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Greek Theater

Greek Theater

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Greek Theater

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  1. Greek Theater

  2. Roots in Worship of Dionysus • God of wine and revelry

  3. Origins Celebration of Dionysus- God of Wine Performed in circular dancing place (orchestra) A chorus of men dressed in goat skins Trageoia= goat song A story about Dionysus by leader of the chorus

  4. PRODUCTION • Orchestra • Chorus (from 12-15 people) • Actors- always men, masked and in costumes • Early plays of Aeschylus- only two actors; by about 450 B.C., a third had been added • The poet composed the music and the dance as well as the text, directed the production, and trained the chorus; some dramatists also played the leading roles.

  5. Masks of Greek Theater

  6. Masks of Greek Theater

  7. Masks of Greek Theater

  8. The Greek Chorus The chorus was dominant because there was usually one actor and that actor had to leave the stage several times during a show to change characters. The chorus was to be a representation of society, they often served as the “ideal spectator” by providing advice, opinions, questions to the audience and actors. The main actor(s) stood apart in the performance space because they typically played heroic figure that would realistically be separated from normal mortal beings. Their costumes and masks added spectacle and their movement and dance heightened the dramatic effect. Great actors were characterized by their voice quality and the ability to adopt their manner of speaking to the character.

  9. Functions of Chorus The beauty of poetry and dancing Relieves tension Interprets events for audience Often converses with the actors; gives advice Gives background of events

  10. Chorus

  11. TragedyA drama of a character, usually one in high position, where a conflict usuallydevelops between the protagonist/heroand a “superior force (such as destiny,circumstance, or society)” and the storyends in some sort of disaster or great fallof the protagonist. Tragedy n A drama of a character, usually one in a high position, where a conflict usually develops between the protagonist/hero and a “superior force (such as destiny, circumstance, or society)” and the story ends in some sort of disaster or great fall of the protagonist.

  12. Hubris and Hamartia • On Hamartia: “A tragic flaw or error that in ancient Greek tragedies leads to the hero’s reversal of fortune.” • On Hubris: Excessive pride or arrogance. • Often leads to the downfall of the major • character in Greek tragedy.

  13. Thespis of Athens Ca. 535 B.C.E. Father of Drama Created the first actor Hypokrites

  14. Moving on… New myths are used, not just Dionysus Aeschylus: introduced second actor Dialogue Sophocles: introduced third actor Dramatic action

  15. GREAT GREEK TRAGEDIANS • AESCHYLUS (ca.525-456 B.C.) • SOPHOCLES (ca.495-406 B.C.) • EURIPIDES (c 480-406 B.C.)

  16. AESCHYLUS (ca.525-456 B.C.) • The "Father of Tragedy" • Addition of a second actor • Made much use of imagery • His tragedy deals Fates and the justice of the gods • His plays reflect the contemporary belief that the gods, jealous and resentful of human greatness, typically inflict great persons with a character flaw that brings their ruin

  17. Sophocles

  18. SOPHOCLES (ca.495-406 B.C.) • Won the competition at the Great Dionysia more often than any other of the great dramatists • He increased the potential for dramatic conflict by adding a third actor • wrote dramas which were complete in themselves, rather than always part of a trilogy • Sophoclean drama deals primarily with strong characters

  19. EURIPIDES (c 480-406 B.C.) • Wrote prolifically- some 90 plays, of which 19 survived • He won the prize for the best play only four times (but then the Academy Awards usually get it wrong too). • He wrote of less heroic, more realistic characters

  20. EURIPIDES Cont. • One device he uses (and it is often seen as a weakness in his plays) is the deus ex machina, a god, not involved earlier in the action, who descends in a stage machine to straighten out the mess humans have got themselves into.

  21. Structure of Tragedy Prologue-First Act Parados- Entrance of the Chorus Episodes- Acts Stasima-Choral Odes Exedus- Action after last stasimon

  22. Typical Greek Theatre Theatron- where the audience sits Open air Hillside Seating capacity of the Theatron of Dionysus of Athens? About 17,000

  23. Dionysus Theater in Athens

  24. Dionysus Theater in Athens

  25. Orchestra-dancing place of the chorus Skene- dressing room for actors Proscenium- the façade of the skene where scenery was- No curtains Dues et Machina- technical device- crane atop the skene with a dummy hung representing gods.

  26. The Greek Outdoor Amphitheatre

  27. Deus ex Machina- “God From the Machine” The Machina- a crane that was used to represent characters who were flying or lifted off of the earth. Tunnel from behind the Skene to the center of the stage. Scenic wagons revealed through doors on the Skene. Pinakes painted panels that could be attached to the skene.

  28. Differences: Drama, Then and Now Greek drama(GD) is a religious GD get its subjects from mythology GD outlines the plot in advance, little suspence GD main intrest is relgioun and ethical instruction All Short plays 17,000 longest to 900 shortest

  29. Rated G No violent action Scenes of horror happen off stage Reported to the audience

  30. Unity Unity of action- no subplots Unity of place-no change of scenery Unity of time- max of one day No intermissions Twice a year in the day

  31. Staging an ancient Greek play • Plays were funded by the polis • Plays presented in competition with other plays • Tragedies almost exclusively dealt with stories from the mythic past • Comedies almost exclusively dealt with contemporary figures and problems. • The great tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides were performed annually at the spring festival of Dionysus, god of wine, and inspiration.

  32. Theater at Epidaurus

  33. Theater at Epidaurus

  34. Dionysus Theater in Athens

  35. Chorus

  36. Aristotle’s Poetics

  37. 1. Central Character is of the Elite Class – Usually noble or Royal

  38. 2. Central Character suffers a Downfall

  39. 3. Central Character is Neither Wholly good nor wholly evil

  40. 4. Downfall is the result of a Fatal Flaw or error (Hamartia)

  41. 5. Misfortunes involve characters who are related or who are friends – closely connected

  42. 6. Tragic actions take place offstage

  43. 7. Central Character has a moment of recognition

  44. 8. Audience experiences pity and fear

  45. Pity and Fear leads to a catharsis • According to Aristotle, this is one of the most important purposes of Drama

  46. Oedipus and Sphinx

  47. Oedipus and Sphinx

  48. Oedipus and Sphinx

  49. Audience at Theater of Delphi