The History of Greek Theater
Twenty-five hundred years ago, 2 thousand years before Shakespeare, theater was born in Athens, Greece. The ancient Athenians created a theater culture between 600 and 200 BC. They created plays that are still considered among the greatest works of art in theater. The earliest days of western theater remain obscure, but the oldest surviving plays come from ancient Greece. The theatre of Ancient Greece evolved from religious rites that date back to at least 1200 BC. Dramatic and theatrical productions in ancient Greece may have come from the revelry of an ancient Greek festival in honor of the God, Dionysus which was known as the Cult of Dionysus. Dionysus was the God of fertility whose powers applied especially to wine, the wealth of Greece. A part of worshiping Dionysus was the dithyramb, or the ode to Dionysus. This was usually preformed by 50 men known as servants of Dionysus.
They played various instruments and danced around a statue of him. Although this started off a religious ritual, the dithyramb would eventually turn into a drama or play.
One of the first theaters ever created was the Theater of Dionysus in Athens. The annual drama competitions in Athens took most of the day, and were spread out over several days. Plays were performed in the daytime and the actors wore little or no makeup. Instead, they carried masks with exaggerated facial expressions. They also wore leather boots laced up to the knees. There was little or no scenery. Most of the action in the play took place in the orchestra. Later on, as the importance shifted from the chorus to the characters, the action moved to the stage.
As mentioned before, the tragedy was created in Athens, but it came about in the 4th and...