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Greek Theatre Context

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Brogan Main

on 25 September 2012

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Transcript of Greek Theatre Context

From 800 onwards... Ancient Greece By 600 BC, Greece was divided into city states, the most prominent being the City of Athens. It was here that the Rites of Dionysus evolved into what we know today as theatre. The Golden Age of Greek Theatre... Masks Greek Theatre Context 800 Thespis... According to most ancient greek sources, Thespis of Icaria, was the first person to ever appear on stage as an actor playing a character in a play. Thespis was said to have introduced a new style in which an actor performed the words of individual characters in the stories, distinguishing between each one with masks. This new style was known as tragedy. 534 On November 23, 534 BC, the first drama competition to find the best tragedy was held in Dionysia. This was won by Thespis. Greek Theatres... 340 The theatre of Epidaurus was roughly built around 300-340 BC. The raked auditorium design of theatres is an exclusive greek contribution to architectural history. Epidaurus is the best example of a classical greek theatre. Circular stage known as orchestra (because this is the place where the chorus sing and dance An altar in the centre of the orchestra to reflect the religious aspects. Rising tiers of seats separated by aisles. The Chorus... The chorus are a large group of people in classical greek plays who comment on the action and help to tell the story to the audience. It ranged from between 12 to 50 members depending on what type of play they were performing in. Can represent the general population of the particular story they are telling. Also, the chorus could express to the audience what the main characters could not say such as hidden fears or secrets. 600 The Golden Age of Greek Theatre How were plays performed? All plays were performed in the daytime, as part of a competition and the whole city would go on holiday from their work during the play season. These plays could make or break you so a lot rode on them. People would bribe the judges with large amounts of money so that their play would win. A politician, known as the choragus, would pay for the entire play. This allowed him to gain support if the play was good and therefore get him closer to being a bigger influence in the town. If their play won they would be showered with glory as if they were the one who performed in it and they would be seen as a more likeable politician. Actors would wear little or no make up.. instead they would wear masks. As Greek Theatres were built on such a large scale, facial expression would have been lost beyond the first few rows.
Because of this, masks were largely used in ancient greek theatre. Masks were built in very large scales with exaggerated expression to help them to be seen from a long way off and help the actors to further their performance. Also, again because of the large scale of the theatre, it was hard for the actors to project their voices and so the front of the masks were usually funnelled to help them to do this. Principal traits of the character could be expressed in the mask. A simple convention arose where certain types of character had certain types of mask Costume varied depending on whether it was a tragedy or a comedy. Costume... ... ... The common costume in greek comedy was a padded all-in-one suit, which enabled actors to use slapstick to it's full extent with very physical interpretations. They would also have a leather phallus attached to the crotch of the actor in a lot of comedies, which added to the visual humour.
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