The contemporary Greek play was an amalgamation of several artistic tools like pictures for example the one shown below which conveyed strong message to the audience.
There were numerous other scenic elements used in the Greek theater. When a crane was used (called machina in Greek), it gave an impression of an airborne actor. A wheeled wagon was also common in the Greek playhouses and it made it possible for the audience to view dead characters. Openings in the ground, for example trap doors, were vital as they were used to elevate people onto the stage. Pictures like the one above, pinakes, were used to demonstrate a scene’s backdrop. Satyr plays were very common in the Greek playhouses just as were the tragedies. Phallic props were used in such plays to symbolize fertility in of the Roman and the Greek god of wine- Dionysus.
Elizabethan acting was not any near ‘naturalistic.’ The repertory of the Elizabethan era was extremely divergent from that of the present as was the demands on Elizabethan actors compared to the present day’s actors. Elizabethan theaters in two weeks could frequently present “eleven shows of ten dissimilar plays”. Playhouses would not show again the same play two days in a row. The Elizabethan Era was moment that reflected the atmosphere and values of the 16th century through the application of fashion. It was a phase where a lot of uniqueness and originality was manifest and was used to produce fresh styles of dress. The style in Elizabethan England at this time replicated the worth and principles of the era.
The physical theatre spaces, sets, Costumes, Lights, Who would be in the audience
Much may not be available to talk about the performance space for the Greek plays. This because all that is available for consultation is basically the works of literature. However, the Greek performances took place in theaters which could be subdivided into three: Athenian, Graeco-Roman and Hellenistic.
In the Elizabethan era the theater consisted of theater not only as a form of art but also as a form of institution as well. There was originality then as evidenced in dressing styles and the costumes. However, the Elizabethan playhouse never made use of prolific or lavish scenery, but as an alternative the stage was left largely exposed with a few key props, the chief visual appeal on stage was in the costumes. Costumes were habitually brilliant in color and visually enchanting. Costumes were expensive, nonetheless, so generally players wore fashionable clothing in spite of the time interlude of the play. Intermittently, a lead character would be dressed in a conventionalized edition of more historically accurate apparel, but secondary characters would nevertheless remain in fashionable attire- (Bracewell, N. 1999).
The Greek theaters were filled with Athenians who formed a majority of the judges (audience). There was an extremely large audience who were won by the playwrights through distribution of small gifts and flattery as well.
Dealing with rowdy (in the strict sense of being extremely loud) was a challenge the playwrights had learned to deal with through performance of some outrageous and interesting act to draw the attention of the spectators.
What might be the topic of a play in theater? What was not acceptable as a topic for a play?
The Greek plays circulated around tragedies, comedies or satyrs. This was also the case with Elizabethan era whose plays got much support fro the queen. In the Greek era women were forbidden from acting thus all the actors then were men. In terms of the experience, in relation to the Elizabethan era, the religiosity of the community or the individual played a major role. However, most of those who went to the theaters enjoyed dancing and playing other games like cards.
In the Greek era, it was quite a motivating factor that every day of performance there had to be at least totally different issue or subject matter of performance. It would therefore motivate audience who crowded the Athenian theaters to have their full experience. In this era too, the experience of an individual was wholly or jointly dependent on the social class of the community or individual. The higher caste would have their best when it comedy while the lower class individuals were little more violent- (Ruben F. 2006).
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