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The Greeks

Chapter Four, The Essential Theatre

Melissa Vaughan-Kleppel

on 15 August 2017

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Transcript of The Greeks

The Greeks
Greek Theatre describes specifically the theatre of

in the

This is the time of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Erupidies.
The Greek theatre has its origins in religion.Particularly in the worship of Dionysus, the god of wine, fertility, sexuality, and later the patron god of theatre.
Drama of this time consisted of two dissimilar forms:


(a four play sequence)
Three Tragedies
Satyr Song

The Actor
The end of the
fond a sharp distinction between the performer and the audience.
The Actor began in the
often considered the first actor who moved fro the chorus to become theatre's first solo speaker.
There roles for actors were restricted to 3 for each author
A second actor stepped from the chours creating
A third actor allowed a character to overhear and join the
Greek Actors were
always male.
Greek Costumes
Masks were made of stiffened line and leather. They were painted and covered with animal and human hair to make wigs called
. Masks played a huge part in the worship of Dionysus so had a sacred significance, but they also played bigger than life in the giant open air theatres of ancient Greece.
"Seeing Place"
Where the audience
A wooden
changing house
located behind
the orchestra,
also providing
an entrance
to the orchestra.
The pathways
on either side of the orchestra.
the "dancing place"
This was the
performance place.
The Greek Plays
There were thousands of Greek tragedies, comedies,and satyr plays written. We know the names of hundreds of these, but only 43 complete play scripts remains
The surviving plays comprise 31 tragedies, 11 comedies, and 1 satyr play.
The most authors that were most celebrated were Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and the comic author Aristophanes, all of the 5th C. BC
The Greek Theatre
= Alter
"The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche postulated that tragedy was born in Greece as a synthesis
of Dionysian ecstasy (chaos, passion, emotion) and Apollonian rationality (order, art, discipline; the attributes of the Greek god Apollo"
The Performers

Extras that did not have any lines
The Greek Chorus
Composed of 15 men
Formed a collective character who expressed opinions, gave advice, and threatened to interfere
Served as the ideal spectator
Helped to establish mood and heighten dramatic effects
Added color, movement and spectacle.
The musicians of Greek theatre proceeded the chorus for entrance and remained onstage for the entire performance as did the chorus
Facilitated the rapid change of roles

Made it easier for men to play women's roles

Helped actors to assume other roles

It assisted communication in the large theatres by capturing and emphasizing essential qualities of each character
The Conventions of Greek theatre suggest that performance in Greek theatre was highly formalized.
A group of performers formed a chorus
One actor often played several roles in a single play
Men played both men and women
Performers wore masks
Characters sand, chanted, and danced much of the text
The scale of theatre prevented small details from being seen
Greek Comedies

Concerned with issues of society or politics, questions of war and peace, or with persons or practices disliked by the author.

Comedy used a chorus of 24 members, and were often depicted as non-human.

The male characters wore short chitons to emphasis the phallus that was often a part of the costume.

Old Comedy vs.
New Comedy
No chorus


Intrigues of everyday life

Favored by
the Romans


5th C. BCE, considered superior

Happy Idea
Typical Features of Old Comedy

introducion the "Happy Idea"
(far-fetched premise)

The entry of the chorus

A debate over the merits of the "Happy Idea"

A passage where the chorus addresses the audience

A s
eries of episodes
that show the "Happy Idea" in practice

An exit to feasting and revelry
Full transcript