Greek Theater Essay

Submitted By asalsedo
Words: 1590
Pages: 7

Ancient Greece have influenced many modern worldly things. One of the biggest things they influenced was modern theater. The ancient Greeks were the first masters in the art of drama. Drama tells a story through the imitation of action, it started off as a ritual associated with the worship of Dionysus, god of wine, vegetation, and seasonal regeneration and became and elaborate art (Fiero, page 90). Theatrical performances were held in the city of Athens twice a year. As theater grew more cities built theaters and held performances there. Greek dramas addressed the relationship between the individual, the community and the gods (Fiero, page 90). Ancient Greek theater was a major cultural aspect to Greek life. The Greek theater was an impressive architectural design. Their plays were staged in the open-air theaters built into the hillsides at sacred sites throughout Greece. Drama was often associated with religion so theaters were often located in or near sanctuaries (McManus, 1-2). The Greeks took advantage of sloping hillside for their terraced seating. The core of any ancient Greek theater is the orchestra. The orchestra was the center of attention; it was usually a big circle. This was the “dancing place” and preforming place for the chorus and the place where almost all the action happened during the play. The audience sat in the theatron (McManus, 1-2). It was a semi-circular terraced row of benches. In the earliest theaters these were usually wooden, but later they were built of stone. The Greeks built the seating so they were wedges. The seating capacities for most theaters were between 12,000 and 14,000 (McManus, 1-2). The Greeks were known to have excellent acoustics in their theaters. Every word spoken was heard in the top row. On the far side of the orchestra was the stage building, or skene, which means tent. The skene was a structure that was enclosed; it was originally a temporary building made of wood. This was the place where actors stored the costumes and masks. Most plays, actors had multiple roles so they would change into their other costumes in the skene too (McManus, 1-2). On either side of the stage the Greeks built long ramps called eisodoi or parodoi. These ramps were used as an entrance and an exit for the chorus members and the actors. There was also a central door the actors used to get on the stage (McManus, 1-2). For an early civilization there architectural design for their theaters are impressive. The Greeks utilized costumes when performing their plays. They also used certain structures to preform special effects. The Greeks would paint the skene; this act was called skenographia (Damen, 1). They would paint murals on the ways of the skene to indicate the setting for a particular play, just like how now we use backdrops. They also used what was called ekkulêma, which was a wheeled platform which was used to show the interior of a building (Damen, 1-2). It usually came from inside the skene. They also used a mechane which was a large crane that had a platform on it. The platform could swing and it would carry the actors. It would give the illusion of flying (Damen, 1-2). The costumes for the plays with usually very detailed. The most important part of the costume were the masks. They were made of a light weight material and painted on. The masks usually consisted of a wig. The wig length signified whether the person was young, in there mid years, or old. Masks that indicated a young man were beardless, men who were older had full beards and brown or yellow hair, and old men were portrayed as balding with long grey beards (McManus, 1-2). Women’s masks had specific features that distinguish them too. Long hair was used to portray women who were mourning and shorter hair wigs showed that the women were a slave (McManus, 1-2). The masks were painted to signify sex to; the male masks were a brownish yellow color while the women’s masks were usually white. From the seats at