#6 SPECTACLE: Staging The mechane was a large crane which could swing a platform containing one or more actors from behind the stage building up over the heads of the actors and chorus, creating the illusion of flying. The earliest known use of this device was in Euripdes’ Medea (431 BCE), when Medea flew off with the bodies of her children in a dragon-chariot supplied by the sun-god. The Latin expression deus ex machina (“the god from the crane”) refers to inferior playwrights’ practice of suddenly having a god fly in to resolve all the difficulties of the plot, but clever dramatists could use the crane very effectively without marring the unity of their plays, as indeed Euripides did in Medea . Note: Gods who intervene in fifth century tragedies probably appeared through a trap-door on the roof of the skene to address mortals from a higher level. http://depthome.brooklyn.cuny.edu/classics/dunkle/comedy/intro19.htm
In this tragedy a prophecy told by the Delphic Oracle comes true even though the protagonists try to avoid it. The main character, the tragic hero Oedipus leaves his home to avoid a terrible fate, runs into some men at a crossroads, kills them. Arrives in a town beleaguered by a mythical violent beast the Sphinx and correctly answers her riddle and slays it. The prophecy comes true and Oedipus ends up punishing himself to save his people/city. His children Eteocles and Polyneices, Ismene and Antigone also suffer in future plays.
Aristotle's Poetics and Oedipus His favorite play and the one he used as a model for the POETICS is OEDIPUS, so the following should apply: 1. CATHARSIS: Pity and fear Pity alone is not enough to make a play a tragedy. The kind of drama that depends solely on its capacity to provoke pity are likely to be "tear-jerkers." Pathos requires humour, irony, or something more disturbing, which we may call fear (or "admiration"), to prevent it from lapsing into sentimentality. Fear alone is similarly inadequate. An average suspense-thriller may hold attention, but if we know the ending or have seen it already we rapidly become aware that the thriller is simply melodramatic. Melodrama is to tragedy what farce is to comedy: the plot is all-important, and the characters tend to be stereotyped, fitting into prearranged roles (goodies and baddies). 2. HAMARTIA: Good men ought NOT to be shown passing from prosperity to misfortune, for this does not inspire either inspire pity or fear, but only revulsion; NOR evil men rising from ill fortune to prosperity.. neither should a wicked man be seen falling from prosperity into misfortune.. We are left with the man whose place is between these extremes. Such is the man who on the one hand is not preeminent in virtue and justice, and yet on the other hand does not fall into misfortune through vice or depravity. He falls because of some mistake or imbalance in his character :'[often mistranslated as a tragic (moral) flaw] and Anagnorisis (an-ag-nor-ee-sis) Protagonist BECOMES AWARE OF HIS ERROR (therein lies the tragedy itself– memory) In Aristotelian definition of tragedy it was the discovery of one's own identity or true character 3) Universality: Tragedy is BASED in history (real events, settings, circumstances) HOWEVER, dramatic poetry's function is.. not to report things that have happened, but rather to tell of such things that might happen.. .to express the universal." CAPITAL “T” truth privileged over little “t” truth.
Ancient greek theater
Theatron: literally, the “watching place” Orchestra: literally, the “dancing place” Skene: “scene,” or backdrop
Daylight Class issues Women Comfort Sound effects
The modern word“theater” comes fromthe Greek wordtheatron meaning"seeing place"
Behind orchestra Served as backdrop, house Decorative in later years Holds mechane
Parodos: passageways (pl.paradoi) Ekkykleme: “the thing that rolls” the small wagon platform, was wheeled in to show a corpse to the audience. All killing had to occur off stage and be reported to the audience by the chorus or a messenger. Mechane: crane used for special effect
Staging was accomplished simply with the use of pinakes, or scenery painted on boards and placed against the skene. Also periaktois, triangular prisms, that could be revolved for scenery changes. Properties were also used. Drums were sounded for thunder.
…In anamphitheatre…With achorus whodescribedmost of theaction.…With masks
• The theater of ancient Greece, flourished between c. 550 and c. 220 BCE.• The city-state of Athens, was it’s centre.• It was part of a festival called the Dionysia, which honored the god Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and revelry with altars generally on stage.• Banks would shut down for days, people would travel from all around to see the drama competitions—even prisoners were temporarily released to see the plays• Tragedy means “goat song” (relates to Dionysian sacrificial rituals)
The chorus was trained and costumed at state expense through a choregos (a wealthy citizen) who chose this job as his way of paying taxes and raising his standing in the community.
Members of the chorus were chosen from the general population. Chorus members were unpaid volunteers doing their civic duty. The rehearsal period for a chorus was likely four months or more.
• DRAMA: a literary composition written to be performed by actors• central character called a tragic protagonist or hero suffers some serious misfortune• the misfortune is logically connected with the heros actions.
The modern word “drama” comes from the Greek word dran meaning "to do” The Greeks understood the role of action in plays.
Comedy Tragedy Satyr Comedy and tragedy were the most popular types of plays in ancient Greece. Hence, the modern popularity of the comedy and tragedy masks to symbolize theatre.
The word “comedy” comes from the Greek word “komos” which means “band of revelers.”
These were short plays performed between the acts of tragedies. They made fun of the plight of the tragedys characters. The satyrs were mythical half-human, half-goat servants of Dionysus. They served the function of comic relief.
The Satyr and theSatyr playsspawned themodern word“satire”.
used a chorus The choric dithyrambs (choral songs) were originally about the death and resurrection of Dionysus (the god of wine and revelry). Chorus reflects what the audience is thinking ▪ “color commentary” ▪ Provides background and spectacle
The first function of the chorus was as narrator (telling stories, providing information). to bridge the gap between the audience and the players by making responses and asking questions to intensify the emotion and establish a lyric mood through rhythmic chanting and dance to maintain a sense of ceremony and ritual
The chorus could punctuate the action of a play with bursts of song and dance, which enlarged the dramatic action and relieved tension. Instruments used to accompany choric songs and dances included flutes, lyres, horns, drums, and bells. The ‘Parados’ (chorus entrance) marks the beginning of the play, and the exodus (its exit) the ending. Singing Dancing Strophe Antistrophe
As the number of actors increased from one to three, the size of the chorus, which originally numbered 50, was reduced. 12-15 men
TheChorus could play theworshipers of a God, or asin Oedipus, the villagers andTheban elders (townleaders).
The modern word “thespian” comes from the name Thespis, the first actor credited with separating from the chorus to hold a call and response with them.
Choruses did not rehearse in the theatres, they probably rehearsed in a closed room so that the spectators would not see the drama before the performance. Early dramatists (Aeschylus and probably Sophocles and Euripides) taught their own choruses.
Consisted of standard Greek attire Chiton: a sleeveless tunic belted below the breast the himation: draped around the right shoulder the chlamys, or short cloak, worn over the left shoulder elaborately embroidered patterns Masks were used. If playing a female role, the male actor in want of a female appearance wore the prosternida before the chest and the progastrida before the belly
3 Actors, all menElaborate gestures, “over-acting”Women were not allowed to participate.
to masks bring the characters face closer to the audience. to enable an actor to play in several different roles, to help the audience to distinguish sex, age, and social status, in addition to revealing a change in a particular character’s emotions and appearance. a mask—called a “persona” Masks contained “megaphone” to amplify their voices
Another adaptation that the Greeks developed for their theatre masks were special mouths that acted like megaphones to amplify their voice for everyone in the huge theatre to hear.
Actors wore masks with exaggerated facial featuresand expressions to make it easy for all viewers to identify a particular character because theatres were very large.
Greek actors originally started wearing masks that were very human like that just covered part of the face Eventually with the increase in theatre size the mask changed as well The mask then began to cover the whole head and resembled legends from Greek mythology not humans
usually made by the people that who wore them in the play from consisted of cloth, leather, and wood with animal hair and painted or died different colors with flowers and other plants attached to them. Famous actors in bigger plays may have had jewels and other ornate items placed on their masks
Medea is a princess from Colchis. She marries Jason, who ison a quest for the Golden Fleece. Medea betrays her fatherand murders her brother for her love of Jason. Medea hasmagical powers. Jason takes Medea back to his homelandIolcus. They are rejected for fear of Medea’s power and moveto Corinth, where they have children. Jason takes another wife, the king of Corinth’s daughterGlauce. Medea, betrayed, sends a bewitched gown toPrincess Glauce, Jason’s new bride, it kills her and her father.Jason returns to find Medea has killed their sons. Medealeaves with the bodies of her children in a dragon ledchariot. Jason, a shadow of a man, no longer protected byHera, dies when a timber from the Argo crushes him in hissleep.
Son of wealthy Athenian 495 B.C.E. :Born in merchant Colonus, in Attica Lived during golden age 441: Writes Antigone of Athens 431-404: Center of democracy Peloponnesian War Important figure in (Athens v. Sparta) society 429: Writes Oedipus Becomes cultural spokesperson Rex 406: Sophocles dies Noted playwright Wrote primarily tragedies Witnessed decline of Athens
• Sphinxs riddle: "What is the creature that walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon and three in the evening?"• To this Oedipus answered "Man”.• Oedipuss name means "swollen foot”. His ankles were pinned as a baby. Here is the baby of which the Sphinx speaks, crawling on four feet.• Oedipus the adult man, standing on his own two feet.• Oedipus will leave Thebes an old blind man, using a cane.• Oedipus himself proves to be that same man, an embodiment of the Sphinxs riddle.• Oedipus is solver of the Sphinxs riddle, and the answer.
From Aristotle’s Poetics The Six Aspects of Tragedy 1. PLOT 2. CHARACTER* 3. SPECTACLE 4. SONG 5. DICTION 6. THOUGHT
1. PLOT: Plot is the way the incidents are presented to the audience • Must be “whole” –beginning/ middle and end • Incentive moment- begins cause and effect • Climax • resolution• Must be complete and have “unity of action” • No “deus ex machina” • No “episodic plots”• Plot can be simple or complex • Catastrophe (cata/strophe): change in fortune • Perepetia: a reversal • Anagnorisis: recognition
2. CHARACTER • Personal motivations connected to cause/ effect aspect of plot • Protagonist should be renowned and prosperous change from good to bad • Hubris – arrogance, overconfidence • Hamartia: a tragic flaw• Characters should have the following qualities: • Good or fine • Fitness of character • True to life • Consistency • Necessary or probable • Idealized/ ennobled
1. He must be a man who is superior to the average man in some way. 1. Oedipus is smart he is the only person who could solve the Sphinxs riddle.2. Must evoke both pity and fear, must be a character with a mixture of good and evil. Oedipus is a hero with a violent streak, clever man, but is blind to the truth.3. Hamartia, often translated as "tragic flaw" but really means "error in judgement.”4. Dramatic irony The audience knows the outcome of the story already, but the hero does not, making his actions seem ignorant or inappropriate in the face of what is to come.
3. THOUGHT• Reference to theme4. DICTION• Word choice is proper and appropriate• Emphasis on style and use of literary devices (metaphor)5. SONG• Musical element of the play• Use of the chorus6. SPECTACLE* Production for effect