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Notes for Introduction to Theater

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Theatre and dance
T D 301
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Introduction to Theatre Notes • Why Study Theatre History o Understanding past cultures o Understanding modern culture o A source of inspiration • Origins and Context th o 5 century BC Athens o Greek Society  Polytheistic • Human like gods  Democracy (sort of) • 2/3 of population were slaves • 1/3 were the population • Half of the real were women, which did not count, so 1/6 could vote o Dionysus  The God • Human mother, father was god Zeus  His followers • A feeling of divine by God o Dithyramb  A song in honor of Dionysus o Thespis?  First person to ever appear as an actor in a play o The Festival Dionysia  Festival dedicated to Dionysus where it was a set of plays about the tragedy of Dionysus. It was a contest to determine who could write the best play. Spring time festival when the shipping routes were open; a lot of travelers coming in and out. These plays tended to glorify Athens. • The Space & Machinery o It changed and became bigger and bigger. Used to be on the side of a hill, but involved over time to seating on the side of a hill. o Orchestra – round circle in the middle/bottom of the theatre. 65 feet wide. Was the dancing space, not for instrumental play. o Theatron – the seeing place (14000 seats). Built along a hill. o Thymele – right in the center of the orchestra area, was an altar for Dionysus. Was a sacred space. o Skene – literally means “hut”. It is the hut for real. Back of the stage, holds the backdrop. o Eccyclema – platform on wheels that could be rolled out. Mainly used to show dead bodies. Actors never died on stage,
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