Theatrical Spectacle vs. Aristotelian Theater

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  • Topic: Theatre, Drama, Andrew Lloyd Webber
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  • Published : April 28, 2013
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Theatrical Spectacle vs. Aristotelian Theatre
The world of theatre has been an old time tradition that has brought joy and entertainment to cultures as far back as the Greeks, all the way to present day Broadway and The West End. Beginning from when the set pieces were just a stone alter in the middle of a platform on a mountainside, the stage has evolved to multi-million dollar musicals. Today people only seem to know the big musicals of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Disney. Most of the current generation has never seen a dramatic play, or heard of a Greek tragedy. What is a true play, and where are they performed? In today’s society you do not see the dramatic plays performed on Broadway or The West End of London anymore. The show that is performed is the big, flashy, multi-million dollar musical, that is more of a spectacle than an Aristotelian Greek tragedy. Aristotle was a Greek philosopher who created theatre based on his six elements of theatre, which include character, plot, theme, diction, music and spectacle. In the theatre today, the Aristotelian theatrical elements seem to all but have disappeared, with the exception of spectacle. The spectacle of theatre has become the key element when conceptualizing and designing a show today, and the Greek based dramas seem to have diminished.

To begin with, it is essential to have an understanding of what the Aristotelian theatre was and how it was performed. The Greek theatre was not performed in an indoor theatre; rather it was performed on a mountainside, with nothing but the sunlight to light the stage. The stage was bare, with an altar in the middle of it. The Greek actors consisted of a chorus that would sing/chant choral odes and setting the scene of the plot. The plays were performed in the original Greek language and plays were only performed during festivals, such as the festival of Dionysus. When it came to set design and costume design, the concepts were small in scale and served the...
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