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Ancient Greek Theaters
Transcript of Ancient Greek Theaters
http://web.eecs.utk.edu/~mclennan/Classes/US210/Greek-play.html Ancient Greek
Theater Different Types THe Misconception The start of Theater Ancient Greek theater is a mixture of myth, legend, philosophy, social commentary, poetry, dance, music, public participation, and visual splendor. It began as a religious ceremony. The Athenian theater focused on the God Dionysus. Dionysus was the God of:
fertility (main duty)
sexuality Many people believe that the ancient Greek theater consisted of white buildings with white scenes and white clothing. This knowledge came about when Victorians found theater ruins without color. These, however, were only colorless because the colors on the ruins had faded over the years. The ancient Greek theater actually consisted of loud music, bright colors, and extensive dancing.
Their plays showed:
violence and daily life
social and ethical plays
betrayal There were two major types of Greek plays.
There was tragedy, which was derived from the word tragos and means goat.
The other one was comedy, which was derived from the word odé and means song. A tragedy received its name from how it was performed. Cult of Dionysian Comedy Setup
Prologue: As in tragedies.
Parode (Entrance Ode): As in tragedies, but the chorus takes up a position either for or against the hero.
Agôn (Contest): Two speakers debate the issue (typically with eight feet per line), and the first speaker loses. Choral songs may occur towards the end.
Parabasis (Coming Forward): After the other characters have left the stage, the chorus members remove their masks and step out of character to address the audience.
First the chorus leader chants in anapests (eight per line) about some important, topical issue, typically ending with a breathless tongue twister.
Next the chorus sings, and there are typically four parts to the choral performance:
Ode: Sung by one half of the chorus and addressed to a god.
Epirrhema (Afterword): A satyric or advisory chant (eight trochees [long-short] per line) on contemporary issues by the leader of that half-chorus.
Antode (Answering Ode): An answering song by the other half of the chorus in the same meter as the ode.
Antepirrhema (Answering Afterword) An answering chant by the leader of the second half-chorus, which leads back to the comedy.
Episode: As in tragedies, but primarily elaborating on the outcome of the agon.
Exode (Exit Song): As in tragedy, but with a mood of celebration and possibly with a riotous revel (cômos), joyous marriage, or both. Tragedy Setup
Prologue: A monologue or dialogue preceding the entry of the chorus, which presents the tragedy's topic.
Parode (Entrance Ode): The entry chant of the chorus, often in an anapestic (short-short-long) marching rhythm (four feet per line). Generally, they remain on stage throughout the remainder of the play. Although they wear masks, their dancing is expressive, as conveyed by the hands, arms and body.
Typically the parode and other choral odes involve the following parts, repeated in order several times:
Strophê (Turn): A stanza in which the chorus moves in one direction (toward the altar).
Antistrophê (Counter-Turn): The following stanza, in which it moves in the opposite direction. The antistrophe is in the same meter as the strophe.
Epode (After-Song): The epode is in a different, but related, meter to the strophe and antistrophe, and is chanted by the chorus standing still. The epode is often omitted, so there may be a series of strophe-antistrophe pairs without intervening epodes.
Episode: There are several episodes (typically 3-5) in which one or two actors interact with the chorus. They are, at least in part, sung or chanted. Speeches and dialogue are typically iambic hexameter: six iambs (short-long) per line, but rhythmic anapests are also common. In lyric passages the meters are treated flexibly. Each episode is terminated by a stasimon:
Stasimon (Stationary Song): A choral ode in which the chorus may comment on or react to the preceding episode.
Exode (Exit Ode): The exit song of the chorus after the last episode. The cult's most controversial practice involved, it is believed, uninhibited dancing and emotional displays that created an altered mental state. This altered state was known as 'ecstasis', from which the word ecstasy is derived. Dionysiac, hysteria and 'catharsis' also derive from Greek words for emotional release or purification. Ecstasy was an important religious concept to the Greeks, who would come to see theater as a way of releasing powerful emotions through its ritual power. Though it met with resistance, the cult spread south through the tribes of Greece over the ensuing six centuries. During this time, the rites of Dionysus became mainstream and more formalized and symbolic. The death of a tragic hero was offered up to god and man rather than the sacrifice of say, a goat. By 600 BC these ceremonies were practised in spring throughout much of Greece. By 600 BC Greece was divided into city-states, separate nations centered in major cities and regions. The most prominent city-state was Athens, where at least 150,000 people lived. It was here that the Rites of Dionysus evolved into what we know today as theater. Since Athens was located in a region called Attica. Greek and Athenian theater are sometimes referred to as Attic Theater. Golden Age for Greek theater BY: Nick Lakatos