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Theater Essay, Research Paper

Greek Theater

Although theaters developed in many

parts of Greece, it was in Athens, where the most dramatic styles the world

has known was formed. Ancient Greek theaters were built in natural

open air sites on conveniently shaped hills. This allowed a great

mass of people to enjoy a show at one time(The Ephesus could hold 56,000

people) Unlike later dramas, which could be endlessly duplicated,

Greek manuscripts existed as a single, fragile piece. Many of them

have been destroyed over time, and the few that have survived are treasured,

and said to be priceless. Due to the immense size of the audience,

actors placed emphasis on exaggerated action and speech. And, colourful

symbolic masks and costumes where used.

Medieval Theater

Medieval Theater started in churches

- the reason why medieval plays were about bible stories. At first,

it became customary for priests to act out brief scenes during Christmas

and Easter. These acts attracted large crowds, and more elaborate

versions were created, when crowds increased so much, that seating extended

out onto the steps and streets. Finally the church refused to allowed

priests to partake in any such events again, so ordinary people began these

performances outside. Performances were set in the town square,

with several stage settings around the square. This was as such,

because there were no proper theaters, or areas large enough to hold the

entire stage.

Elizabethan Theater

England’s theater developed rapidly

in the years following the defeat of the Spanish Armada. The dominant

feature of Elizabethan theater was the stage. There were three parts

to the stage:

1 The fore stage, which jutted out

into the audience a fare way, this was used for outside scenes.

2 The inner stage, this was used

for scenes inside a building.

3 An upper stage or balcony, which

was used for miscellaneous purposes.

There were three parts to the stage,

as there were no scene changes, or breaks during the play. Very little

scenery was used, so the actors had to create the illusions of a scene

through there voices and dialogue. This lead to a more poetic script,

and poets became the main source of script writing.

Restoration Theater

The restoration theater had it’s

tragic dramas, but the majority of the plays were comical. Many elaborate

machines, were used to create the scene.

The stage was a very clever idea,

in that on the sides of the stage, large back shutters were painted with

the scene. The stage slightly jutted out, but not into the audience.

It was at the front of the stage were most of the acting took place.

Modern Theater

Modern theater has developed throughout

the years, incorporating several aspects from the different theaters I

have talked about. The theater is behind the proscenium arch, where

all the acting takes place. The acting space can be closed off by

a curtain, this allows for scene changes. The emphasis is on creating

the scene through lighting, and music. The acting, and dialogue depicts

real life, and is not exaggerated in any way.

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