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THE2000 notes

THE2000 notes - What is Theatre Questions for this weeks...

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What is Theatre ? Questions for this week’s lesson: Where did theatre begin? How? What was theatre like in the beginning? What was theatre’s place (or  function) in Greek society? What forms did theatre take in classical Greece? What happened when Greece fell? In the Beginning... The Origins of Western Theatre Two of the major theories: Ritual o Dithyramb o Phallic Procession Great Man Theory (Gerald Else) o Thespis o Aeschylus 1
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Background 543 BCE-146 BCE (BCE = Before Common Era) Sources of information from Classical Greece o Artifacts (vases, pottery) o Ruins (Parthenon, Epidauros) o Primary Sources o Play Texts (37 extant) Cultural Context Values o Patriarchal o Competition o Beauty & Harmony o Humanism 2
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o Agon/Debate Politics o City-States (Athens & Sparta) o Democracy Greek Theatre - The "Building" Audience Capacity Location Terms to know from the Ground Plan of a Greek Theatre (see the locations  on the diagram below): o Orchestra / Orkestra = "dancing place" o Theatron = "viewing place" o Parados = "passageway" o Skene = "tent" o QuickTime B and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. The Festival 3
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City Dionysia  (Dionysis= God of Theater, Fertility & Spring) Thespis, the Parian Marble & 534 BCE 7 days o Days 1-3 = parades and processions o Days 4-6 = 3 tragedies and a satyr play (each day) o Day 7 = 5 comedies Greek Tragedy Major Period : 534 BCE-404 BCE The Three Major Greek Tragic Playwrights Aeschylus (523-456 BCE) o 2nd actor o The Oresteia (trilogy including Agamemnon, The Libation Bearers &  The Eumenides) o Plot of The Oresteia Sophocles (495-406 BCE) o 3rd actor o Oedipus Rex, Antigone Euripides (480-406 BCE) o Medea, The Bacchae 4
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o Plot of Medea Behind the Scenes of Greek Tragedy Playwrights (didaskalos) Play Selection Choregos Civic Duty Rehearsals Prizes Performances: Chorus (50-12 men) Actors - 1, 2, 3 Conventions o Masks o The importance of voice o Not Realism o Men o No violence on stage Special Effects 5
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o Ekkyklema o Mechane/Machina (Deus ex machina) Aristotle & Poetics "Tragedy, then, is a process of imitating an action which has serious implications, is  complete, and possesses magnitude; by means of language which has been made  sensuously attractive, with each of its varieties found separately in the parts; enacted by  the persons themselves and not presented through narrative; through a course of pity  and fear completing the purification of tragic acts which have those emotional  characteristics."  (Aristotle, Poetics, Gerald Else translation, p 25)
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