Throughout the different eras of theatre, the Greek, Roman, Medieval, Commedia, and Shakespearean performers all contributed to the culture of the societies of they were in. However, the level of “social responsibility” that was prevalent in these eras was dependent on whether or not government promoted theatre as a means of enlightening the general public. As a result, the manner in which theatre was presented contributed to the evolution of the particular society either positively or negatively. During the era of Greek theatre, which lasted from 550 B.C. to 220 B.C., government, art, education, science, and medicine were all viewed as equally important. Akropolis, which was the center of government and thought, espoused the ideals of empowerment and making one’s self and society better. Plays that were performed made people ask questions in order to push society forward, and the government created theatre in this era so that it can be critiqued. The Festival of Dionysus, which was a weeks-long festival, featured various artists from different fields showcasing their talents, including theatre performances that ran all day. At the same time, love-making and drinking was encouraged (Dionysus is the god of wine and fertility) as a means of opening up one’s state of mind. At the performances of these plays, actors wore masks, which indicated the type of character they were, and the masks had attachments so that people could hear what they were saying, but there was also a
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All the performers who would come up on stage were male professional actors, singers, and dancers and some people would help them to represent a vast variety of human and non-human characters by wonderful costumes and highly decorated face masks. The main actors and two other actors performed in all of the speaking parts. Sometimes, a fourth actor could be allowed to perform only if this actor was non-instrumental to the plot. These restrictions were to ensure the equality of the competition and to keep down the costs to the state, which funded the professional actors. The Chorus, costumes, musicians, and rehearsal time were funded by an appointed private citizen, a khorēgos, who was carrying great prestige.
Theater in ancient Greece was considered the climax of the days long cultural festival of The City Dionysia. At the festival, various types of plays were shown but one of the most popular was tragedy. These tragedies show the main character, usually a god or person of myth, going through human suffering and the terrible sequence of events that followed; and were produced in 472- 401 BCE. In order for a play to be performed at The City Dionysia festival; tragic playwrights would first have to appeal to the state official that was organizing the festival by submitting ideas to him and his committee. The ideas submitted were outlines of main themes and points of interest to be performed in the play. If a playwright was selected by the state official and his committee, then they received a financial backer and a chance to compete in the drama competition of the festival. The state official, or his committee, was likely pushing their own agenda and choose playwrights that matched their ideals. This is just one example of how theater in ancient Greece was used to influence the morality of Greek culture by using the stories of tragedies, like those of Euripides.
Theatre became important to Greek cultures when it became a part of the festival honoring the god Dionysus (The god of wine and fertility).”( Greek Mythology in Theater by Bruce Tucker October 27, 2016) The theater festival was founded to bring unity among the Attican tribes.( Greek Mythology in Theater by Bruce Tucker October 27, 2016) Athens was the main center of these traditions. Everyone came to sing and dance in hope for a good harvest. At one point, a Greek named Thespis began to sing praises to the god, with others responding, which led to the actor and chorus. During the festival everyone would dance and sing in a circle, in the middle of which was the altar to Dionysus. Over time the festivals started giving thanks to other themes, and eventually had nothing to do with Dionysus or any god, but began to turn into classical Greek plays. (First Ancient History, Oxford University Press 2000 pg.166)
Above all, I wouldn’t be where I am today without theatre. Without the chance to perform throughout my life, I would be disconnected from the wide array of communities and histories that’s been imbedded in my daily routine. Unfortunately, it’s speculated that the theatre is a dying art form, because of the expanding popularities of movies (“Is”), but I think that it’ll remain a well renowned part of expressing imagination and interpreting history as years pass; it only takes cooperation with school faculty and young students that go above and beyond to change their
Theatre flourished in Greece, particularly in Athens, between c. 550 BC and c. 220 BC. During its beginnings theatrical performances were part of Dionysia, a festival held in honour of the god Dionysus. The plot of the plays was always inspired by Greek mythology, a theme that is still common today. Many modern plays and movies have been directly based on or incorporated elements of Greek mythology or simply mythology in general. Every play had a chorus, though the size and importance of it varied. The
Greek drama originally started out as a ritual to honor the god of wine, Dionysus, by the cult of Dionysus. In the ritual, drunk men dressed up in goat-skin would sing and have dialogue in chorus to welcome the leader, the person acting as Dionysus (Sayre 151). In these revel-filled festivals, men dressed as satyrs, companions of Dionysus who are half-man and half-goat, while the women dressed up as maenads, the immortal followers of Dionysus. As the participants become drunk and filled with ecstasy, they “transform” into a different identity from before. Later on this behavior became the satyr play, a form of Greek drama. Tragedy is said to be originated from the Dionysian rites, where the name comes from tragoidos, which means the “goat song” from the satyrs – companions of Dionysus who are half-man and half-goat. This could be in reference to the fact that Dionysus was also the
“Theatre makes us think about power and the way our society works and it does this with a clear purpose, to make a change.”
In the words of Gay McAuley, “for an activity to be regarded as a performance, it must involve the live presence of the performers and those witnessing it…” (McAuley, 2009, cited in Schechner, 2013, pp.38). This statement recognises the importance of both the actor and the audience for something to truly function as a performance. In addition, Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones highlights the significance of the theatrical space and how it can influence an audience stating that “on entering a theatre of any kind, a spectator walks into a specific space, one that is designed to produce a certain reaction or series of responses” (Llewellyn-Jones, 2002, pp.3). The relationship between actor, audience and theatrical space is no less important today than it was at the time of theatre during the Spanish Golden Age and the creation of Commedia dell’arte in Italy. Despite being very close geographically with theatre thriving for both in the same era, sources that explore the social, cultural and historical context of these countries and the theatre styles will bring to light the similarities and differences. This essay will analyse the staging, the behaviour of the audience as well as the challenges the actors faced, and how this directly influenced the relationship between actor, audience and theatrical space.
The theatre that you are most familiar with today generally comes via the movie version of an originally staged play. But if we go back further, we find that most of the theatre that is written and performed today can be traced back to Greek origins through various
Ancient Greek Theater is the first historical record of “drama,” which is the Greek term meaning “to do” or “to act.” Beginning in the 5th century BC, Greek Theater developed into an art that is still used today. During the golden age of the Athenians plays were created, plays that are considered among the greatest works of world drama. Today there are thousands of well-known plays and films based on the re-make of ancient drama.
Though both genres of theatre are closely tied to religion, Greek theatre and medieval drama have different religious motivations that impact the ways in which the theatrical event is utilized. In Greece, theatre was used to entertain or please the Gods, more specifically the God Dionysus, during the most important of the four Athenian festivals: the Great Dionysia. The first known Greek playwrights, such as Thespis and Euripides, were chosen to compete in the festival and submit three tragedies and one satyr play to be performed in front of approximately 15,000 spectators. In classical Greece, theatre was the center of citizenship and society; religious ideologies towards Dionysus were not only realized by performances, but strongly encouraged by the state. For example, if a citizen could not afford to attend the
Drama changed literature and theater into what it is today. I. History of Elizabethan Theater a. forming of theater 1. medieval church 2. mystery and morality b. actors 1. rogues and thieves 2. acting guilds II. Influences and people a. commanding actors 1. Shakespeare 2. Burbage b. other 1. wars of the roses (other historical influences) 2. laws restricting theater III. The theaters a. prices 1. seating 2. stage b. the theater and the globe 1. locations and characteristics 2. Burbage and other accomplishment Elizabethan Drama During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, England underwent a dramatic change in priorities. The importance of art and literature became highly prevalent. The impact of the Elizabethan drama and
The history of theatre in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries is one of the increasing commercialization of the art, accompanied by technological innovations, the introduction of serious critical review, expansion of the subject matters portrayed to include ordinary people, and an emphasis on more natural forms of acting. Theatre, which had been dominated by the church for centuries, and then by the tastes of monarchs for more than 200 years, became accessible to merchants, industrialists, and the less privileged and then the masses.