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History of Western Drama

Elise Kidder Grace Goduti Parker Simpson Megan Moloney Wyatt Self

Elise Kidder

on 29 October 2012

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Transcript of History of Western Drama

Understanding Drama Ancient Greece Drama Roman Dramas Middle Ages 19th-20th Century Drama The History of Western Drama Elise Kidder, Megan Moloney, Parker Simpson, Grace Goduti, Wyatt Self

C Class There are three main types of drama. Tragedy, Comedy, and Satire.

Tragedy was a public genre from its earliest beginnings at Athens and reached its peak in the 5th Century B.C. It was intended to be presented in a theater before an audience. A tragedy is an extension of ancient rites in honor of Dionysus. In these dramas, the main character suffers from extreme sorrow or is brought to ruins.
Comedy was characterized into three phases- Old Comedy, Middle Comedy, and New Comedy. Each time frame of comedy represented its own unique characteristics.
Satire Drama is extremely similar to comedy, and the two can sometimes be interchanged. The main difference is that satire plays are more like parodies in the essence that they make fun of something. They criticize certain topics provoked in society. Here, in Athens in the 6th Century B.C., drama began. More specifically, it was started with the dithyramb, a choral hymn to the god Dionysus. Thespis, the main singer in the hymn, began to add dialogue as he was on stage. Later, more 'actors' were added, eventually adding up to the acting we know of today. However due to the limited amount of actors allowed onstage, the chorus initiated a huge part in the plays. Plays were performed in theatrons ( theater buildings). These were large open aired buildings built on the slopes of hills. They consisted of an orchestra, a skene ( a backstage), and the audience. The actors were all amateur males. Due to the design of the theater buildings, they rarely had to raise their voices (unless called for), and used hand gestures to portray the meaning of what they were saying. The first stage of Roman drama lasts from the time of Athenian Drama until about 240 B.C. This stage was full of Native Italian Drama which was filled with Fescennine verses ( poetry turned into comic/satire plays). From 240-100 B.C. there was a period of literary drama. During this time the Romans took Greek plays and adapted them to the modern time. The last phase was from 100-476 C.E. It incorporated circuses, big productions, extravagant parties, spectacles and mimes that became the focus of Romans. Western vs. Eastern Drama Western Drama deals with...

Myths (the relationship between the gods and humans)

Change, progress and the essence of reality

Conflict within our lives Eastern Drama deals with...

Myths ( the relationship between humans and gods)

The idea that change and progress are fake- only truth and peace are constants.

Tradition and stasis Works Cited: During the early twentieth century realism became a popular topic within theater. Realism is the movement towards making plays more 'realistic'. It adds in everyday, gestures, speech, and actions. On average there were 200-275 plays per year. During this time playwrights widely known today began to develop their first pieces and shape their careers. 16th-17th Centuries The 16th and 17th Centuries continued to have mystery and morality plays. Short plays, called Interludes, were performed at nobles' houses and were often more comedic. Five-act plays began to surface off of the idea from Latin plays. Tragedies began to develop in England based off of Roman and Greek ones. Blank verse (non-rhyming lines in iambic pentameter) became popular within England. It paved the way for Shakespeare's writings and plays. Middle Age Dramas typically had to do with the church. There were mystery plays about Christ and the Old Testament, miracle plays about the lives of saints, and morality plays that dealt with man’s struggle for salvation. The plays that weren’t religious were not as common, but created some of our favorite characters such as Robin Hood, the Lady Marian, and the Green Dragon. As Medieval drama was on the decline, religious plays were outlawed by Queen Elizabeth in 1545. This forced the theater to come up with new stories to act out in their theaters. Diagram of a Greek Theater Roman Architecture within the Theaters How Medieval plays were performed "413 Roman Theatre, Classical Drama and Theatre." 413 Roman Theatre, Classical Drama and Theatre. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Ancient Greek Theatre." Greek Theatre. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Cambridge Collections Online : Studies in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama since 1900." Cambridge Collections Online : Studies in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama since 1900. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

Englert, Walter. "Parts of a Greek Theater." N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Introduction to Theatre -- Early Twentieth Century." Introduction to Theatre -- Early Twentieth Century. N.p., 17 May 2002. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Introduction to Theatre -- Medieval Theatre." Introduction to Theatre -- Medieval Theatre. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Introduction to Theatre -- Medieval Theatre." Introduction to Theatre -- Medieval Theatre. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

Jokinen, Anniina. "Renaissance English Drama: From Medieval to Renaissance." Renaissance English Drama: From Medieval to Renaissance. N.p., 10 Aug. 2010. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Medieval Drama: An Introduction. Folk Plays, Mystery Plays, Morality Plays, Interludes. [Middle English Drama, Theatre, Stage]." Medieval Drama: An Introduction. Folk Plays, Mystery Plays, Morality Plays, Interludes. [Middle English Drama, Theatre, Stage]. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Nineteenth Century Drama." Nineteenth Century Drama. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Roman Theater: Opiate of The Masses." N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Southeast Regional Winners." National Historic Landmarks Program. National Park Service, 21 Aug. 2005. Web. 24 Oct. 2012. <>. The End 20th Century Theater Aeschylus
John Bale
Adam de la Halle
Christopher Marlow
William Shakespeare
George Chapman
Thomas Heywood
Neil Simon
Tennessee Williams
Tony Kushner
...and the list goes on! List of Famous Playwrights..
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