Directions: All people will be assigned to one of four plays (Antigone, Media, Lysistrata or The Persians). Everyone in your group should be involved in its presentation. If a cast member with a large role is absent reassign the role and give them a smaller part.
Each group will need to create the opening Prologue and Parodos (see attached sheet). For this purpose you will have computers to do research.
after all the plays have been performed you will be participating in a graded discussion of questions 3 & 4 below. you should record your answers to these questions in your composition book under the title Greek Theater.
Criteria A will be the evaluation Criteria.
Which play have we been assigned? _______________________________ pgs. ________
Members and Roles (just make a list):
Remember the following truths about drama in Greece (see attached sheet for more information):
1. The play is made up of characters and a chorus as well as a (the chorus should open the play, you will have to look at the original or create your own, see information on the chorus below). You will also need to choose characters to present the prologue.
2. Masks were used to identify characters and their emotions. Use the paper plates to create a mask.
3. The Disk, was the place that character delivered their lines.
1. How will you use these truths in your presentation?
2. In the following space make notes that you can use to remind yourselves how you will be presenting your play.
In your composition book
3. address the question for your play only.
What does this drama tell us about the rival political views prevalent in democratic Athens in the days of Sophocles.
In what ways does Aeschylus glorify the greeks?
List several reasons Medea gives to support her claim that “we women are the most unfortunate creatures.”
What attitudes of ancient greek males toward females are reflected in our own modern Western society?
4. Theater is a creative endeavor; in what ways did it contribute to Greek society? Make sure to think beyond entertainment.
Have fun and have a nice day!
Staging an ancient Greek play
Attending a tragedy or comedy in 5th century BC Athens was in many ways a different experience than attending a play in the United States in the 20th century. To name a few differences, Greek plays were performed in an outdoor theater, used masks, and were almost always performed by a chorus and three actors (no matter how many speaking characters there were in the play, only three actors were used; the actors would go back stage after playing one character, switch masks and costumes, and reappear as another character). Greek plays were performed as part of religious festivals in honor of the god Dionysus, and unless later revived, were performed only once. Plays were funded by the polis, and always presented in competition with other plays, and were voted either the first, second, or third (last) place. Tragedies almost exclusively dealt with stories from the mythic past (there was no "contemporary" tragedy), comedies almost exclusively with contemporary figures and problems.
In what follows, we will run through an imaginary (but as far a possible, accurate) outline of the production of a Greek tragedy in 5th century BC Athens from beginning to end. The outline will bring out some of the features of creating and watching a Greek tragedy that made it a different process than it is today. Staging a play.
Greek tragedies and comedies were always performed in outdoor theaters. Early Greek theaters were probably little more than open areas in city centers or next to hillsides where the audience, standing or sitting, could watch and listen to the chorus singing about the exploits of a god or hero. From the late 6th century BC to the 4th and 3rd centuries BC there was a gradual evolution towards more elaborate theater structures, but the basic layout of the Greek theater remained the same. The major components of Greek theater are labled on the diagram above.
Orchestra: The orchestra (literally, "dancing space") was normally circular. It was a level space where the chorus would dance, sing, and interact with the actors who were on the stage near the skene. The earliest orchestras were simply made of hard earth, but in the Classical period some orchestras began to be paved with marble and other materials. In the center of the orchestra there was often a thymele, or altar. The orchestra of the theater of Dionysus in Athens was about 60 feet in diameter.
Theatron: The theatron (literally, "viewing-place") is where the spectators sat. The theatron was usually part of hillside overlooking the orchestra, and often wrapped around a large portion of the orchestra (see the diagram above). Spectators in the fifth century BC probably sat on cushions or boards, but by the fourth century the theatron of many Greek theaters had marble seats.
Skene: The skene (literally, "tent") was the building directly behind the stage. During the 5th century, the stage of the theater of Dionysus in Athens was probably raised only two or three steps above the level of the orchestra, and was perhaps 25 feet wide and 10 feet deep. The skene was directly in back of the stage, and was usually decorated as a palace, temple, or other building, depending on the needs of the play. It had at least one set of doors, and actors could make entrances and exits through them. There was also access to the roof of the skene from behind, so that actors playing gods and other characters (such as the Watchman at the beginning of Aeschylus' Agamemnon) could appear on the roof, if needed.
Parodos: The parodoi (literally, "passageways") are the paths by which the chorus and some actors (such as those representing messengers or people returning from abroad) made their entrances and exits. The audience also used them to enter and exit the theater before and after the performance.
The basic structure of a Greek tragedy is fairly simple. After a prologue spoken by one or more characters, the chorus enters, singing and dancing. Scenes then alternate between spoken sections (dialogue between characters, and between characters and chorus) and sung sections (during which the chorus danced). Here are the basic parts of a Greek Tragedy:
a. Prologue: Spoken by one or two characters before the chorus appears. The prologue usually gives the mythological background necessary for understanding the events of the play.
b. Parodos: This is the song sung by the chorus as it first enters the orchestra and dances.
c. First Episode: This is the first of many "episodes", when the characters and chorus talk.
d. First Stasimon: At the end of each episode, the other characters usually leave the stage and the chorus dances and sings a stasimon, or choral ode. The ode usually reflects on the things said and done in the episodes, and puts it into some kind of larger mythological framework.
For the rest of the play, there is alternation between episodes and stasima, until the final scene, called the...
e. Exodos: At the end of play, the chorus exits singing a processional song which usually offers words of wisdom related to the actions and outcome of the play.
Taken from: http://academic.reed.edu/humanities/110tech/theater.html