Since before the Common Era, people have found new ways of showing emotions and talent on stage. This is also referred to as stage performance, or Theatre. From play writes, to costumes, to acting, all of these things have contributed over the centuries to the modern plays that you see today, whether it be in New York, London, China, or at your local college. Beginning with the early Greeks, to the Chinese Dynasties through Shakespeare and into modern times, theatre has continuously evolved as an art form. However, it still remains a commentary on society.
Theatre originated in Greece. Reason being, it was to show love for the god Dionysus, god of fertility and wine. Four festivals were held throughout the year in his honor. This all started around the 6th century B.C.. People would gather in cities and listen to the choir sing what was known to be called a dithyramb, a hymn dedicated to Dionysus. In honor of these celebrations, they would offer a sacrifice to the god; a goat. It all started when Thespis, a choral singer, decided to jump up on stage, and make himself a ‘god’. He is still to be known, today, as the very first actor. He then went around the country to perform dramas to the townspeople. Many found this to be quite refreshing. This then inspired many other people to start writing dramas. Thespis was also the one to invent the mask that you see on playbills today. “…we have seen that among very undeveloped peoples the mask was used as a means of mystification at religious dances, and it is scarcely probable that in the time of Thespis the Greeks were unacquainted with it, as they used other kinds of disguise and mummery”1.
The first well known writers were Sophocles, Aeschylus, and Euripides. Aeschylus was the fir...
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... opened on Christmas day, in 1924. At that time, ‘Princess Theatre’ shows were really popular. This theatre was shared between the Shubert Brothers19 and Ray Comstock20. This theatre was a very small theatre in New York City. It hosted numerous plays and parties but it only last till the 1920’s because its success dropped. Even though this Theatre is not well known today, it has shaped the image of theatre and drama for new writers.
What is it that draws us to be so fascinated with plays around the world? Is it the makeup? The music? The costumes? Or simply the acting, or lack thereof. Theatre has come such a long way, entertainment wise. We have found new ways of grabbing someone’s attention, whether it is through a paper ad or TV commercial. All of these contribute to how the world sees theatre. Either way, each has a way of expressing their culture, and beliefs.
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