Theatre lessons - Where did theatre come from As we discussed in the last lesson theatre originated out of ceremonies usually associated with

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Where did theatre come from? As we discussed in the last lesson, theatre originated out of ceremonies usually associated with religious worship, or ritual. From the beginning of time, man has been trying to make sense out of this life. Religious beliefs and ceremonies explore this issue. "Why are we here?" and "What happens next?" Egyptian Heiroglyphics describing theatrical funeral procession Each age has dealt with these questions in a different fashion. The Indus Valley Civilization (2700-1500 BC), in what is now modern India, gave homage to a god named Siva: the god of actors and dancers. The earliest form of ritualistic theatre recorded was the Abydos Passion Play , which was discovered in 1896. This was a coronation drama, dating back to at least to the early Dynastic Period which was between 3100-2686 B.C. Egyptians performed the coronation dramas on barges on the River Nile. The ritual marked the institution of the next Pharaoh. Since the Egyptians believed the Pharaoh to be a god, this was religious worship. The ceremony generally represented the passing of time, and the cycle of life. The rite took place in the spring and was surrounded by symbolism associated with resurrection and "newness" of life. Similar dramas can be found in the Canaanite play Baal and the Hittite Production in Ancient Teatron play Snarling Dragon ." These plays came from the area we now know as Syria and Turkey. Each play was a ritualized reenactment of the coming of spring. Rebirth was a popular subject that the Greeks would also use in the development of their theatre. Tens of thousands of years ago, African theatre developed out of traditional religious festivals, storytelling, ceremonies and rituals. None of this was what we would consider traditional drama; in fact the only way to really understand is to look beyond the Western idea of what theatre is and look more toward the ritual. While drama did exist to some degree in the Middle East, there is no evidence that it flourished. In fact, most of the evidence of theatre in this region completely disappears by the third century B.C. The most significant contributor to the lack of theatre can be attributed to the religion of Islam. Islam, which originated early in the seventh century B.C., forbids the depiction of humans in both the visual and performing arts. However, the dramatic arts were not stopped in the Middle East. Theatre spread rapidly both to the east and to the west. In both India and in the Grecian Isles rituals were performed well before the 1000 B.C.
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Theatre in the West The Greeks By about 1000 B.C. the first city-state of Athens produced spectacular theatre. During the first 150 years of this new history, Athens created four of the greatest playwrights and the most important dramatic theories in the history of theatre. During the next 350 years, the Greeks developed one of the greatest movements of theatre that has ever existed. I suppose the reason for this is because it was the beginning of organized,
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This note was uploaded on 04/09/2008 for the course THEA 101 taught by Professor Miller during the Spring '08 term at University of Utah.

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Theatre lessons - Where did theatre come from As we discussed in the last lesson theatre originated out of ceremonies usually associated with

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