What Did The Actors Perform In The Theater Of Ancient Greece

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What Did The Actors Perform In The Theater Of Ancient Greece
What Did The Actors Perform In The Theater Of Ancient Greece

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Video: An Introduction to Greek Theatre 2022, December

Ancient Greece is the birthplace of theatrical art. For the first time, the construction of theatrical buildings began in it, the first dramatic genres appeared, and the classical form of the performance took shape. The first actors also appeared in Greece. Costumes and masks played an important role in the success of their performances.

What did the actors perform in the theater of ancient Greece
What did the actors perform in the theater of ancient Greece

The origin and features of the theater of ancient Greece

The origin of the theater is associated with the cult of Dionysus, who was originally considered the god of the productive forces of nature, and then became the god of wine and winemaking. It was in this capacity that Dionysus was especially dear to the hearts of the ancient Greeks. Several Dionysus festivals were celebrated throughout the year in Greece. The most brilliant and luxurious of these were the Great Dionysias, which were celebrated for a whole week. The culmination of the holiday was theatrical performances in the form of dramatic competitions between the authors of tragedies and comedies.

Three tragic poets were allowed to participate in the competition. Each of them presented three tragedies that made up a trilogy and one satire drama to the discerning Athenian public. The competition lasted for three days, in each of which the works of one of the authors were played. In the late afternoon, a comedy performance was held, also submitted for the competition.

The first poet and playwright known by his name, Thespides, was himself the only performers of roles in his works. The tragedies of Thespides consisted of the actor's part, alternating with the songs of the chorus. The great creator of the classic tragedy, Aeschylus, introduced the second actor, and his younger contemporary Sophocles - the third. Thus, the maximum number of actors on the ancient Greek stage did not exceed three. But since there were many more characters in any dramatic work, each actor had to play several roles. Only men could be actors, they also played female roles. Any actor had to not only masterly recite a poetic text, but also have vocal and choreographic abilities.

Ancient Greek actors' masks and costumes

The actors wore masks that were made of wood or canvas. The canvas was stretched over the frame, covered with plaster and painted. At the same time, the masks covered not only the face, but also the entire head. The hairstyle and, if necessary, the beard were reinforced directly on the mask. In addition to the fact that a mask was made for each role, sometimes an actor needed several masks to perform one role.

The tragic actor's shoes were called caturnas. Stage shoes were a type of sandal with thick, multi-layer soles that increased the height of the actor. To make the character look more majestic, the tragic actors reinforced special "thicknesses" under their clothes, making the figure larger, while maintaining natural proportions. In comedy, such "thicknesses" were also used, but here they violated the proportions, creating a comic effect.

The cut and color of the suits were of great importance. If a figure appeared on stage in a purple or saffron-yellow cloak with a scepter in his hands, the audience immediately recognized her as the king. The queen wore a white cloak with a purple border. The soothsayers appeared before the public in plaid robes, with a brow crowned with laurels, and exiles and other losers in cloaks of blue or black. A long staff in his hands pointed to an elderly person or an old man. The easiest way was to recognize the gods: Apollo always held a bow and arrow in his hands; Dionysus - entwined with ivy and grape leaves of thyrsus, Hercules went to the stage in a lion's skin thrown over his shoulders and with a club in his hands.

The colors of the masks were of no less importance.If an actor went on stage in a white mask, it became clear that he would play a female role: male characters performed in masks in dark colors. The mood and state of mind of the characters were also read by the color of the masks. Crimson was the color of irritability, red was cunning, yellow was disease.

Actors enjoyed great respect in Greece and held a high social position. They could be elected to high government positions in Athens, and often - and sent as ambassadors to other states.

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