The Greek Theater 5th Century B. C.Golden Age of Greek DramaDramatic festivals were popularPeople witnessed tragic andcomic playsAthens is named for the Greekgoddess, Athena
The land Overview of Greek Theatre The mythsThe stage
The LandGreece has thousands of inhabited islands anddramatic mountain rangesGreece has a rich culture and historyBirthplace of Democracy and CommerceLiterature and Architecture founded inGreecePatriarchal (male dominated) societyPhilosophy, as a practice, began in Greece(Socrates, Plato, Aristotle)
Overview of Greek TheatreThe land The myths The stage
The StageAncient Greeks invented the art of Drama, beginning in Athens
Three MainPortions of Greek The StageTheatre:Skene – Portion ofstage where actorsperformed(included 1-3 doorsin and out)Orchestra –“Dancing Place”where chorus sangto the audienceTheatron – Seatingfor audience
The StageGreek plays were performed during religiousceremonies held in honor of Dionysus, theGreek god of wine and revelry (altars generallyon stage)Banks would shut down for days, people wouldtravel from all around to see the dramacompetitions—even prisoners were temporarilyreleased to see the playsTragedy means “goat song” (relates toDionysian rituals)
Where and how were the dramas performed? …In an amphitheatre …With a chorus who described most of the action. …With masks …With all the fighting and movement going on off stage. ….With tragedy first, then comedy later.
The masks were worn for manyreason including: 1. Visibility 2. Acoustic Assistance 3. Few Actors, Many Roles 4. Characterization
Some general categories of masks1. OLD MENSmooth-Faced, White, Grizzled, Black-Haired, Flaxen andMore Flaxen2. YOUNG MENCommon, Curled, More Curled, Graceful, Horrid, Paleand Less Pale3. SLAVESLeathern, Peaked-Beard, Flat Nose4. WOMENFreed Old Woman, Old Domestic, Middle Aged, Leathern,Pale-Disheveled, Pale Middle Aged, Whorish-Disheveled,Virgin, Girl5. SPECIALIST MASKSSome made for specific characters, others for: Mourning,Blindness, Deceit, Drunkenness...etc. (The comic masks,those especially of old comedy, were as like as possible totrue persons they represented, or made to appear moreridiculous)
Major Greek DramatistsAeschylus 524 B.C. Seven Against ThebesSophocles 496 B.C. Antigone OedipusEuripides 480 B.C. MedeaDramatist Born Wrote
Sophocles’ AntigoneSet in Thebes (a city in ancient Greece)Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus andJocastaAntigone’s brothers, Eteokles andPolyneces, took opposite sides in a warEteokles and Polyneces killed each otherin battleAntigone’s uncle, Kreon, became king ofThebes
Euripides’ MedeaMedea is a princess from ColchisMedea marries Jason, who is in Colchison a quest for the Golden FleeceMedea betrays her father and murdersher brother for her love of JasonMedea has magical powersJason takes Medea back to his homeland,Corinth, where they have childrenJason takes another wife, the king ofCorinth’s daughter
Jason’s Voyage on the Argo Jason and Medea meet Corinth: Where Jason and Medea settle down
Overview of Greek TheatreThe land The mythsThe stage
The Myths – Why they were written1. Explained the unexplainable2. Justified religious practices3. Gave credibility to leaders4. Gave hope5. Polytheistic (more than one god)6. Centered around the twelve Olympians (primary Greek gods)
Explained the UnexplainableWhen Echo tried to getNarcissus to love her, she wasdenied.Saddened, she shriveled tonothing, her existence meltinginto a rock.Only her voice remained.Hence, the echo!
To justify religious practices Drama and plays were founded to worship Dionysus, god of grapes, vegetation, and wine at his festival.
rooTs in Worship of dionysusGod of Wine and revelry
Theater of DionysusDionysia was an annual festivalin honor of the god DionysusTheater of Dionysus was anopen-air Theater with roomfor fifteen thousand spectators
Theater of Dionysuscarved out of a stone hillside looked like a semicircle withsteeply rising tiers of seats
To give credibility to leaders Used myths to create family trees for their leaders, enforcing the made-up idea that the emperors were related to the gods and were, then, demigods.
To give hopeThe ancient citizens ofGreece would sacrifice andpray to an ORACLE.An oracle was a priest orpriestess who would send amessage to the gods frommortals who brought their Where DID hope come from?requests. After unleashing suffering, famine, disease, and many other evils, the last thing Pandora let out was HOPE.