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A Brief History of the Beginning of Theater

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 4 4

 There are many people who make a living in a career that requires them to go from being extremely happy at one point to being depressed a short time later. No, these people do not have any personality disorders, they are actors. Acting as a craft originated in Ancient Greece where the plays were performed in a circular building where there were many rows of seats that surrounded a central area where the actors performed. This building was known as an amphitheatre. Most of the plays in Greek society were seperated into two different genres; tragedy and comedy. Tragedy was successful when Greek society was at its height. Eventually Greece's economy declined and the tragic genre fell along with it. With the fall of tragedies came the rise of comedies. The genre was used to "cushion the blow" of Greece's imminent downfall.

With the fall of Greece came the rise of the Roman Empire. A big part of Roman theater was borrorwed from its Greek predecessor. Roman theater also had two categories; Fabula Palliata and Fabula Togata. Fabula Palliata is the part of Roman theater that was borrowed from Greek theater. The Roman Empire took the Greek plays, translated them to Latin, and performed them on the Roman stage. Fabula Togata is a term that is used to describe plays that originated in Roman society. Most of these plays were comedies that focused more on plot rather than focusing on the development of a character. Aside from the gladiators and chariots, theater was the main source of entertainment in Roman society. The Roman Empire hieghtened the Greek theater with the introduction of a risen stage. It was around this time that the Church started playing a role in the theater.

Some people believe that theater and acting as a craft died with the fall of the Roman Empire. They say that the only thing keeping it alive through the Medieval Times was jugglers, acrobats, and other street performers. At the end of the Roman Empire, the Church was a big reason that the theater declined. Following the fall of the Roman Empire, however, the Church took on a different role completely. The Church used the different festivals at which theater was performed as a way to show the stories of their beliefs on the stage. The cast of the Church's plays was broadened when they were faced with the decision on who would play Herod in the Church's portrayal of what was known as the passion plays.  These plays and other portrayals of religious events were what made up a lager portion of theater during this time. This period was known as the decline of theater.

This was just the beginning of theater. Theater has continued its tradition through the Renaissance Era all the way up through the 21st Century. Today, many different countries still celebrate the theater's tradition. In Edinburgh, Scotland they have a festival dedicated to the theatrical arts. More popularly, New York City has many theaters lining the streets of Broadway where many revivals of old plays are shown as well as many contemporary plays. The theater has always been a thriving form of entertainment and continues to entertain many today.



Aug 12, 2011 10:58am
Great job, keep up the good work and welcome to IB!! Thumbs up from me.
Aug 12, 2011 11:12am
Thank You!
Aug 16, 2011 8:33am
Off to a great start. Good article and welcome to IB.
Dec 28, 2011 1:25pm
Fascinating article. I hope you will write more, soon!
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