Ancient Drama.docx

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March 1st CLCV 1002 B
Ancient Drama
- During religious events only (ex. Festival of Dionysus)
- Competitive
- Presence of chorus
Physical setting:
- Epidros theatre holds 20, 000 people
- Sit on stone bench for hours watching plays, no roof
- First seats reserved for politicians, priests, dignitaries, etc.
- Theatre cut into hill side
- Acoustics of shape are spectacular
- Round area for chorus, narrow stage for actors
- Passageways into round area. Enter from right= coming from “the city”, enter from left= coming
from abroad/country
- Theatron= place where audience sits, comes from greek word “to watch”
- Orchestra= round chorus area, means “ a dancing place”. Circular because chorus dances in a
circle. Altar in the middle of it.
- Parodos= passageways onto the stage
- Skene= a building that is part of the stage
Theatrical Devices: Used to make plays more spectacular
- Theologeion= Roof of the skene, means “place where the Gods speak”. Actors playing Gods
speak from there so separated from other characters.
- Mechane= Crane. Flys characters onto the stage, used to make a God fly onto the theologeion to
address the audience.
- Deus ex machine= Means “the god from the machine”. Presents an unlikely solution to an
unsolvable problem. The characters can’t solve the problem so a God is flown in at the end of
the play and solves the problem for them.
- Ekkyklema= “Thing that you can wheel out”. A little platform on wheels, behind closed Skene
doors for most of play then brought out at the right time.
Violent acts are pollution so can’t show them. Can’t show extreme violence on stage but
can describe them and then show the results of the violence.
Messenger describes the violence and then the results are brought out on the
Ex: Mangled body of Pentheus at the end of the Bacchae.
Parts of a tragedy:
- Prologos (prologue): “Speech that begins the tragedy
Always true, spoken by an omniscient character. Ex: Dionysus in the Bacchae
God usually speaks prologue
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