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HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF GREEK THEATER/DRAMA

Drama: an action filled story, prose, composition or dialogue intended to be acted out on stage using
actors.

The Greeks were the very first to have dramas. Between 600 and 200 BC (Twenty-five hundred
years ago) was when the Western theatre was born in Athens, Greece. The ancient Athenians
theatre culture is still around and used today. The Greek created plays that are still considers the
worlds greatest works of drama. The Athenians thought that the ideas for the dramas came from
one of their gods called Dionysus.

Beginnings of Greek Drama:
Greek Drama began as a form of religious worship to the Greek God Dionysus.
The earliest forms of drama included religious chants and songs performed by a chorus.
New myths were added to introduced.
Second and third actors added to the drama when acted out.
Chorus reduced from as many as 50 people to 15 people.
The dialogue of actors became gradually more important.

Types of Drama
Comedy- a funny drama that often made fun of men who were high in power. Famous comedy writers
include Aristophanes and later Menander.
Tragedy- about a character who commits a crime. These played typically involved love, pride, power,
loss. The plays were also God and man centered. Famous tragic writers include Aeschylus, Sophocles,
and Euripides.
Satyr- a quick play that pokes fun at the main characters situation and that is performed in-between acts
of the tragedy plays.


Who is Dionysus?

Dionysus is the God of wine and vegetation. He is kind and gentle-natured to the Maenads or
Bacchantes. But, Dionysus is cold and cruel to those who don't believe in him.Dionysus is believed to die
every Winter and rebirth in the Spring. This cycle is an embodied idea of resurrection by his believers.

Theatre and Tradition
Theatres were built into natural hillsides. Greek actors were all men. These actors wore large masks to
indicate emotion and the nature of the character being portrayed. Also, each mask had a megaphone so
everyone in the audience could hear well.
During the Dionysian Festival, an event, the Greater Dionysia was held for 5 days during the spring.
During these few days, each writer would present 3 tragedies and a satyr play. 15,000 people would sit
through each play, intently watching. In the end, they would vote for their favorites by casting stone
ballots.The winners would be awarded the Laurel Wreath.Sophocles won this award more than 20 times.
Greek Drama Examples:
Diskolos (The Grouch, 317 B.C.) A comedy by Meander
Oedipus Trilogy by Sophocles
Antigone by Sophocles
The Oresteia by Aeschylus
Helena by Euripides

Timeline of Greek Theatre

543 B.C Tragedy introduced at City Dionysia Festival
525 B.C Aeschylus was born
496 B.C Sophocles was born
480 B.C Euripides was born
470 B.C Socrates was born
468 B.C Sophocles won first prize with Triptolemus
458 B.C Aeschylus won first prize with Oresteia
456 B.C Aeschylus died
440 B.C Euripides produced Rhesus, Sophocles exhibits Antigone
430 B.C Sophocles creates Oedipus the King
425 B.C Euripides creates Electra
423 B.C Aristophanes creates Clouds
421 B.C Aristophanes creates Peace
415 B.C Euripides creates Heracles, Trojan Women, and Iphigeneic; Aristophanes exhibits Birds
411 B.C Aristophanes creates Lyrsistrata
410 B.C Sophocles exhibits Electra
408 B.C Euripides creates Orestes
405 B.C Euripides and Sophocles die, Aristophanes creates Frogs, Euripides Bacche was produced
401 B.C Socrates Oedipus at Colonus was produced
399 B.C Socrates was executed
388 B.C Aristophanes died
384 B.C Aristotle was born
350 B.C Theater of Epidaurus was built
342 B.C Meander was born
336 B.C Aristotle creates Poetics
322 B.C Aristotle died
316 B.C Meander exhibits The Malcontat
305 B.C Meander creates The Women From Samos
291 B.C Meander died
250 B.C Theatre at Syracuse was rebuilt, Theatre at Ephesus was built


WHO ARE THESE FOLLOWING PEOPLE

Aeschylus
Aeschylus (525/524 BC c. 456/455 BC) was the first of the three ancient Greek tragedians whose plays
can still be read or performed, the others being Sophocles and Euripides. He is often described as the
father of tragedy. Our knowledge of the genre begins with his work and our understanding of earlier
tragedies is largely based on inferences from his surviving plays. According to Aristotle, he expanded the
number of characters in plays to allow for conflict amongst them, whereas previously characters had
interacted only with the chorus.

Only seven of his estimated seventy to ninety plays have survived into modern times, and there is a
longstanding debate about his authorship of one of these plays, Prometheus Bound. Fragments of some
other plays have survived in quotes and more continue to be discovered on Egyptian papyrus, often
giving us surprising insights into his work. He was probably the first dramatist to present plays as a trilogy;
his Oresteia is the only ancient example of the form to have survived.

At least one of his works was influenced by the Persian invasion of Greece, which took place during his
lifetime. This play, The Persians, is the only extant classical Greek tragedy concerned with recent history
(very few of that kind were ever written)[8] and it is a useful source of information about that period. So
important was the war to Aeschylus and the Greeks that, upon his death, around 456 BC, his epitaph
commemorated his participation in the Greek victory at Marathon rather than his success as a playwright.

He was a deep, religious thinker. Few poets have ever presented evil in such stark and tragic terms, yet
he had an exalted view of Zeus, whom he celebrated with a grand simplicity reminiscent of the Psalms,
and a faith in progress or the healing power of time.

Euripides
Euripides was born in 480 BC and died in 406 BC. Euripides was the youngest of the three principal fifth-
century tragic poets. His work, which was quite popular in his own time, exerted great influence on
Roman drama. In more recent times he has influenced English and German drama, and most
conspicuously such French dramatists as Pierre Corneille and Jean-Baptiste Racine.

His plays began to be performed in the Attic drama festivals in 454 BC, but it was not until 442 BC that he
won first prize. This distinction, despite his prolific talent, fell to him again only four times. Aside from his
writings, his chief interests were philosophy and science.

Euripides represented the new moral, social, and political movements that were taking place in Athens
towards the end of the 5th century BC. It was a period of enormous intellectual discovery, in which
"wisdom" ranked as the highest earthly accomplishment. Anaxagoras had just proven that air was an
element, and that the sun was not a divinity but matter. New truths were being established in all
departments of knowledge, and Euripides, reacting to them, brought a new kind of consciousness to the
writing of tragedy. His interest lay in the thought and experience of the ordinary individual rather than in
the experiences of legendary figures of the heroic past.

WHAT IS DRAMATURGY

the theory and practice of dramatic composition.
Dramaturgy is the art of dramatic composition and the representation of the main elements of
drama on the stage. The word dramaturgy was coined by Gotthold Ephraim Lessing. Dramaturgy
is a distinct practice separate from play writing and directing, although a single individual may
perform any combination of the three. Some dramatists combine writing and dramaturgy when
creating a drama. Others work with a specialist, called a dramaturg, to adapt a work for the stage.
Dramaturgy may also be defined, more broadly, as shaping a story into a form that may be acted.
Dramaturgy gives the work or the performance a structure. From 1767-1770 Lessing wrote and
published a series of criticisms entitled the Hamburg Dramaturgy (Hamburgische
Dramaturgie). These works analyzed, criticized and theorized the German theatre, and made
Lessing the father of modern Dramaturgy
Another important work to the Western theatre tradition work is the Poetics by Aristotle (written
around 335 BC). In this work Aristotle analyzes tragedy. He considers Oedipus Rex (c. 429 BC)
as the quintessential dramatic work. He analyzes the relations among character, action, and
speech, gives examples of what he considers to be good plots, and examines the reactions the
plays provoke in the audience. Many of his "rules" are often associated with "Aristotelian drama",
wherein deus ex machina is a weakness and the action is structured economically. In Poeticshe
discusses many key concepts of drama, such as anagnorisis and catharsis. In the last century
Aristotle's analysis has formed the basis for numerous TV and film-writing guides.
The Poetics is the earliest surviving Western work of dramatic theory. Probably the earliest non-
Western dramaturgic work is the Indian Sanskrit "Natayasatra" ('The Art of Theatre') written
about AD 100, which describes the elements, forms and narrative elements of the ten major types
of ancient Indian dramas.

WHAT IS AMPITHEATER
(especially in Greek and Roman architecture) a round or oval building, typically unroofed, with a central
space for the presentation of dramatic or sporting events. Tiers of seats for spectators surround the
central space.

THEATER AND THEATRE
In most contexts, there is no difference in meaning between theater and theatre. Neither has any special
definitions in general usage. The main thing that most English speakers and learners need to know is that
theater is the preferred spelling in American English, and theatre is preferred virtually everywhere else.

Some Americans do make distinctionsfor instance, that a theater is a venue while theatre is an art form,
or that a theater is a movie theater while a theatre is a drama venue. There is nothing wrong with making
these distinctions, but they are not consistently borne out in general usage. Even in 21st-century writing
on the art of theater, the more American spelling now appears for all senses of the word.

The American preference for theater is a late-20th-century development (though the spelling itself is a
centuries-old variant), so it is understandable that some people still resist it, and its newness means that
exceptions are very easily found, but in this century the preference is entrenched. Searching a selection
of 40 American news and cultural publications that put their content online, theaters appears 8,500 times
from 2000 to the present, against just under 200 instances of theatres. This just suggests that theater is
the preferred spelling for actual venues (the art form is a mass noun so would only rarely be pluralized),
which no one seems to dispute. Whats more interesting is that the phrase theater critic appears 260
times against three instances of theatre critic, theater actor appears 43 times against zero instances of
theatre actor, theater scene appears 60 times against two instances of theatre scene, and the phrase
contemporary theater appears 27 times against two instances of contemporary theatre (and both of these
are in names of buildings).

Meanwhile, ngrams meant to draw out any preference for theatre as the spelling for the art form in U.S.
books shows theater ahead even in these uses over the last few decades (the links in this sentence point
to some of the ngrams).