Empire, there were very few changes to theatrical technologies. The main changes that occurred during the era were to the theatre itself. The first of these changes was that the stage was
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