Grinning masks, padded fat suites, and enlarged genitals all have something in common. They were part of a comedy in the classical Greek theater. The theater originated around 400 B.C. and different types of plays were common. The comedy and tragedy is what I will focus on along with the theater itself and some terms from the theater.
The theater itself was held outside in an amphitheater. The auditorium originally had seat made of wood, but later stone was used. The seats were shaped in a half circle of bleacher like seating on one side of the stage. Sometimes there was a more elaborate chair front row center. This chair was used for the priest of the city. The city counsels and soldiers had there own sections to sit in close to the priest. In the city of Dionysus the front row seats were labeled for high-ranking officials. The soldiers were forced to come to the plays so they could learn from the mistakes made by characters in the plays (Ross, 29).
Behind the stage stood a small hut called the skene. The skene was were the actors changed costumes. In later theaters this was decorated with columns. In front of the stage was the orchestra, meaning "dancing place". The chorus preformed there with not only song but dance as well (Ross, 30). There was normally a single musical instrument most likely a flute, but it could have been a lute. The chorus was the most expensive part of the play. The chorus had many functions
Functions of the chorus
1. An agent: gives advice, asks, and takes part
2. Establishes ethical frameworks, sets up standard by which action will be judged
3. Ideal spectator - reacts as playwright hopes audience would
4. Sets mood and heightens dramatic effects
5. Adds movement, spectacle, song, and dance
6. Rhythmical function - pauses / paces the action so that the audience can reflect.
The actors of the Greek theater were their playwrights, but by 449 B.C. there were contest for
Bibliography: Books: Ross, Stewart (1999). Greek Theatre. Chicago: Peter Bedrick Books Website 1 Dr. Trumbull, Eric W. (2001, March 18). Ancient Greek Theatre. Retrieved 11-28-06, from http://novaonline.nvcc.edu/eli/spd130et/ancientgreek.htm Website 2 Wild, Larry. (2004, August 2). Greek and Roman Theatre. Retrieved 11-28-06, from http://www.northern.edu/wild/th100/CHAPT10.HTM Website 3 Polio, Norine. The Grouch (Dyskolos) by Menander An Example of Greek New Comedy. Retrieved 11-28-06, from http://www.yale-university.com/ynhti/curriculum/units/1984/2/84.02.07.x.html