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Ancient Greece

Drama and Theater

History >> Ancient Greece

One of the favorite forms of entertainment for the Ancient Greeks was the theater. It began as part of a festival to the Greek god Dionysus, but eventually became a major part of the Greek culture.

How big were the theaters?

Some of the theaters were quite large and could seat over 10,000 people. They were open-air theaters with tiered seating built in a semi-circle around the main stage. The bowl shape of the seating allowed the actors' voices to carry throughout the entire theater. Actors performed in the open area at the center of the theater, which was called the orchestra.

Types of Plays:

There were two main types of plays that the Greeks performed: tragedies and comedies. Did they have music?

Many plays were accompanied by music. Common instruments were the lyre (a stringed instrument) and the aulos (like a flute). There was also a group of performers near the front of the stage called the chorus that would chant or sing together during the play.

Actors, Costumes, and Masks

The actors wore costumes and masks to play different characters. The masks had different expressions on them to help the audience understand the character. Masks with large frowns were common for tragedies, while masks with big grins were used for comedies. The costumes were usually padded and exaggerated so they could be seen from the back seats. All of the actors were men. They dressed up as women when playing female characters.

Did they have any special effects?

The Greeks used a variety of special effects to enhance their plays. They had ways of creating sounds such as rain, thunder, and horses hooves. They used cranes to lift actors up so they appeared to be flying. They often used a wheeled platform called an "ekkyklema" to roll out dead heroes onto the stage.

Famous Greek Playwrights

The best playwrights of the day were famous celebrities in Ancient Greece. There were often competitions during festivals and the playwright with the best play was presented an award. The most famous Greek playwrights were Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes.

Interesting Facts About Greek Drama and Theater Activities For more about Ancient Greece:

Overview
Timeline of Ancient Greece
Geography
The City of Athens
Sparta
Minoans and Mycenaeans
Greek City-states
Peloponnesian War
Persian Wars
Decline and Fall
Legacy of Ancient Greece
Glossary and Terms

Arts and Culture
Ancient Greek Art
Drama and Theater
Architecture
Olympic Games
Government of Ancient Greece
Greek Alphabet

Daily Life
Daily Lives of the Ancient Greeks
Typical Greek Town
Food
Clothing
Women in Greece
Science and Technology
Soldiers and War
Slaves

People
Alexander the Great
Archimedes
Aristotle
Pericles
Plato
Socrates
25 Famous Greek People
Greek Philosophers

Greek Mythology
Greek Gods and Mythology
Hercules
Achilles
Monsters of Greek Mythology
The Titans
The Iliad
The Odyssey

The Olympian Gods
Zeus
Hera
Poseidon
Apollo
Artemis
Hermes
Athena
Ares
Aphrodite
Hephaestus
Demeter
Hestia
Dionysus
Hades

Works Cited

History >> Ancient Greece






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