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1 Primitive Theatre *Write down anything underlined on each slide. *This should go in your notes, which are subject to a note check at any time 2 “Bye, Bye Birdie” • You might think of plays by Shakespeare, like Romeo and Juliet • You might think of musicals, like Bye, Bye Birdie or Oklahoma! 3 “Romeo & Juliet” 4 • Or, you might think of actors in costumes from different time periods Marcel Marceau • Or you might think of mimes, dressed in black and white. 5 • There is no simple definition for theatre! • Theatre BEGAN thousands of years ago, probably before the start of recorded history. • Early cultures used ritual, dance, and storytelling to communicate. • Theatre is one of the humanities; it attempts to answer the questions: “Who am I?” “Why are we here?” and “Where are we going?” 6 MOST IMPORTANT! • Theatre is believed to originate from: –Myths –Storytelling –Rituals –Dance 7 During Early Development… • Societies become aware of things they cannot explain, such as natural disasters. • Members of the societies may attribute these events to sources such as supernatural or magical forces for lack of better explanation • Cultures search for ways to win the source’s favor. • Connections between actions performed (like a rain dance) and events (like rainfall) prompt the society to formalize and adapt ceremonies or rituals • A common theme is the relationship between gods and humans 8 9 Rituals • A repeated action • Symbolic significance • Evokes emotions • Through rituals, early humans wanted to: Achieve success in battle and hunting Ensure adequate sun and rain/needs Express their duty to the community and to the gods Other Facts: Rituals 10 • Rituals were often performed by elders, priests or shamans. • Rituals often told a story based on the culture’s beliefs. • These stories are usually based in myth. • Myths gained a life beyond the original rituals, • Stories that explain these things may grow from the ritual and be acted out • Performers may wear costumes and masks to represent mythical characters 11 • When societies figured out the science behind these various events (such as earthquakes and volcanoes) related to plate tectonics, do you think they continued to observe these rituals and ceremonies anyway or did they abandon them? – Why or why not? 12 • Even when cultures figure out science behind natural events, they may continue to perform rituals as part of the culture 13 – When this occurs, the first step to theatre becoming a separate activity has taken place! 14 Storytelling 14 • Myths and stories = entertainment before written word • Stories were told in order to: - TEACH HISTORY - ENTERTAIN - SETTLE ARGUMENTS - HONOR THE GODS - MAKE SENSE OF THE WORLD - COMMUNICATE EXPERIENCES - RECORD HISTORY (Choose and know at least 3 of these!) • The ORAL TRADITION is a way in which stories, events, etc. can be transmitted without writing it down 15 Are there any forms of oral tradition or common storytelling in our culture? 16 17 Dance • Dance is another probable origin of theatre. • Dance comes from: - animal imitation - pantomime - rhythmic movement • Dance was often used as part of rituals. Dance 18 This photo shows a traditional Fijian Warrior Dance – a ritual that uses dance showing the outcome of battles. How it happened: 19 Myths Stories Rituals Dance Entertainment Habit Tradition Theatre! The First Drama • The earliest example of ritual evolving into “theatre” comes from Ancient Egypt. • First dramatic production = the Abydos passion play. The Play at Abydos is the story of Osiris. (He’s the green guy dressed all in white.) 20 21 Historians found a stone tablet depicting the Abydos Passion Play 22 Storytellers Homer was an • Homer was a poet who may have been ancient Greek epicSea (GREEK). Homer’s others!) born on an island in(and the Aegean poet, traditionally stories provided many • He probably composed his works between ideas and plots said to be the 700 and of 800the B.C. for playwrights that author of the epic • Homer was came one of after the first storytellers to use him! poems, The Iliad and repetition and dialogue in his stories. The Odyssey. • Some elements found in performative activities include: – Time – Place – Participants – Scenario – Clothing, masks, make-up – Sound – Movement 23 What is Culture? 24 • activities and ideas of a group of people with shared traditions, which are transmitted and reinforced by members of the group • Although historians have researched the topic extensively, there is no way to know exactly what occurred in ancient cultures. Historians have done their best to determine what might have happened 25 How did those historians figure all this stuff out? • Artifacts – cave paintings, vases, clothing, and other surviving materials 26 27 • There are performative/theatrical elements present in every society. • Examples: – Political Campaigns – Holidays – Sporting Events – Religious Ceremonies • Some theatrical elements include: 28 – Spectacle – Dialogue – Conflict – Audience – All of these don’t have to be present for an event to have theatrical elements. • Performative/theatrical elements can be present even if it is not strictly theatre designed for entertainment Does this event have theatrical/performative elements? 29 Are there theatrical elements in a classroom? Are there any theatrical elements involved in tv or using a computer?