Lecture_Seven - Lecture 7 FOREIGN AND NATIVE ROMAN...

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Lecture 7: FOREIGN AND NATIVE: ROMAN RELIGION (cont'd) and ROMAN COMEDY I. The setting of Roman comedy Constant mix of Greek and roman, they aren’t copying,they don’t have regular theaters we have today, they are apart of festivals, it’s like the circus, no regular system, commercial sponsorship, people want to get elected so they sponsor games and plays, this doesn’t produce high end productions, you want to entertain people. Very similar to today’s sitcoms. a. festivals; the festive spirit; Saturnalia ( ancient and modern ) – turns things upside down, one big festival in Rome, this festival to take place on december 24, christmas wasn’t fixed until the 4 th century. It’s the winter solstace. For one day the slaves and kids are masters- central to comedy b. commercialism; sponsorship; effect on plots; the competition- they have to compete against the gladiators and everything else out there c. comedy as inversion of reality: clever Greek slaves; braggart soldiers; old and young folks; mistaken identities – you cant say this is how Romans live, you get stock characters, you get teens in love for the first time, and the old people want to keep their money, making people funny, not a reality and mistaken identites- bro and sis separated and then almost marry. d. the theater buildings; Greece (Epidauros); orchestra-where the play was performed in the circle, skene-there to store things, then later the plays begin to take place there; Rome (Theater of Pompey - 1st cent.); scaenae frons – the Greek theater is not a status theater, anyone can sit almost anywhere, mark in the center of orchestra is the alter to dionysis, roman comedies were musicals. b. Romans have the half shell, there is a permanent scenery, it shows that they are doing well, they are in the cities and not on the country side, the theater was totally inclosed, it is a status theater, slaves on top, high soceity got to go closer, people can get in and out very quickly, vommitoria- to chuck people out, orchestra is cut in half, most being performed were about 30 minutes, theater is there to entertain people, not to teach them anything. II. The mix of Greek and Roman a. Greek comedy of the Hellenistic period (after the death of Alexander the Great in 323 B.C.); domestic comedy- all the great roman leaders always have their eye on him and they want to be his next successor. Alexander opened up the world and brought the east and west together, the
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comedy is called domestic comedy- it deals with family, dealing with the old and the young. Its more subtle in Rome comedy. If they want high brow comedy against the gladiators, they wouldn’t fill the seats, they filled the seats three ways b. Roman elements 1. satura ; musical –satire, its not terribly organized, these are musicals- very popular and shorter 2. stock characters (cf. sitcoms)- the complexity is being reduced, have the same people do the same things over and over again, you know what to expect, there are no big surprises.
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Lecture_Seven - Lecture 7 FOREIGN AND NATIVE ROMAN...

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