Theatre 4 test

Plautus (Roman)
-based most of his comedies on Greek New Comedy-dealt with domestic situations and the ups and downs of romance-used primarily stock characters (lovers, overbearing parents)-dialogue meant to be sung-mistaken identities and complicated plots-ex: The Menaechmi

Terence (Roman)
– complicated plots much like Plautus; BUT more literary and less exaggerated-ex: Phormio.. less slapstick and more emphasis on verbal wit-emphasized spoken dialogue

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Seneca (Roman)
– much diff than Greek tragedy-chorus is not a part of dramatic action- violence emphasized and seen on stage-made use of supernatural beings in the dramatic action- Shakespeare’s Hamlet was influenced by Seneca

– Considered first important Greek Dramatist- Wrote at a time when there was a chorus of 50 and 1 actor- In his own dramas he called for a 2nd actor- 2nd actor could play diff parts allowing for dramatic exchange- Reduced size of the chorus to 12 – His drams dealt with noble families and lofty themes- Master of the trilogy- Best known work is the Oresteia

– Built on dramatic form Aeschylus began – Raised chorus number to 15 where it remained- Added a third actor- Each actor played several parts- Wrote Oedipus Rex

– 3rd greatest dramatist of the period- More of a rebel, considered most “modern” of the three- Sympathetic portrayal of female characters- Increased realism- Skeptical treatment of the gods

– The only surviving Old Comedies were written by him- Lvsistrata (by him) is in protest of the Peloponnesian war- Women go on a sex strike until the war is stopped in Lvsistrata

3 Roman Playwrights
1. Plautus2. Terence3.


4 Greek playwrights
– Aeschylus- Sophocles- Euripides- Aristophanes


– most of roman dramatic criticism is based on the works of aristotle-suggests that tragedy deals with reversals of fortune and the downfall of a royal figure.

Aristotle’s poetics
The Poetics is so intelligent and so penetrating that it remains the single most important piece of dramatic criticism in existence.

Aristotle describes 6 elements of drama:
Plot (arrangement of dramatic incidents)Character (people represented in the play)Thought or Theme (ideas exposed)Language (dialogue or poetry)MusicSpectacle (scenery and other visual elements.

the chorus
-key element in Greek drama.-It is also a unique element; after the classical period it was never used again in the same way.-The characters portrayed by the chorus usually represented ordinary citizens.

function of chorus
-They reacted in the way people in the audience might react. They were a group the audience could identify with.-They gave background information necessary to understanding the plot.-They represented a moderate balance between the extreme behaviors of the principal characters.-They offered philosophical observations and drew conclusions about what happened in the play. Their choral passages were sung and danced

-credited with transforming these songs into drama by stepping out of the chorus and becoming an actor.

-He moved from reciting a story to impersonating a character and engaging in dialogue with members of the chorus.-Actors are often called “Thespians.”

scene house behind the orchestra

Popular entertainments
-Just as Rome was more down to earth, so was its theatre.-Instead of high-minded tragedy, it focused on comedy and other popular entertainments.

-Popular entertainments appeal to all levels of society, no sophistication is required to enjoy them.

types of popular entertainments
Chariot racingWrestlingAcrobaticsNaumachiaEquestrian performancesPrizefightingGladiatorial combats (actual battles to the death.)

a head of a troupe, who was usually the lead actor. -Made financial arrangements-Bought dramas from playwrights -Hired musicians -Obtained costumes

outlined his theory of correct dramatic technique in Ars Poetica (The Art of Poetry).

-He argued that comedy and tragedy should be distinct genres.-Tragedy should deal with royalty.-Comedy should depict common people.-Stressed that drama should not only entertain but teach a lesson.

the decline of roman theatre
-came with the decline of the roman empire and the rise of christianity

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