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Roman and Medieval Theater

ADA4M
by

Danielle Pejemsky

on 8 January 2013

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Transcript of Roman and Medieval Theater

Roman Theater Social Aspects Technical Aspects Costumes, Masks, and Makeup Colosseum Theater Structure Influences on Modern Drama Funding Theatre Drama
Forms Popular Roman playwrights Conventions Livius Andronicus
Gnaeus Navius
Plautus
Terence
Seneca Ludi lump sum given to magistrate
adds money, gives to actor-director
actor-director pays for everything
plays bought outright from playwright
admission free
rewards for good plays, punishment for bad ones five-act law for tragedies
heavily influenced Shakespeare Conventions Social Aspects Technical Aspects Medieval Theater not very popular
actors were slaves
women only in mime
audience inattentive Gladiators Circus duels to the death
slaves, prisoners of war, condemned prisoners
trained at schools
naumachia chariot races
2-4 horses
frequent crashes
tightrope walkers, acrobats, trick-riders during long breaks Costumes Masks Makeup Mirrored traditional Greek Clothing
Standard design included a chiton and a himation Coloured to denote character, sex, and rank: Purple costume = rich man
Boys = striped chitons
Soldiers = short himation
Red costumes = poor man
Yellow chiton = character was a woman
Short chiton = slave
Yellow tassel = character was a God Costumes depicted character because the audience would not always stay quiet
Greek and Roman costumes were very similar Makeup was unnecessary due to masks Wigs Wigs were also used to depict character:
Gray = old
Black = young
Red = slave Holes for mouth and eyes
Cheek supports

Portrayed exaggerated expressions
Tragic mask = mournful/pained expression
Comic mask = smiling/leering

Colour coded depending on characters' sex
Brown = male
White = female Entertainers Fairs and Feasts Actors Funding jongleurs
assistant to troubadour
juggling, acrobatics, singing, fire eating, and more
barely made enough money to scrape by
minstrels
sang and played instruments for nobles
troubadours
sang and played instruments for common people
spread news of the realm Leisure Activities peasants worked everyday except Sundays and holidays
peasants enjoyed dancing and games (football, field hockey, wrestling)
upper class enjoyed jousting and feasts fairs
large, international
merchants hired entertainers
often included tournaments
Feast of Fools
normal social conventions reversed for a week
originally festival for lower clergy
elected King of Fools
declared blasphemous at first priests and monks
later ordinary people
paid about 1-4 shillings (160-640$)
actors given scrap of paper to memorize lines funded by church at first
later funded by guilds, each guild paid for their pageant wagon Structure Covers over 6 acres
Capacity of 50,000 to 80,000 spectators
Outside made of travertine
Interior made of tufa and brick
Four floors:
top three had high, arched entrances designed with Ionic, Doric, and Corinthian columns Had an important role in Roman theater


Made from cheap materials

Allowed actors to play different parts Design and Details Fourth floor called the Hypogeum
Subterranean network of tunnels and animal pens
80 vertical shafts for instant access to the arena
36 trap doors for special effects Emporer sat in the imperial box located on the podium
made of marble blocks
richly ornamented
seat of honour
Various entrances and exits from the arena
Porta Sanavivaria (gate of life)
where those who have been defeated yet spared would exit
Porta Libitina (gate of death)
where those who had been killed were dragged
Porta Triumphalis
where victors would exit Circuses and Temporary Theaters Temporary Theaters Constructed of wood
Torn down after use
Due to a moratorium on permanent theater structures
lasted until 55BC
theater of Pompey was built Circuses First circus was Circus Maximus
Tiers of seats built around a U-shaped arena
Chariot races were held in circuses
Open end of the U was the starting gates Technology Cooling system
air blowing over streams of water
Curtain lowered into the stage to reveal a scene
Stage was 5 feet high to hold actors and props
Props and actors would enter through various trap doors
Props were easily moveable objects
Stages were extremely long and narrow Lighting issue was solved by open-roofed theaters
Theaters were built in a place were they would be well lit by natural light Physical Theater Structure Architecture, structure, design, and buildings were influenced by Greek theater
Building was semicircular
enhanced natural acoustics of the theater
Stage was built on level ground with stadium style seating
audience was raised
Held up to 15,000
Seating was called "Cavea"
constructed on a slope to mimic Greek theaters
wedge shaped sections
Divided into three galleries:
Senators (orchestra)
Knights (equestria)
Commons (popularia)
Galleries separated by corridors known as the vomitorium
Awning to protect from weather
Backing as high as the rest of the structure
Made of Roman Concrete Roman Theater Rome Was Huge!!!!!!! Rome was military focused plays were not introduced into Rome until 513 years into their existence. Lucius Livius Andronicus (280/260-200 B.C) First introduced plays to Rome
Earliest known roman poet
Translated Greek plays into Latin for educational purposes
He has the first to separate the roles of the players on the stage; singers sang and actors used dialogue. The titles of his known tragedies are Achilles, Aegisthus, Aiax Mastigophorus, Andromeda, Antiopa, Danae, Equus Troianus, Hermiona, and Tereus.Two titles of his comedies are certain, Gladiolus and Ludius. Gnaeus Naevius (270-201 B.C) He was the first Roman playwright
Wrote the first Latin epic to be known
Fought in the first Punic War. Plays translated/ written(based on greek stories) by Gnaeus Naevius
Acontizomenos (a comedy)
Aesiona (a tragedy)
Agitatoria (a comedy)
Agrypnuntes ("Sleepless People," a comedy)
Appella (a comedy)
Astiologa (a comedy)
Clastidium ("The Fortress," a fabula praetexta)
Colax ("The Flatterer," a comedy)
Corollaria ("The Garlands," a comedy)
Danae ("Danae," a tragedy)
Dementes ("Crazy People," a comedy)
Dolus ("The Trick," a comedy)
Figulus ("The Potter," a comedy)
Glaucoma ("The Cataract," a comedy)
Hariolus ("The Fortune-Teller," comedy)
Hector Proficiscens ("Hector Setting Forth," tragedy)
Leo ("The Lion," a comedy)
Lycurgus (a tragedy)
Nautae ("Sailors", a comedy)
Paelex ("The Concubine," or "Mistress", comedy)
Personata ("Lady Wearing a Mask," comedy)
Projectus (a comedy)
Quadrigemini ("The Quadruplets," a comedy)
Romulus, or Alimonium Romuli et Remi ("The Nourishing of Romulus and Remus", a fabula praetexta)
Stalagmus (a comedy)
Stigmatias ("The Tattooed Man," a comedy)
Tarentilla (a comedy)
Triphallus ("The Man With Three Penises," a comedy) Titus Maccius Plautus [Plautus (254–184 B.C.)] He is best known for comedies,
about 20 complete plays have been found by him. Complete Plays by Titus Maccius Plautus
Amphitryon
Asinaria
Aulularia
Bacchides
Captivi
Casina
Cistellaria
Curculio
Epidicus
Menaechmi
Mercator
Miles Gloriosus
Mostellaria
Persa
Poenulus
Pseudolus
Rudens
Stichus
Trinummus
Truculentus Publius Terentius Afer {Terence (195/185–159 BC)}
He was a slave but then educated by his owner.

All 6 of his comedies survived all of which were influenced by the Greeks. His six plays

Andria (The Girl from Andros) (166 BC)
Hecyra (The Mother-in-Law) (165 BC)
Heauton Timorumenos (The Self-Tormentor) (163 BC)
Phormio (161 BC)
Eunuchus (161 BC)
Adelphoe (The Brothers) (160 BC) Lucius Annaeus Seneca (4 BC – AD 65) He is best known for tragedies. His 9 tragedies know are: Hercules Furens (The Madness of Hercules)
Troades (The Trojan Women)
Phoenissae (The Phoenician Women)
Phaedra
Thyestes
Hercules Oetaeus (Hercules on Oeta): there is doubt by some scholars whether this tragedy was written by Seneca.
Agamemnon
Oedipus
Medea Roman plays were pretty much knock-offs of the Greek plays but…
they were translated,
The gods’ names were changed to the roman ones (their gods were also a knock-off of the Greeks,
And the tragedies were made less tragic. Their Drama art forms that were the same as the Greeks were
Tragedy
Comedy
Mime Pantomime “Ancient Roman pantomime presented emotionally fraught mythic episodes through the bodily movement of a mute, solo dancer”

-Douglas Galbi Atellan farce Costumes, Masks, and Makeup Costumes Long, dark robes
Clothing of the church was used as costume
i.e. angel = church robe with wings attached Masks Symbolized good and evil
Good: depicted a "heavenly" being
gold leaf
Evil: depicted a "devil"
grotesque
modeled after birds of prey or monsters Makeup Face paint
Used instead of masks to identify certain characters
Made of white lead paint and arsenic Outdoor Theater The Transition Performed at first within a church
Later moved in front of the church
Most probable cause of the transition was due to the expanding need for plays
With the move outside, individual platform scenes became more built-up Special Effects and Platforms Platforms covered in cotton (glories) held angels
Trap doors were used for appearances/disappearances
Hell was represented by a fire breathing monster (Hellmouth) Pageant Wagons Pageant wagons moved through the streets while the audience stayed in one place (much like a parade float)
There are few reliable description of pageant wagons.
It is assumed that the wagons had extremely small stages and were flimsy [Archdeacon David Rogers, c. 1600]
This would have made performance extremely difficult It was a collection of vulgar farces, containing lots of low or buffoonish comedy and rude jokes; largely improvised.

Seemed to poke fun at lower class citizens. After the 4th century only Mimes were performed. Atellan Character types Macchus (a Pulcinella-type figure) This character is mean, vicious, and crafty and his main mode of defense is to pretend to be too stupid to know what's going on.

Bucco (the fat man)

Manducus (a greedy clown)

Samnio [Ben] (a Harlequin-type figure) A comedic servant, he is an acrobat does not simply walk across stage but would cart wheel. Generally has a love interest for the Colombia character.

Pappus (a doddery old man)

These characters later formed the basis for characters of the Commedia dell'arte. General characters -The adulescens was the hero, who is young, rich, love-struck and none too brave.

-The senex embarrasses his son, his slave, and his wife. He tends to be passionately in love with the same woman as his son, who is much too young for the senex. He never gets the girl and is often dragged off by his irate wife.

-The leno runs the brothel

-The miles gloriosus (soilder) loves himself more than anything else and sees himself as handsome and brave, while in reality he is very stupid, cowardly, and gullible.

-The parasitus or parasite lives only for himself. He is often seen begging meals or being refused them.

-The servi (slaves) take up about half of the cast and often have the most monologues. They are not the toilers typical of a real Roman home. The servus callidus or clever slave is always talkative, but his other traits vary

-The ancilla is a maid or nurse of no particular age. She is a minor character used to move the plot by presenting information or helping to develop another character.

-The matrona (mother), mulier (woman), or uxor (wife) is shrewd. She loves her children, but is temperamental towards her husband.

-The meretrix (prostitute) is either a mercenary or devoted. The first type is older or more experienced and has seen a lot. The second type is truly in love with the adulescens.

-The virgo (young maiden) is the love interest of the adulescens, but does not get much stage time. She is beautiful and virtuous with little personality Conventions At the start of Roman theater, it held the same themes and moral messages of the Greek plays and its purpose was education and the plays had some religious purpose. But when Roman Theater became popular it was presented for entertainment value. The stage conventions of this Theater are:
They would use trap doors in their performances or it’s assumed.
The stages have a village set so performances were set to represent the lives of the people. They wound walk through doors and look through the windows of the set.
Killing on stage, they bring in a convict to slaughter on stage.
There is also some evidence to suggest that sexual acts were performed on stage. But there is no tangible proof.
In later Roman Theater, there would be intermissions in the play. The intermissions consisted of gladiator fights, killing criminals, acrobatics, etc. Techniques The acting techniques are similar to the Greek’s as far as we are aware including the use of masks. But the Romans did not limit the number of actors. The actors were not as versatile as the Greek ones: they did not always have to double characters, which meant that they had designated peoples: singers, dancers and actors. Limitations and modern contributions
-Romans taught us how to be copy cats.
-Roman theater was limited by the government, not only was the government military focused but they also restricted some of the material of the plays.
-Atellan Farce was forbidden to be performed at one point because it was mocking high officials.
-Affected how the Middle Ages viewed theater. Since churches and governments banned plays for a long period of time. After the 4th century only Mimes were performed. Medieval Theater The Western Roman Empire died out the year 476 but not the Eastern portion.

In Europe there was no theater from the 5 century to the 10th .
Roman stage was considered to be the church of the devil. Theater was reborn from the church because of the vast population of illiterate people.
Plays based on religious events to educate people Playwrights and Plays Most medieval playwrights were anonymous but it is assumed that most were written by religious figures of the church. But we are aware of a few playwrights.

Hrotsvitha was a nun in Germany who wrote six plays modeled after the comedies of Terence; with christen content.
Hildegard of Binged was another nun, who was famous for writing a Latin musical drama called Ordo Virtutum in 1155

The Wakefield Master, whose identity is unknown, wrote some mysteries plays in the Wakefield Cycle. His most well known play is “The Second Shepherds’ Play”.
John Bale was an English playwright who wrote a verse play on the life of King John in English.
Adam de la Halle was French. He wrote a musical play, "The Play of Robin and Marion." 1179 Some of the earliest plays we know of from this period are:

Le jeu d’Adam
Resurrection
Everyman liturgical dramas also refered to as religious drama. This type of theater was all based on religion.
-miracle
-mystery
-morality
-trope* Miracle presents a real or fictitious account of the life, miracles, or martyrdom of a saint. Mystery usually representing biblical subjects, developed from plays presented in Latin by churchmen on church premises and depicted such subjects as the Creation, Adam and Eve, the murder of Abel, and the Last Judgment. Morality is a play by which characters personify moral qualities (such as charity or vice) or abstractions (as death or youth) and in which moral lessons are taught The tropes was a verbal (sung or chanted) embellishment, an insertion into the liturgical text of the Mass The theater’s major influence was the church Because of the church controlled the themes and characters the plays.

during the 13th century plays moved out of the church. Plays became longer and more complicated, it became more and more difficult to stage them indoors. There was also the feeling that the action in some of the plays, such as the Slaughter of the Innocents from the Ordo Rachelis, an Epiphany Play, was too violent, too non-Christian, to be presented within the church.

When the dramatic production moved out doors, the plays were presented (spoken, not sung) in the vernacular (the language of the people) by laymen. Although the dramas were still religious, they were no longer a part of worship.

More play types were explored, farce, comedy, and burlesque. Greek plays were also an influence. New plays were written that were heavily influenced by the classical style. This led to the creation of Commedia dell'arte Stage conventions: -Actors would whip themselves on stage

-They separated Hell, Earth, and Heaven by levels

-Audience member would bang pots and kettles together and light fireworks.

-At the beginning of this theater it was the priest reading while acting out the meaning it then evolved to the writing being read by chairboys and priests acting out the story.

-There is a clear progression of the church merely showing a simple act of faith to a full scale show. Modern contributions and limitations Still perform these pieces in modern time, still holds moral messages presently.

The content of their plays were limited by the church

Limited by uneducated audience
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