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Roman Theatre

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Kegan Dubar

on 29 November 2012

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Transcript of Roman Theatre

Kegan Dubar, Rese Williams and Raekwon Richardson Roman Theatre Characteristics of Roman Theatre Roman Theatre was very similar to Greek theatre. Costumes and Sets Ancient Roman History In the matter of just a few centuries, Rome grew from a very small village in central Italy to the absolute dominant power of the entire peninsula. Popular Playwrights Actors of Roman Theatre were called histriones. By 345 A.D., there were 175 festivals a year. 101 devoted to theatre. In 55 B.C., the first stone theatre was built in Rome. The few difference were that it placed less focus on religion, was less philosophical, and almost completely focused on comedy plays. The Roman theatre costumes were similar to the Greek theatre costumes. Roman theatre costumes had a standard design which was a long robe, called a Chiton. A himation was usually worn over a chiton, but was made out of heavier drape and played the role of a cloak. Color was really important in Roman theatre. The stage of the Roman theatre had a curtain that could be risen into the stage to reveal a scene.
Trap doors were also common in Roman theatre plays. The stage in the Roman theatre was raised about 5ft. high. The Roman theatre stage measured 20-40 feet deep and 100-300 feet long. The stage was covered with a roof. The stage wall was called the ' Frons Scenae '. In Roman theatre, the female characters were originally played by men. Eventually, women slaves took the roles of women in plays. The audience recognized the characters and their status from the colors that they wore. Roman Masks played an important part in Roman theatre. An actor's entire head was covered by his mask, which included his hair.

The design of the mask was quite simple and they were made of cheap materials such as linen or cork. They had big holes for the mouth and the eyes.

The masks were large and portrayed exaggerated expressions which could be seen from the back of the theatre so the audience could tell how the character was feeling.

The masks also amplified the actor’s voice, making it possible to hear him everywhere in the theatre. The Romans loved live theatre. Plays were only performed during religious ceremonies and religious festivals. However, since the ancient Romans celebrated over 200 holidays a year, there were many opportunities for plays to be staged. Someone had to pay for the play, as actors received a small fee. Usually a wealthy noble would pay the bill, in honor of the gods, and give the play to the people as a gift. The date of the founding as a village or series of tribal territories is uncertain, but the traditional and legendary founding of the city dates to 753 BC. Although this date is heavily laden in myth, it is at least roughly supported through archeological evidence. It was in the 8th century BC that two existing settlements, one on the Palatine Hill, the other on the Quirinal, combined to form a single village, corresponding to the same dates as the legend. Titus Maccius Plautus was a Roman playwright of the Old Latin period. He worked as a stage-carpenter in his early years. It is because of this work, his love of the theater originated. Publius Terentius Afer, better known in English as Terence, was a playwright of the Roman Republic, of North African descent. His comedies were performed for the first time around 170–160 BC. Terentius Lucanus, a Roman senator, brought Terence to Rome as a slave, educated him and later on, impressed by his abilities, freed him. Popular Play Epidicus is an ancient Roman play written by T. Maccius Plautus. It is said to be one of Plautus's favorite works. The main plot was based on a Greek play. The story line was changed in order to prevent a brother from marrying his half-sister. This change was made because Romans considered this incest, which deeply disturbed them. In the play, Epidicus tricks his master, Periphanes, out of a sum of money in order to purchase a female slave, Acropolistis, that the master's son, Stratippocles, has fallen in love with. Epidicus does this by convincing Periphanes that this girl is his daughter from Philippa, whom he hasn't seen in many years, and has been captured in Thebes and brought to Athens. Believing this young woman is his daughter, Periphanes willingly hands over the money. Stratippocles soon goes off to war and falls in love with a different woman while away. To purchase this new woman, Stratippocles borrows forty mince from a banker. When Stratippocles returns home, he vows not to meet with his father until the debt is paid back to the banker. To accomplish this, Stratippocles tells Epidicus to accumulate the money, and if he cannot do so he will be severely punished. To convince Periphanes to give him more money, Epidicus tells his master that his son is about to purchase a singing-girl, Acropolistis, in order to marry her. Epidicus states that he needs to purchase her before his son can so that this can be avoided. Eventually, Periphanes decides to give his slave the money. Once the money is received, Epidicus uses it to pay off the banker. Epidicus then purchases a different singing-girl to act as if she were Acropolistis. A captain who is enamored with Acropolistis comes to Periphanes home in hopes of convincing Epidicus to allow him to gain custody of her. However, when the captain shows up he realizes that the singing-girl is not Acropolistis, but instead a fraud (all the while, the real Acropolistis is presented to Periphanes as his daughter, Telestis). While this is occurring, Philippa shows us at Periphanes home looking for her daughter since she heard she was brought to Athens. Periphanes assures Philippa that their daughter, Telestis, is safe inside. When Telestis is presented to Philippa, she instantly knows it is not her daughter and is a fraud (the real acropolistis). Epidicus is soon confronted about his double deceit and is to be severely punished. However, the woman that Stratippocles purchased while away is brought to Periphanes home with her former master, ready to be given to Stratippocles. When the young slave girl walks in, Philippa recognizes her to be her daughter, Telestis. Overwhelmed and confused, Periphanes finally meets his daughter for the first time. Stratippocles, upset about the loss of his "love" due to her being his half-sister, is "comforted" by Acropolistis (the original girl in which he had Epidicus purchase for him). Epidicus is quickly forgiven of his trickery and is set free because he helped reunite a father and daughter.
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