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Theatre OriginsGreat Basin College(4 Pages | 1900 Words)Theatre OriginsThere is no clear evidence of the true origins of theatre. There are many theories and speculations about the location of the beginning of theatre. It is agreed that a form of theatre has been present since human civilization first began. The form of theater that we know today has a long and rich history that began in Africa as rituals which eventually evolved into the spectacular plays that are done today.The first know dramatic presentations occurred in northern Africa, alongside the Nile River in ancient Egypt, as much as five thousand years ago, possibly as early as 3300 B.C. There are indications of ritual performances in the activities of literally hundreds of ancient African tribal groups, dating as far back as 600 B. C (Cohen, 2014). A ritual is described as a collective ceremony, performed by members of a society, normally for religious or cultural reasons. These were typically performed for special occasions like weddings, deaths, summoning of gods, seasonal changes, and other various things of that nature. So even though these may have seemed theatrical, many of them were not designed for a traditional audience. Many of these rituals did not have props but did eventually incorporated them into the rituals. They did use many of the tools essential to today’s theatre like masks, stages, make up, dance, and music. As human civilization began to travel across the continents, rituals and storytelling did too. Different regions incorporated their own rituals. As time continued, these rituals began to evolve into what we would consider a more traditional theatre performance like the ones observed today. The first occurrence of theatrical performance was documented in Egypt. The first knownEgyptian drama, known as the Abydos Passion Play, was apparently performed each spring on a boat procession on the Nile, with performance taking place at several temples along the way. Performing theatre in this style did eventually spread to Greece and India. The Greek theatre history began with festivals honoring their gods. A god, Dionysus, was honored with a festival called by “City Dionysia”(Ancient Greek Theatre, 2012). The drama of Athens in the fifth century B.C. still stands as one of the greatest bodies of theatrical creation of all time. Greek drama established the formal foundations of Western theater, shaping and defining the essential concepts-such as tragedy,
comedy, characters, and plotlines- that remain essential to drama as we know it today (Cohen, 2014). Because of the conflicts occurring within Greece, the Romans began to improve theatrical performances. They developed more extravagant stages which are still standing to the present day. Many of the works done by the Roman playwrights Plautus and Terence are still performed today. However, the popularity of theatre in Rome began to decline and many of the theatres were used for gladiator fighting. The fall of the Roman Empire lead to the religion of Christianity banning theatre. Eventually