Introduction to Theatre Notes
• Why Study Theatre History
o Understanding past cultures
o Understanding modern culture
o A source of inspiration
• Origins and Context
o 5 century BC Athens
o Greek Society
• 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
• Human mother, father was god Zeus
• A feeling of divine by God
A song in honor of Dionysus
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
o Eccyclema – platform on wheels that could be rolled out. Mainly used to show
dead bodies. Actors never died on stage,