Theatre Evolution though History Science Study Test, Training, Notes, Exams University

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The word theater means a “place for seeing" History Evolution University


The origin of theatre can be traced back to 8500 BCE when rituals, tribal dances and rites of passage served as special kinds of human interactions created to represent, celebrate, and make sense of our lives and surroundings.

Ritual performances included music, dance, chanting, and even certain elements of drama, which were often introduced through the individuals’ reactions to the performance. The dramatic figure was masked and costumed in order to evoke the mystery of a personified spirit through which the tribe could foresee their fortune. However dramatic such performances might have been, the next step in the development of theatre happened much later in ancient Greece with the addition of the spoken or sung text.

A Cultural History of Theatre presents an authoritative survey from ancient times to the present. The set of six volumes covers a span of 2,500 years, tracing the complexity of the interactions between theatre and culture.

The Roman theatre was laid out similar to that of the Greek theatre. There was a backstage area, seating arangements for the audience, and an orchastra. The Roman stage went through many different stages before reaching the form we all recognize today.

Theatres started out as simple, temporary wooden structures. The layout of the stage was the same as in later stone stages-3 doors each opening to the brothel, temple, and hero's house. The stage itself was inclosed by wings at each side and the scene house had a roof.

The Romans didn't have a permanent (stone) theatre until the final years of the Republic, the latest reference to the Romans building a new theater was in 17 b.c. The large stone theatres seated tens of thousands of Romans. There wasn't a front curtain nor were there performances done in the orchastra pit (unlike Greek plays). The patrons to the plays sat on temporary wooden benches where there was room, ushers would direct the patrons all through out the performance.

Improvisational theatre is as old as time. It pre-dates the invention of writing, since long before we started writing scripts we were telling stories by acting them out.

Over the centuries, there have been many different improvisational styles. The most direct ancestor of modern improv is probably the Commedia Dell'Arte, which was popular throughout europe for almost 200 starting in the mid-1500's. Troupes of performers would travel from town to town, presenting shows in the public squares and on makeshift stages. They would improvise all their own dialog, within a framework provided by a set "scenario".

After the Commedia died off, improv theatre faded into obscurity until it was separately and spontaneously re-invented by two people who have shaped the craft as it exists today -- Keith Johnstone and Viola Spolin.



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