History of Theatre I, Week 2 Notes
History of Theatre I, Week 2 Notes THEA 24100-01
Popular in History of Theatre 1
Popular in Theatre Arts (Tha)
This 4 page Class Notes was uploaded by Anastasia Arvanites on Monday September 19, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to THEA 24100-01 at Ithaca College taught by Dr. Chrystyna Dail in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 4 views. For similar materials see History of Theatre 1 in Theatre Arts (Tha) at Ithaca College.
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Date Created: 09/19/16
5 Century Greece: Birth of Western Theatre When speaking of classical theatre—referencing 5 century Greece Structure of Classical Tragedy (p 35-36 in textbook) o Prologue: opening o Parados: entrance of chorus o Scenes: o Stasima: episodes that separate scenes o Exodos: exit/wrap-up Common Elements of Tragedy o Late point of attack – climactic plot structure o Violence offstage—don’t see violence on stage o 3 unities: time, place, action (one plot)—within revolution of the sun (24 hrs) o Based on history/myth o Characterization based on psychology and ethics Funding: o Archon Eponymos o Choregoi: paid for chorus, musicians, and other incidentals— wealthiest people in Athens, civic duty to fully support a playwright about ever 3 yrs o Athenian state: paid for theatre space, awards, principal actors, and sometimes the playwright Subjectivity: competition between playwright’s work Directing: o Playwrights concern, responsible for total unity of the production, didaskalos= teacher Aeschylus (543-456 BCE) o Introduced second actor o Reduced the chorus size from 50 to 12 o The Oresteia: the only existing trilogy o Gods (philosophical/religious playwright) and wars o Most theatrical/spectacle of the tragedians Sophocles (496-404 BCE) o Wrote over 120 plays o Oedipus the King o Most highly larded od the tragedians o Introduced 3 actor o Chorus size at 15 o (Possibly) started the use of scenic painting o Focus on humanity and the control of a higher law Athenian and Citizen: only masculine forms o Women aren’t there to be main focus Meant to be wives and bare children Euripides (490 – 406 BCE) o Bad boy of 5 century: despised w/in Athens—questioning laws of democracy/Greek culture (ie. Women’s role in society) o Seen as a lesser playwright in Aristotle’s eyes Wrote about taboo characters/subjects Most contemporary of playwrights Hypocrite: wrote against the gods o Limits the chorus severely o Multiple plot lines o Tragicomedy or melodrama Architecture and Design: o Theatron: “seeing space” o Orchestra: “dancing place” o Skene: actors emerge from—backstage area o Paraskenia: front entrance doors o Mechane: machine that flew things in and out o Thymele: stage area, most sacred area (center)—sacrifices occurred Costuming: o Chorus costumes: relatively realistic o Principal actors: wore long chiton decorated tunic—tragedy Boots with heel o Comedy costumes: short, tight chiton with over-emphasized genitalia o Full head masks worn by all (except aulos player) in tragedy & comedy End of golden age: o Comedy becomes more popular during the 4 centuryth o Chorus disappears entirely o 35 BCE- professional actor appears o 325 BCE- stone theatrical structure o 322 BCE- Greek democracy ends (508 BCE- birth of democracy) o 300 BCE- Athens is no longer the cultural center 9/9 Hellenistic and Roman Empires Hellenistic Age: 336 BCE Alexander becomes king of Macedonia Greek (or Hellenic) culture spreads throughout Egypt, Asia Minor, central Asia, and India Increase of theatre festivals Hellenistic Actors: Actors are more important than playwrights Artists of Dionysus (277 BCE)—like Actors Equity today Exaggerated masks and footwear Actors are choses for ambassadorial purposes but distributed as a whole o Anti-theatrical prejudice emerges Mimes (4 century): nomadic touring artists o Women in performance: acrobatics, spoke o Performed (outside of) festivals – not let in – street performers o Wore sheer garments Hellenistic Drama – New Comedy: Menander (342-291 BCE) Stock characters Everyday life, middle classes Romantic complications: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl Inspires the next two thousand years of domestic comedy o At least 7 Roman comedies based on his works Roman Theatre: 146 BCE- Roman conquest of Greece Romans were very orderly and militaristic They broke this cycle with festivals called ludi every few months o Chariot racing, ship battles, human executions, mimes Theatre becomes less important as Roman audiences are more interested in mass spectacle and blood spirit Comedy continues to reign supreme Thought that women could attend, but not perform Plautus: 254 -184 BCE Took native Italian arts (Umbrian arts) and mixed them with Greek New Comedy plots o Some based off of Menander Very close to what we would consider musical comedy o Majority of dialogue thought to be sung/chanted Developed the braggart solder stock character Terence: 185-159 BCE Born in Carthage and brought to Rome as a slave, was educated—later freed for intelligence Subtle and elegant writing—moral in tone Took plots from different Greek comedies and combined them Spoken dialogue, double plot structure, wrote 6 plays w/in 3-year time period Model for Middle Ages and Renaissance Seneca: 4 BCE – 65 CE Only Roman tragedian of note, wrote 9 plays Espoused Stoicism—didn’t practice it Born in Cordoba, Spain—studied in Barcelona o Exiled twice by emperor—slept around o Brought back to be Nero’s (emperor’s son) tutor and chief advisor o Ordered to commit suicide Plays are violent, moralistic, and probably closet dramas Chorus is non-existent –or don’t play same major role as Greek Most likely read, not produced Roman Theatre Architecture First permanent structure in 55 BCE Held up to 25,000 Orchestra rarely used for actor staging Tall scaena frons with 3-5 entrances De Architectura: why we have clear records Roman Acting: Government hired acting troupes to perform Dominus was actor-manager At least 6 males in every acting troupe Large gestures and beautiful vocals—huge audiences Most were slaves Conclusion: 312 CE – Constantine converts to Christianity 303 CE – Empire divides (Rome and Constantinople) 398 CE – Theatre patrons (on a holy day) could be excommunicated from church o Actors couldn’t receive a holy sacrament (communion, marriage, etc.) 549 CE – Last Roman theatre performance
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