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Chap4 - Part 2 Varieties of Theatrical Experience Awareness...

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Unformatted text preview: Part 2: Varieties of Theatrical Experience Awareness of past theatrical practices: – Enriches current and future practices – Enlightens us to cultural assumptions and values of various times and places Oscar Brockett Author of The Essential Theatre, Eighth Edition Until the 16 th century, Western Theatre: • Performed primarily at festivals • Financed by community • Performed by community • Occurred for brief periods each year • Presented as offering to a god • Presented for enjoyment of general public • Flourished in Greece , Rome , medieval Europe Chapter 4: Festival Theatre Until the 16 th century, Western Theatre: • Performed primarily at festivals • Financed by community • Performed by community • Occurred for brief periods each year • Presented as offering to a god • Presented for enjoyment of general public • Flourished in Greece , Rome , medieval Europe Chapter 4: Festival Theatre Greek, Roman, and Medieval Theatrical Experiences The Theatre of Ancient Greece • Origins of Western Theatre traced to Ancient Greece • Ancient Greek Beliefs: • Humans can make significant decisions • Democracy • Not all people are equal: Greeks kept slaves and denied women any public role in society • Happiness depends upon harmony between human and supernatural forces • Numerous gods: conceived of as immortal human beings with flaws The Theatre of Ancient Greece • Greek Drama: • Emphasizes attempts of humans to control own destinies • Tragedies often focus on results of attempting to escape fate • Presented exclusively at festivals honoring the god Dionysus = god of wine and fertility • Festivals: • By 5 th century, Athens held 4 festivals per year in honor of Dionysus • 3 of 4 festivals including theatrical performances • Major Festival = City Dionysia City Dionysia • Religious and Civic celebration • 534 B.C. = first recorded contest for Best Tragedy • Winner = Thespis • Competition = • 3 dramatists compete • Each presents 3 tragedies and 1 satyr play satyr play = short, comic play poking fun at a Greek myth using a chorus of satyrs (half-man/half-goat characters) • 5 days of performances • Performances started at dawn and probably lasted all day • Plays open to everyone, but primary audience = men and boys City Dionysia • 3 tragedies x 3 playwrights = 9 tragedies per City Dionysia • 9 tragedies x 100 years = 900 tragedies during 5 th century B.C. • 32 plays have survived • All 32 plays written by 3 dramatists: • Aeschylus (523-456 B.C.) • Sophocles (496-406 B.C.) • Euripides (480-406 B.C.) • Sophocles’ Oedipus often considered the best The Theatre of Dionysus • Location: slope of hill beneath Athenian Acropolis • Theatron = “seeing place” • Stadium-like stone seats • Capacity = 14,000-17,000 • Orchestra = “dancing place” • Main performance space • Circular • 65 ft. in diameter The Theatre of Dionysus • Thymele = alter to Dionysus • Originally located at center of orchestra...
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Chap4 - Part 2 Varieties of Theatrical Experience Awareness...

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