Theatre HistoryA brief overview of theatre; from Myth to Movement.
Origins• Theatre is arguably the direct descendant of A.) Mankinds need to imitate its surroundings B.) The story telling of the Paleolithic Era C.) Religious rites and sacraments
Religion• The Ikernofret Stone• The City Dionysia of Ancient Greece• The Medieval Passion plays
The Greek Hellenistic Theatre• Often called “The Golden Age of Greece,” the time period between 500 BCE and the rise of the Roman Empire are considered the first real roots of secularized theatre. The three great tragedians, Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, commonly wrote about the Gods. They did not, however, write for the gods. They adapted the oral traditions to the stage in an effort to serve society.
Aristotles “De Poetica”• In this treatise Aristotle analyzed the necessity of the art of theatre and provided the first critical analysis of the works of the tragedians, of whom he regarded Sophocles as the greatest. Aristotle coined the idea of the “unities” of time, place, and action. These unities would go on to be the cornerstone of the neoclassical period in Italy and France.
French Neo Classical • The French Neo Classical period was dominated by the comedy writer, Jean- Baptiste Poquelin, more commonly known as Moliere. The period was characterized by strict adherence to the three unities, and subtlety of body language.
Elizabethan• The Elizabethan period was marked by writers such as Christopher Marlow and Ben Johnson. However, no writer had a greater influence on this time period than William Shakespeare.
The Rise of Realism • At the turn of the 20th century writers sought to make theatre more realistic, in an effort to move away from the flamboyance of the melodramatic style. The pioneer of this acting method was Konstantin Stanislavsky.
Modernism in DramaThe modernist era ofAmerican drama typicallyrevolves around the timeof the ending of thesecond world war. Thegroup theatre wasinstrumental in creatingdrama that addressedsocial issues in the public’smind.
Post modern drama• As time progresses the modern theatrician must ask themselves “where will we go from here?” There isn’t a right or wrong answer, but recent advances give light to the rise of mechanical theatre as a mode of novel story telling.