Theatre Exam 3

Know the particulars of the Greek festivals to honor dionysus: Ceremonies honoring Dionysus
The god of wine, fertility, and revelry.

Know the particulars of the Greek festivals to honor dionysus: Dithyrambic chorus
a group of 50 men who sang and danced a hymn praising Dionysus.

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Know the particulars of the Greek festivals to honor dionysus: “City of Dionysia”
incorporated tragic drama and comedy.

Know the particulars of the Greek festivals to honor dionysus: Festivals
The festival lasted several days. Three days were devoted to tragedy and had time set aside for five comedies. These festivals were attended by everyone and were considered religious in nature and extremely important.The served as a catharsis, or purging of emotion, for the people.

They partied hard for days and through that experience were cleansed and able to continue with their lives.

Know the particulars of the Greek festivals to honor dionysus: Satyr plays
Usually a bawdy take off on Greek mythology and history. The chorus was made up of satyrs, half-man and half-goat. Were also part of the festivals

Know the particulars of the Greek festivals to honor dionysus
Ceremonies, Dithyrambic chorus, festival characteristics

-Considered the first important Greek dramatist.-He wrote at a time when there was a chorus of 50 and one actor.

-In his own dramas however, he called for a second actor.-Aeschylus also reduced the size of the chorus to 12 to make it more manageable.-Aeschylus was considered the master of the trilogy – three tragedies that make up a single unit.-The best known is the Oresteia.

-Built on the dramatic form that Aeschylus had begun.

-He raised the number of the chorus to 15 where it would remain.-He added a third actor – who again would play several parts with the use of masks – which allowed for enormous flexibility.-Each actor could play several parts allowing for more characters.-He wrote Oedipus Rex, which is considered to be the great work of the period.

-Was the third great dramatist of the period.-He was more of a rebel and has always been considered the most “modern” of the three for the following reasons:-His sympathetic portrayal of female characters-His increased realism-His mixture of tragedy with melodrama and comedy-His skeptical treatment of the gods.

The only surviving Old Comedies were written by him

Know the four greek playwrights
1. Aeschylus2. Sophocles3. Euripides4. Aristophanes

Eleven months prior to a festival the city-state would choose the plays to be presented and appoint a choregus (Producer) for each of the selected playwrights.

The Poetics by Aristotle
In the 4th Century B.C. (About 100 years after Sophocles was at the height of his powers as a playwright) The first work of dramatic criticism appeared.

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

-The chorus severed several functions:-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.

-A performer named, Thespis, is customarily 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

Popular entertainments
Chariot racingWrestlingAcrobaticsNaumachiaEquestrian performancesPrizefightingGladiatorial combats (actual battles to the death.)

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

Horace and his Ars Poetica
-Horace 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
With the decline and fall of the Roman empire also came the decline of Roman Theatre.Another factor was the rise of Christianity.-From the outset the Christian church was opposed to theatre because of its connections to pagan religions.

-The church also felt that seeing evil characters and sexuality portrayed on stage taught immorality.-The church issued various edicts condemning theatre.

Know the playwrights of the Roman Theatre
1. Plautus2. Terence3.


-Plautus based almost all of his comedies on Greek New Comedy.-He dealt exclusively with domestic situations and particularly the trials and tribulations of romance.He used lots of stock character types-The parasite that lives off of others motivated by sensuality.-Courtesans-Lovers -Overbearing parents

-Terence’s plots are just as complicated as Plautus’s.

-However, Terence’s style was more literary and less exaggerated.-In his Phormio, for example, there is less slapstick and more emphasis on verbal wit. -Terence also emphasized spoken dialogue.

Seneca tragedies are different from Greek tragedy in that, they:-The chorus is not an integral part of the dramatic action.-Violence was emphasized and seen on stage.-He also made use of supernatural beings in the dramatic action.-Shakespeare was greatly influenced by Seneca’s work.

Entertainment for the masses
Circus Maximus- 150,000-250,000 spectatorsColosseum

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