October 15, 2004

SST1–Web Evaluation

The evaluations i found most interesting to read were those that were not only informative and detailed in content but also included images, bold and italic text, and links to specific web pages. The images broke up the text to make it more fun, and also helped to understand in more depth what the person was writing about.

Immediate links to websites made it more accesable and easy to just check the website out there and then, rather than going through a longer process.

I also found that it was important for the evaluations to give both the positives and the negatives of the web page to give a well rounded view.

Visual Resources

Is it possible to determine whether the ancient vase paintings are depictions of theatrical performances, or of the myths upon which the plays are also based?

I believe there is no real way that one, who was not a historian could look at these vases and decide whether they are depictions of theatrical performances, or based on myths. Perhaps it would be more likely that they would be based on myths, as at the time myths had authority. Art, story's and plays were all based on the myths, so therefore even if the vases were depicting the plays, very often the plays depicted the myths, so they would be depicting the myths anyway! I also noticed that the vase displays a picture of a woman. At this time women would not be allowed to take part in theatre, all feale roles were played by males. Also in the theatre the actors would wear huge helmets, in order to show their emotions, as the theatres were so big faces wopuld need to be hugely exaggerated. These are bothr strong indications that the vases are based on myths rather than an actual dipiction of a performance.

ii. In the light of your response to i. above, how significant may ancient vase paintings be as evidence for ancient theatre practice?

The vases may help theatre of the presesnt day to get an idea of the period. As i have mentioned theatre of the time was most probably based on classic myths. Therefore the pictures can be used in order to get an idea of what people would have looked like (costume that should be used), weapons and acts they may have performed. It can not be used as completely accurate as it would have been taken from myths which may have been altered or made up, however it can provide a general idea.

.The 4th century B.C.E. Phlyakes vases from the south of Italy show temporary wooden stages which we believe are similar or identical to those that would have been used for comic performance in the 5th century B.C.E. How adequate or appropriate would such a stage have been for the performance of tragedy in the 5th century B.C.E., in particular the Eumenides?

Stages like this would been beneficial for most forms of theatre at this time.
The subject matter of the plays was either the parodying of myths, especially the way in which myths were presented in Athenian tragedy, or depictions of comic scenes from everyday life. However audiences at the time would go to see most plays performed, and if they regularly saw a comic play on this wooden stage it may seem inappropriate to then watch a tragedy on the same stage, as they associate it with comedy. Also these stages may be too small to accomidate the style of a tragedy style play. The comedy plays were performed very intamately with actors being close together. The audiences at tragedies would also be larger. Also the stages like this used for comedies would have used very light materials, which would seem make the tragedies seem odd.

ii. Where could Klytemnestra, Apollo and Orestes have performed in the opening scene of the play?

iii. Where could the chorus have performed?

. In Theatron, explore the model of the Theatre of Dionysos, which represents the theatre as it may have been during the Lycurgan period (338 – 326 B.C.E.). Compare and contrast its stone skene with the wooden Phlyakes stage.

i.What possibilities and limitations for performance does each type of scene building allow or impose?

ii.The action of the Eumenides is set in three locations. What are they?

iii.How might these scene changes have been staged?

4. Traditionally, it has been assumed that the theatrically 'strongest' position for an actor was directly in front of the central doors of the skene. Recently, however, in Tragedy in Athens, David Wiles has argued that, for Athenians, the most symbolically potent position was the centre of the orchestra. Explore both of these theories by considering the 'binding scene' in the Eumenides:

i. What kinds of spatial and choreographic relationships between theatre, spectators, actors and chorus, could have been established in each case?

ii.How might different spatial relationships have affected the meaning of the scene, or the characterisation and status of the characters and chorus?

5. Where are the best and worst seats in the 4th century theatron? Why?

i. How did the physical conditions of spectatorship for ancient Athenian audiences differ from the usual conditions of spectatorship in a conventional theatre building today?

ii. Do these differences suggest a fundamentally, or merely superficially different theatrical experience?

iii. Read the short note on Greek Audiences, and the longer text by Csapo and Slater. How might a style, or styles, of performance have evolved in response to the scale and sight-lines of the theatre, and the nature of the spatial and emotional relationship between Athenian spectators and performers?

iv. Might different parts of the theatre have demanded different styles of performance?

v. How might the style of choral performance have differed from that of the character actors?

6. Taking into account your findings in the above explorations, suggest one or more ways in which the voting scene, and the final hymn by the Women of Athens have been staged in the Eumenides.

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