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Theater I: Primitive Theater

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storytelling, ritual, dance, early cultures, the evolution of theater

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Theater I: Primitive Theater

  1. 1. • You might think of musicals, like “Bye, Bye Birdie” or “Oklahoma!” • You might think of plays by Shakespeare, like “Romeo And Juliet” or “Hamlet.” “Bye, Bye Birdie” “Romeo & Juliet”
  2. 2. • Or, you might think of actors in costumes from different time periods – like these actors from a production of “She Stoops to Conquer.” • Or you might think of mimes, dressed in black and white. Marcel Marceau
  3. 3. • Theatre BEGAN thousands of years ago, probably before the start of recorded history.
  4. 4. • Theatre BEGAN thousands of years ago, probably before the start of recorded history. • Early cultures used ritual, dance, and storytelling to communicate.
  5. 5. • Theatre BEGAN thousands of years ago, probably before the start of recorded history. • Early cultures used ritual, dance, and storytelling to communicate. • Theatre is one of the humanities; it attempts to answer the questions: “Who am I?” “Why are we here?” and “Where are we going?”
  6. 6. Rituals • A repeated action • Symbolic significance • Evokes emotions • Through rituals, early humans wanted to: Achieve success in battle and hunting Ensure adequate sun and rain Express their duty to the community and to the gods A ritual is:
  7. 7. Other Facts: Rituals • Rituals were often performed by elders, priests or shamans. • Our knowledge of rituals and early “theatre” comes from wall paintings, artifacts, and hieroglyphics. • Rituals often told a story based on the culture’s beliefs. These stories are usually based in myth. • Myths gained a life beyond the original rituals, and began to be performed for entertainment. Common to all traditional cultures, the shaman is a priestly figure who communicates directly with the gods through rituals for the benefit of the community.
  8. 8. Additional Vocabulary (for your project!) • TABLEAU a group of motionless figures representing a scene from a story or from history • PANTOMIME acting without sound/words
  9. 9. How it happened: Myths Stories Rituals Habit Tradition Entertainment Theatre!
  10. 10. The First Drama • The earliest example of ritual evolving into “theatre” comes from Ancient Egypt. The Play at Abydos is the story of Osiris. (He’s the green guy dressed all in white.) • First dramatic production = the Abydos passion play.
  11. 11. Quick Review: • What is a RITUAL? • What are three reasons early humans performed rituals? • How do we know about the rituals/early theatre that early humans performed? • Who usually performed the rituals? • Who is a shaman?
  12. 12. Storytelling • Myths and stories = entertainment before written word. • Stories were told in order to: - TEACH HISTORY - ENTERTAIN - SETTLE ARGUMENTS - HONOR THE GODS - MAKE SENSE OF THE WORLD - COMMUNICATE EXPERIENCES - RECORD HISTORY Can you name any famous storytellers???
  13. 13. Storytellers • Homer was a blind poet who may have been born on an island in the Aegean Sea (GREEK). • He probably composed his works between 700 and 800 B.C. • Homer was one of the first storytellers to use repetition and dialogue in his stories. Homer’s (and others!) stories provided many of the ideas and plots for playwrights that came after him! Homer was an ancient Greek epic poet, traditionally said to be the author of the epic poems, the Iliad and the Odyssey.
  14. 14. Dance • Dance is another probable origin of theatre. • Dance comes from: - animal imitation - pantomime - gymnastics - rhythmic movement • Dance was often used as part of rituals.
  15. 15. Dance This photo shows a traditional Fijian Warrior Dance – a ritual that uses dance as part of the ritual performance showing the outcome of battles.
  16. 16. Quick Review: • Historically, what are some reasons myths and stories were told? • Name the Greek storyteller that probably composed the epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey. • Homer was probably the first to use r________ and d_________ in his stories. • Historically, where does dance come from?

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