THEATRE HISTORY Greek Theatre v=aSRLK7SogvE FAMOUNS PLAYWRIGHTS Aeschylus. The Oresteia Trilogy

Sophocles. Oedipus Rex Euripides. Media Aristophanes. Lysistrata w did religious ritual evolve into Greek Theatr

There were four major celebrations, in honor of the Greek god Dionysus. Three of these celebrations the City Dionsyia in the spring and the Lenaia and Rural Dionysia in the winter would involve drama. One of the elements of these celebrations was

the dithyramb, a choral ode song to the gods. Aristotle tells us that Greek tragedy grew out of the dithyramb. What was the relationship between Greek mythology and early Greek drama? Greek mythology is the legends and

stories behind the Greek gods. The earliest Greek dramas, especially those by Aeschylus (525 456 BC), drew their plots and characters from these myths. The first tragic dramas were performed in honor of which Greek god?

Dionysus, the Greek god of wine, fertility and revelry. At which dramatic festival were The City Dionysia. these dramas first performed? Athens.

Where was this festival held? When? In the early spring. What was a dithyramb? The dithyramb was a lengthy hymn or choral ode in honor of Dionysus which was sung by a chorus of fifty men (often dressed as satyrs).

How did it evolve into drama? Aristotle, in the Poetics, tells us that one of the choral leaders, Thespis (6th Century, BC), left the chorus, jumped onto the alter, and assumed the role of the god. Who was the first Greek actor?

Thespis. Who was the first Greek playwrigh Thespis. He won the first Greek tragedy contest in 534 BC. What type of drama did AESCHYLUS, SOPHOCLES, and EURIPIDES write?

Tragedies. Which of these three was the FIRST playwright whose work has survived? Aeschylus (525 456 BC). He won thirteen Tragic Contests. We have seven of the approximately 80 plays he wrote,

including the only complete trilogy: Oresteia (458 BC) Agamemnon, Libation Bearers, and Eumenides. What was Aeschylus major contribution to the art of playwriting? He added the second actor, creating the possibility of dramatic dialogue.

Thespis tragedies utilized only one actor and the chorus. What Sophocles (496 406 BC) most important drama? Oedipus Rex (430 425? BC). Sophocles won eighteen Tragic Contests. Like Aeschylus, only seven

of the more than 120 plays he wrote have survived. How does it rank among world dramatic literature? Oedipus is considered one of the great tragedies. It is ranked with Shakespeares Hamlet and King Lear.

According to Sophocles, who was the Greek king who murdered his father Oedipus. and married his

mother? What was Sophocles major contribution to the art of playwriting? He added the third actor. hy do we have more plays by Euripides than do of both Sophocles and Aeshylus combined

Because the Romans, who eventually overthrew Greeces Macedonian rulers (168 BC), considered Euripides (480 407 BC) a greater playwright, hence taking better care of his manuscripts. He won only five contests, but we have seventeen of his approximately 90 tragedies. About 3.5% of the tragedies written during Greeces Golden

Age (from 534 to 400 BC) have survived. All were written by these playwrights. What is deus ex machina? It is a Latin expression which literally means: God out of the machine. It is a

playwrighting term used to describe a contrived ending. It means that the dramatic problem is not solved by the playwrights characters, that the solution is forced upon them by the playwright.

With which of these playwrights is this term associated? Euripides. What is a trilogy? A trilogy is a set of three short plays tied together by a common plot line, character, or idea. Each tragic playwright, when he entered three competition for performance at the

City Dionysia, would submit four plays, a trilogy (3 tragedies) and a satyr play. Aeschylus, the earliest of the three tragic playwrights, built his trilogies around common plot lines. Euripides, the last of the three, usually built his three plays around a common idea. Only one complete trilogy has survived: Aeschylus Oresteia. The satyr play is generally believed to have been a comic treatment of the serious material covered in the tragedies. Only one satyr play, The

Cyclops by Euripides, has survived. Which structural pattern was used by the three Greek playwrights: Climatic or episodic? Climatic. What was the major difference

between Old and New Greek Comedy? Old Comedy was written before 400 BC, New Comedy was written after 400 BC. Old Comedy was mostly political satire. New Comedy dealt with domestic affairs: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back again. New Comedy is the beginning of the sitcom. The reason for the change was that the new political rulers the Macedonians who united the independent

city states under the leadership of King Phillip II (382 336 BC) and his son, Alexander the Great (356 323 BC) would no longer accept criticism, hence the playwrights stopped writing political satire. Who is the only Old Greek Comedy playwright whose work has survived? Aristophanes. (448 380 BC)

What type of comedies did he write? Political satire, high comedy. at are the titles of four of his surviving plays He is best remembered for the four plays titled after the chorus: The Clouds (423 BC), The Wasps (422 BC), The Birds (414 BC), and The Frogs (405 BC).

many New Greek Comedy scripts have surviv One. The Grouch (316 BC), found in 1959. In contrast, we have 11 Old Greek Comedies. Who was the author? Menander (342 292 BC)

What structural pattern was used by Greek comic playwrights? Episodic. hich dramatic festival were comedies perform Although one day of the City Dionysia was allotted for the performance of five comedies, the Dionysian festival at which comedies were the feature was the Lenaia.

In which city and during which season did this festival occur? In Athens, during the winter (January). Ground plan of a Greek Theatre classical Greek theatre, what was the theatr

The theatron was the semi-circular seating area in the classical Greek theatre. It was generally carved out of the side of a hill. It is the source of the word theatre. Rough English translation: Seeing place. The orchestra? Was the circular acting area at the foot of the hill, where the chorus (and actors) performed. Is was located between the

theatron and the skene. In the center of the orchestra was an alter. Rough English translation: Dancing place. The skene? The skene, source of the word scene, was the palace (or scene house) at the rear of the acting space. It was introduced in the middle of the fifth century BC and probably did not exist for Aechylus early tragedies. It had at least one,

and perhaps as many as three openings which could be used as entrances. Rough English translation: Tent or Booth. What was the seating capacity of a typical Greek theatre? During the 4th century BC, when the temporary wooden benches were replaced with stone slabs, the 78 rows of the Theatre of Dionysus would seat between 15,000 and 16,000

people approximately 1/3 the population of Athens. In contrast, a large Broadway theatre, designed primarily for musicals, seats about 1,200. What was the mechane (mechina)? A crane mounted on the roof of the skene. How was it used?

It was used to lower the gods into the action of the play. Hence the term deus ex machina God out of the machine. ow many actors were used in Greek tragedy? Two in the plays of Aeschylus, Three in the works of both Sophocles and Euripides. In Greek comedy?

There was no limit. Aristophanes Lysistrata has a cast of eleven: seven men and four women, plus five choruses young women, old women, old men, Athenian men, and Spartan men. Did women perform on the Greek stage? No.

What was the social rank of a Greek actor? Acting in the Greek culture was considered an acceptable profession. As we move through theatre history, we will discover the social rank of the performer will vary from accepted to rejected. was the function of the chorus in Greek dram 1. They were a character in the play, usually the

townspeople. This character was sympathetic to the protagonist. 2. They presented the writers point of view. 3. They were the ideal spectator, their reaction to a scene would cue the audience on how they should react. 4. The broke down the drama into dramatic scenes, each scene was separated from the next by a choral interlude.

Who was the major critic of Greek drama? Aristotle. When did he live? 384 322 BC. He wrote about 100 years after Sophocles major tragedies were produced. What is his most significant work?

The Poetics, the source of the six elements of dramatic structure. at are the six elements of dramatic structure 1. Plot, there has to be a story that unfolds. 2. Character, the protagonist must always have some tragic flaw. 3. Theme, set to demonstrate some overarching idea.

4. Dialogue, a choice of interesting or aesthetically pleasing vocabulary. 5. Music, used to enhance or create mood. 6. Spectacle, grand themes require grand action (sets, costumes, special effects, etc.)

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