Theatre in Ancient Athenian Society

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  • Theatre in Ancient Athenian Society
    • Religious Context
      • Drama was only performed at Religious festivals
      • Festivals were to honour the God of theatre - Dionysus
      • The Lenaea - A drama festival at which comedy took precedence
      • Rural Dionysia - A drama festival held in the rural demes of Attica
    • The City Dionysia
      • Held in late March to celebrate the coming of spring
      • The start of sailing season allowed the Athenians to show off their city
      • Public business ceased
      • Organised by a leading politician (eponymous archon)
      • Each playwright was given a choregos (financial backer)
      • Liturgy = A tax on the super-rich requiring them to contribute to Athens
      • Proagon - a preview and introduction to the festival
      • Dithyramb - a choral dance in honor of Dionysus
    • Structure of the theatre
      • Theatron - The seating area
      • Prohedria - The front row reserved for VIP
      • Orchestra - Where the chorus performed
      • Eisodos - the entry way into  the orchestra
      • Skene - the wooden hut used as a backdrop and for actors to change
      • Wheel platform - Brought on stage to show something that happened off-stage
      • Crane - used to lift an actor above the level of the skene
    • Visual and Material representation
      • Medea Vase
        • C. 400 BC
        • Mixing-bowl
        • Shows Medea's escpae
        • Shows the use of the crane and wheel platform
      • Wurzburg Telephus Vase
        • C. 380 - 370 BC
        • Shows a scene from a Aristophanes comedy
        • Mixing bowl


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