The HISTORY of THEATREAn Exploration into the Human Story.
Okay….•It’s not the WHOLEhistory of theatre.•Just a “quick”look at the evolution of Western Theatre. •Therefore this is not the complete story! Remember there was a lot of other theatre happening around the world.
GREEK THEATRE(From 7thCentury B.C.E)•Greek theatre was created to celebrate religious festivals.•A chorus was used to either sing or chant the script.•It is unknown if Thespis was a playwright, an actor or a priest, but he has been credited for creating the “first actor” who broke away from the chorus and would speak to the chorus as an individual character. This is why actors are also known as “Thespians”.•This lead to the creation of character.•Masks were used to allow the actors to play more than one character.
Greek Theatre – The creation of CharacterThe following playwrights contributed to the creation of character:•Aeschylusintroduced the idea of using a second and third actor which allowed for interaction between characters.•Sophoclescontinued the creation of character by using the chorus less, and creating more dialogue between characters.
ROMAN THEATRE(From Approximately the 4thCentury B.C.E)•The Romans were greatly influenced by Greek Theatre.•The word “play” comes from the Latin word “ludus” which means recreation or play.•The Roman playwright Terence introduced the concept of a subplot allowing the audience to contrast the reactions of different characters to the same events or circumstances. •Roman Theatre was less influenced by religion than Greek theatre.
ROMAN THEATRE•The audience was often loud and rude. The audience did not applaud, but rather were always shouting insults and booing.•Since the audience was so loud, much of the plays were pantomimed and repetitive. •The actors developed a code which would tell the audience about a character just by looking at them.•For example:–A black wig: the character was a young man–A red wig: the character was a slave.–A yellow robe: the character was a woman–A yellow tassel: the character was a god.
Medieval European Theatre(Approximately began in the 5thCentury)•After the fall of the Roman Empire, cities were abandoned, and Europe became increasingly more agricultural.•After several hundred years, towns re-emerged.•The Roman Catholic Church dominated religion, education and politics. It also had a strong influence on theatre.•Theatre was “reborn” as “liturgical dramas” which were written in Latin and performed by priests or church members. Plots were taken from the Christian Bible.•Performances also were held to celebrate religious festivals (as in Greek times)
Medieval European Theatre•Later “vernacular dramas” were written in common language (therefore everyone could understand).