All entries for October 2004

October 22, 2004

Fresco fun with Mythological madness

Writing about web page

*1. Consider the depictions of mythological scenes:

i What are the main similarities and main differences between the way in which the death of Pentheus is depicted in this fresco and in Euripides' Bakkhai? (Use an online text of the Bakkhai if you do not have your copy to hand.)*

Fresco – link

The similarities are simple ones, the fir branches and the rocks appear in both the Bacchai and the fresco. However they are not the actual cause of death in the Bacchai, the fresco suggests that he's about to be stoned and thrashed to death. In the Bacchai the maenads fail to get him that way, and have to pull a tree down and then claw him to death, dislocating and then pulling off his arms and clawing the flesh from his chest.

The Bacchai is far more brutal than the pussyfooting fresco, but then would you want a man being clawed to pieces depicted on your wall?

ii. Compare and contrast the way in which the death of Iphigenia is depicted in this fresco with how it is recounted in Aeschylus' Agamemnon, and/or in Euripdes' play Iphigenia at Aulis.

fresco -

The fresco depicts Agmamemnon with his finger to his lip in self-debate, Iphegenia with her arms towards the heavens pleading as she is carried by two men and Klymentestra, hooded, hanging her head in mourning on the left. In the sky there are two classic depictions of Artemis (the goddess who is preventing the fleet from leaving for Troy), The deer was the animal most closely associated to Artemis, and both her and her brother Apollo were skilled archers, hence her depiction with a bow. I am confused as to why there are two depictions of her.

This situation is very close to the one referred to in the Orestia but with the reasons for the action clear and made physical, ie. Artemis' presence in the sky.You can almost see Agamemnon pondering the lines 'can I choose either without doing evil'

iii. Why do you think the similarities and differences which you have identified may exist?

Similarities are there because it's the same story! duh. Differences may exist because there were some changes always made in the transition from Greek Myth to the Roman ones.

iv. On reviewing your responses to the above questions, how useful do you find these Roman frescos to be as evidence for traditions of tragic performance in 5th-century Athens?

The frescos aren't really a useful resource when considering 5th century BC Athens. For a start there would have been an evolution of ideas in the time inbetween. And secondly they depict the myths, not the theatrical experience of them.

October 16, 2004

Staging the Eumenides –3

3. 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?

The possibilities of the Dionysos theatre are seemingly endless, there are plenty of interesting aspects of the structure that could be used in performance or left redundant in order to concentrate the action. Also it conveys a far more grand and royal impression compared to the ramshackle Phylaxes, something which the producers may have considered important considering that all greek tragedy focuses on their aristocracy, a trend that continued all the way to 19th century. (ooh cross-pollonation of modules)

The limitations of the Theatre of Dionysos are directly related to the sheer scale of it. There is little room for intimacy when the actor has to shout loud enough for the crowd in the nose-bleed section. Fortunately The Orestia doesn't really ever call for any acting on an intimate level. But that doesn't mean that you couldn't take it in that direction, as a modern director probably would want to. The Phylaxes small scale means that there was far more scope for a more intense play, in my opinion.

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

The Delphic Temple of Apollo (outside and within), Temple of Pallas (Athena, ie. The Acropolis)

October 15, 2004

No Purple, but lots of Greeks…..TOGA!!!

Writing about web page

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?

Can't remember if women were allowed in plays, get the feeling they weren';t though, so their presence on the vase would indicate that it represents the myth rather than the play. Natalie says so too. Good old natalie :D

Kate thinks that Orestes' costume is very theatrical, especially the helmet, I think if I was going to make a vase, I'd give him a pretty helmet too, if it was the myth or the play.


Snakes appear on several of the vases especially with Erinyes, it is doubtful whether the furies onstage would have carried around live, poisonous snakes.

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

If they really are based on theatrical performances they may be slightly useful, they provide information on costume and props. However we doubt it.

How to write a good analysis??

Pictures, although not a necessary element of answering the question, do provide backup in immediate understanding of the content. Plus they break up those huge reams of text with a bit of colour.

The General worship of Hugh Denard that lightly breaks up comments, along with the immortal words 'Purple, purple, purple' are hugely beneficial to the group, not to mention the country as a whole.

Some people ie. Scarfed Jack, prefer to punctuate their work with satirical wit. Which is a blessing because he writes so damn much.

Sparse but plenty of notes can make for difficult reading, just the paragraph will do.

Kate suggests a rating system may be a good idea, she's right.

October 10, 2004

SST1 – Places of Perfomance – Active Learning

A great resource to establish some geographical knowledge of the places we're talking about especially as it labels the places in their antiquitous names. Helpful. + leading to

Very detailed descriptions of locations such as the pantheon. Especially useful are documents such as the one describing the differences between different types of column. A trivial topic maybe but a good example of the kind of detail the site goes into, also includes a good number of photos for most articles at a useful resolution. So providing a good background history of Greek architecture, which may be useful when considering the skenia or other parts of the 'theatron'.

Hundreds of photos from seemingly anywhere touched by antiquity, unfortunately most are accompanied by no description at all. Therefore it could be useful if you knew exactly what you were looking for but far less so if you didn't.

An extensive links page, not really a website in itself, but a portal to other sites containing images and descriptions of theatres and other structures. Several of these have 360 degree quicktime pictures allowing you to move your view over the whole theatre. A good variety of sites linked into this one place.

3) – This site provides a directory of useful websites in this subject, therefore making it a great starting point when setting out to research practically anything on Greek and Roman theatre, not to mention even Asia Minor, Aegean Islands etc. It is also far easier to navigate the others, wth one simple page where all the links are listed according to their country of origin, it is vastly uncluttered compared to the others. Making finding a certain picture or theatre quick and easy and browsing unconfusing.

4) – Seemingly anything and everything to do on Greek Theatre. Including biographic notes, architecture, records and preservations of the original plays, the roles of different elements of theatre (eg. the chorus). Found by searching for 'Ancient Greek Theatre' on google, an obvious but effective searching method. It should be added if only for the structure of the site, for example if you click on the biography of Aechylus you get a list with it of his plays with a brief history and synopsis of them. It doesn't always go into great detail on anyone subject, but is good for browsing or clarifying things.

5) Euripides – The Cyclops (Available on shelf) PA 3973.C9

Deviant Art

Writing about web page

Here is a site that is simply the largest art gallery in the world, with currently over 8,000,000 pieces of art of all category and genre. There is also a huge selection of the art available to buy as variously sized prints, as well as mouse mats, mugs and that kind of thing. Most is reasonably priced, excluding the few looneys who try and sell stuff for hundreds of pounds (and fail miserably). The Prints themselves are really high quality, if I compare them to the poster sale that takes place in the Cooler now and then, they are thrice the quality of the artprints that were selling there for £7 and are usually available in glossy, matte or lustre prints. I highly recommend the lustre ones as they combine the sheen of the glossy ones with the texture of the matte.

There is literally something for everyone, from Photography to Anime and Pencil to paint. And a huge range of stuff comes in the right size for your desktop. You don't have to buy the art to appreciate it.

I suggest you start here – because it's my gallery :D;) With some reasonable prints I may add ;)

October 08, 2004

*looks around cautiously

Hi….. George Orwell would be worried but I don't know if I am, big brother

…oooooo dear. Heya this is my intro…. first impressions any good?

I am Richard, taking Theatre, my cell is in Rootes F block. Quite amused at how you'd find this interesting if you didn't already know

But what is SST1? Damned if I know!


October 2004

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