Ancient Greek Theater And Drama Essay Research

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Ancient Greek Theater And Drama Essay, Research Paper Ancient Greek Theater and Drama By: Jennifer Mills E-mail: jamills@hotmail.com Ancient Greek Theater and Drama Jennifer Mills Theater has been an integral part of almost every society for thousands of years. Starting in the last Sixth century B.C. Theater has been evolving into the glitzy, whirlwind productions of today. But in the beginning, theater was a simple affair. Originating in Greece, theater tradition was derived from religious rituals. The ceremonies of the cult of Dionysus were exuberant; much story telling took place in the form of song and dance. Everyone would partake in the story telling, forming what is known as the chorus. The first man to step out of the chorus and take a role of a character was the poet

Thespis. It was his idea to include a character that could partake in dialog that revolutionized theater, as it is known today. From the first time Thespis stepped into a character, the Greeks adored the idea of physically acting out their stories. Eventually, drama and theater were integrated into two festivals of Dionyssos, the Lenea festival in January and the Great Dionyssia in March. Poets could enter a series of four plays (three tragedies and a comedy) to be judged by five judges. Only three poets were allowed to enter these two contests per year. The Honorable Archon chose the three participants. The poets and actors were paid by the state, but sponsored by a rich Athenian, a primitive producer. It brought great honor to the producer if the play he was sponsoring took

first place at one of the two contests. It was the sponsor who paid for the tickets to fill the entire theater, for everyone could see the play for free. That allowed the poorest people in the Athenian nation to enjoy theater along with the richest. Plays were rarely written down, they were recorded by memorization, or oral tradition. Thus, many of the plays written in the ancient Grecian time period have been lost. However, a few plays were written down, and are still preformed today, their literary value and content being so great. Once a play was preformed at a festival, it was usually never preformed again, or if it was, it was preformed at Anthesteria festival to Dionyssos. Plays were preformed in theaters. The theaters were usually built into the side of a hill or on an

open area. The theaters were always open-air theaters and consisted of three parts: the Orchestra, the Scene and the Koilon. The orchestra was the almost circular area in the middle of the seats in which the acting took place. In the center of the orchestra was the Thymeli, which was used as an alter in the early days of theater and as the area for the leader of the chorus as drama developed throughout time. The acting, in the beginning of theater, always took place in the center of the orchestra, but as theater developed, the acting moved back, to directly in front of the scene. The scene was a tall wooden platform from which scenery painting was hung. The scenery usually consisted of a palace or temple, and a door was cut into the scene so that characters could enter from the

palace or temple. Entryways, called parodoi, were also present on the sides of the scene, separating it from the seats of the theater. If an actor entered from the right parodos, he was coming from town or port. If an actor entered from the left parodos he was coming from the fields or a foreign country. On top of the scene was a narrow walkway on which an actor could stand if he were portraying a god or the leader of the chorus. The third part of the theater was the Koilon, or section where the audience sat. In the very first days of theater, the audience stood around the orchestra. However, seats, of either dirt or wood, were then built into the hillsides to provide a place to sit. The koilon was divided into two sections, or Diazoma, the upper and lower. The front seats were