A history of the actors and chorus in the ancient greek theatre

See Article History Chorus, in drama and music, those who perform vocally in a group as opposed to those who perform singly. The chorus in Classical Greek drama was a group of actors who described and commented upon the main action of a play with song, dance, and recitation.

A history of the actors and chorus in the ancient greek theatre

Although the Greeks were not the first to perform plays, they were very interested in the origins of tragedy and comedy.

In their writings, the philosopher Aristotle and other Greek writers proposed theories and created stories of how the art form of theater was developed. The Outdoor Theater Greek plays were performed in outdoor theaters. At the start, the theaters were in open areas located in the center of the city or next to hillsides.

The audience would stand or sit to listen and watch the chorus sing about the adventures of a god or hero.

Toward the end of the 6th century B. As the theater became more and more popular and competitive among cities, theaters became larger with some structures accommodating as many as 15, people at one time. The earliest orchestras were made of very hard earth but eventually, as the theater evolved, the orchestra was paved with marble or other flooring.

The center of the orchestra usually contained an altar to the gods.

A history of the actors and chorus in the ancient greek theatre

The orchestra was generally about 60 feet in diameter. The theatron The viewing place or theatron was usually built on a hillside that overlooked the orchestra. The seats in the theatron were stepped up the hillside and fanned out around the orchestra so that the audience could see the actors and chorus below.

In the fifth century B.

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The curved structure of the theatron amplified the sound so that even if you were seated up the hillside you could hear what the actors were saying and what the chorus was singing. The skene The skene was a building that was on the side of the orchestra that was the furthest distance away from the audience.

About 25 feet wide and 10 feet deep, the stage was raised steps higher than the orchestra. The skene was directly in back of the stage and was decorated as a temple or palace as a backdrop for the play.

The skene contained a set of doors for the actors to make exits and entrances.

However, acting as we know it originated thousands of years ago with quite a different audience in mind.
Archeological remains of buildings Visual art - primarily from vase painting Therefore, the conclusions we make are highly conjectural, but we can discuss the standard accepted views of Greek theatre. By 5th century B.
Etymology[ edit ] Historian H.
Panoramic view of the ancient theatre at Epidaurus.
Ancient Greek Theatre - Facts for Kids Photo by Andrew Mirhej Although the historical origins of Greek drama are unclear it may be said it had relevance to religion, art and to the love of expression and perceptive storytelling in general.

Their masks and props would be stored inside the skene for easy access. There was also access to the roof of the skene. If an actor played a Greek god in the play he might be seen on the roof. At the beginning, the skene was just a tent but as Greek theater evolved, the skene became a permanent stone structure.

A history of the actors and chorus in the ancient greek theatre

The parodos The parodos were passageways on either side of the orchestra between the orchestra and seating area. The chorus and some of the actors, such as those who played messengers, made their entrances and exits using these passageways. The parodos were also used by the audience to enter and exit the theater.

The play began with a beginning speech spoken by one or two of the actors. This beginning speech or prologue gave background information about the characters and setting of the play. The actors were always men. Tragedies almost always were based on myths and stories from the past.

Next came the parodos named after the entrance passageways.


This was the song that the chorus sang when they first entered the orchestra area. The job of the chorus was to comment on the drama in the play. There were usually 12 to 50 players in the chorus and they spoke their lines in unison. Like the actors, they sometimes wore masks. In a sense, they were considered to be a group acting as one individual.The actors and the chorus.

The Function of Chorus in Greek Drama

The actors At first in dithyramb, there were no actors. Thespis was the poet who introduced the first hypocrite, Aeschylus the second and Sophocles the third one. Ancient Greek Theatre. The English words for tragedy and comedy come from the language of the Ancient Greeks. Although the Greeks were not the first to perform plays, they were very interested in the origins of tragedy and comedy.

Acting and Greek Theatre: Honoring Dionysus written by Melisha Childs Over the last few centuries, acting has developed into visual art that entertains people around the world in the form of stage plays or, in recent times, through the mediums of television and film.

A Greek chorus, or simply chorus (Greek: χορός, khoros) in the context of Ancient Greek tragedy, comedy, satyr plays, and modern works inspired by them, is a homogeneous, non-individualised group of performers, who comment with a collective voice on the dramatic action.

Jul 17,  · A segment from the Discovery Channel's Seven Wonders of Ancient Greece. Ancient Greek audience members would stamp their feet to show their appreciation, rather than clapping their hands. The ancient Greeks had an ingenious way of changing scenes.

They used a system of revolving upright prisms, much like the system used in modern .

Actors and Chorus - Ancient Greek Theatre