Lecture / Outline: The Greek Theatre                                                                 Theatre Arts 5

                                                                                                                 Terrin Adair-Lynch


I.                    Political / Social / Economic

a.       Remarkable Age / Outstanding Achievements: Politics, Philosophy, Science, Arts

b.       Western Theatre Begins

c.       Series of Independent City States / Greek Peninsula & Islands (Athens)

d.       Persians attempt to Conquer / Costly Conflict with Sparta

e.       Classical Period / Golden Age of Greece

II.                 Origins of Greek Theatre

a.       Religious Ceremonies / Funeral Services / Festivals Celebrating the Seasons

b.       Ceremonies Honoring the Gods

c.       Festival Honoring Dionysus (Important for Theatre)

                                                               i.      God of Wine and Fertility

                                                             ii.      Greek Drama Originated in the Dithyrambic Choruses in honor of Dionysus (Lengthy Hymn, sung/danced group of 50 men)

                                                            iii.      Dithyramb became Literary form detailing Heroic Stories

                                                           iv.      Thespis delivered a prologue/presented dialogue-impersonated a character becomes the first actor.

d.       Greek Theatre / Greek Myths

                                                               i.      Story or Legend / Based loosely on fact. Sometimes invented 

III.               Genre / Form

a.       Tragedy:

                                                               i.      Emphasize Plot/ Dramatic Structure (Crisis Drama) became prototype

1.       Action begins near climax, High point of story

2.       Characters in the midst of struggles-requires exposition. / Few Characters / One main Action (Unity of Action)

3.       Play Occurs in short span of time-24 hours (Unity of Time)

4.       One Locale (Unity of Place)

b.       Comedy:

                                                               i.      Greek Old vs.

1.       Makes fun of Society/Politics/Culture

                                                             ii.      Greek New (Hellenistic Period in Greece)

1.       Romantic and Domestic Problems

c.       Satyr Play

                                                               i.      After Piece to a Trilogy (three tragedies by single Playwright)

                                                             ii.      Chorus of Satyrs - Half Goat / Half Man

                                                            iii.      Comic Play poke fun at Greek Myth and Heroic tales

IV.              Physical Theatre

a.       Audience Space

                                                               i.      Hillside (wood to stone)

b.       Performance Space / Acting Space

                                                               i.      Orchestra

1.       Altar / thymele

c.       Parados

d.       Skene house

                                                               i.      Paraskene / Paraskenia

V.                 Spectacle

a.       Costumes

                                                               i.      Mask

                                                             ii.      Chiton & Mantle

                                                            iii.      Onkos

                                                           iv.      Kothorni  / Kothornos

b.       Scenic Conventions

                                                               i.      Periaktoi

                                                             ii.      Ekkyklema / Eccyclema / Exaustra

                                                            iii.      Machina  / Machane

VI.              Playwrights:

a.       Aeschylus (Tragedy)

b.       Sophocles (Tragedy)

c.       Euripides (Tragedy)

d.       Aristophanes (Greek Old Comedy)

e.       Menander  (Greek New Comedy)

VII.            Other Influences / People of Note

a.       Aristotle

VIII.         Chorus

a.       Function / Purpose

IX.               Messenger Scene

X.                 Production Considerations

a.       Chorugus

XI.               Acting Styles

XII.            Decline