October 15, 2004

Web resources– Pidge and Beck

i. 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?

In Ancient Greece at the time women would not have been acting in theatrical performances, as this was purely for men. This therefore suggests that the vase paintings were depictions of myths, rather than plays because of the use of the women. Also, supporting this is the fact that on the vases the people are not wearing masks, which they would be doing if they were actors. In Greek Theatre there was no use of the protaganist and antagonist, which is shown in the vases, instead Greek theatre focused on the use of the chorus.

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

We could view these as significant in that they provide a visual image of theatre, however we need to consider the reliability. These vase paintings may not be reliable evidence of theatre practice as they may have been created in order to flatter, or even just for decoration. It seems these paintings can be a misleading representation of theatre practice due to the inclusion of women, lack of masks chorus, and audience.


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