Chapter7overviewvocab.docx - CHAPTER 7 Theatre Traditions...

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CHAPTER 7 Theatre Traditions: East and West OVERVIEW Origins Some of the world’s greatest plays grew from the roots of plays from the past. An example of lineage can be seen with Hamlet. Shakespeare’s Hamlet is a revision of an earlier English play, and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard is the retelling of the Hamlet story from the perspective of two of Shakespeare’s minor characters. Though the past lives in the theatre of today, no one knows how drama began, but the two foundations of theatre, ritual and storytelling, continue to be the essential elements: ritual being born out of the religious experience, and storytelling out of the personal. The introduction of spoken dialogue into shamanistic rites initiates traditional drama. Sub- Saharan Africa contains a vast array of traditional drama combining ritual and storytelling. The Shaman, mediating between spirit and earthly realities, combines ritual and storytelling in performances that utilize trance and magic, masks, dancing, and striking acts of physical endurance to transform himself into a spirit presence. Moving from sub-Saharan Africa, theatrical performances moved along the Nile to Egypt. Written records exist of a springtime resurrection drama, known as the Abydos Passion Play , performed in Egypt at least as early as 2500 B.C. This boat procession along the Nile, revealing that from death and tragedy comes rejuvenation derived from even more ancient ritualized reenactments of coming of spring. WEST Greek and Roman The ancient Greek theatre was one whose artistic achievement in a span of 100 years was tremendous. It was a theatre of intense sound and movement, of sometimes obscene, scandalous, and blasphemous images rooted in the violence of life, of persistent examination of the social and ethical aspects of war, murder, lust, and betrayal. Greek theatre’s origins lie in religion, both in terms of its portrayal of humans’ relationship to the supernatural and in its form. From the dithyrambos , a drunken fertility ritual

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