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Rebecca

An Ancient Greek Extravaganza!

An ancient god who represented the wild and the free, the unconventional and the unexpected. Isn’t it amazing that concepts and practices in theatre, relevant even today, owe their roots to him?

Dionysus was the Greek god of the grape harvest, wine-making, fertility, religious ecstasy and theatre. He is often represented as a foreigner. Hundreds of years back, as early as the sixth century BC, a festival called Dionysia was celebrated in Athens, in honor of Dionysus. Citizens would gather in large numbers for cheer, merry-making and no less than a feast for the intellect – theatre!

Tragedy, comedy and satyr blossomed in all their glory in ancient Greece. In the earlier years of the drama competition, which was the central event at the Dionysia, tragedies were staged and celebrated. Four playwrights cum directors (often, they were the actors too) were chosen to compete. The performances by each contestant would take up a day! And yet, the enthusiasm of the spirited audience held strong!

Thespis, one of the winners at the contest, is often called the ‘Father of Tragedy’. We still refer to him every time we use the word ‘thespian’.

Theatre then was a little different than what we know it as today. At the times of the great tragedies, the cast was often just one person. The second and third actor were major additions! It would be a grand affair involving a lot of verse and song.

Exaggerated masks and costumes were common, increasingly so in the comedies that came into popularity in later years, after the time of Alexander the Great. In fact, the shape of the mask helped the actor’s voice to project forth.

And the audience listened, spellbound.

Much as we do today.

 

Written by
Khatija Ferhy
Khatija is a writing enthusiast who enjoys learning how to create a good piece of art, with words.

Image Source: Stagecraft Archives
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Stagecraft Theatre and Stagecraft Theatre does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Christmas Carol

THE NEW OF THE OLD

Stagnancy is nature’s way of saying that there is a need of something new. It comes to everything, be it life, time, culture and even society. So naturally, it must have crept in theatre as well, at some point of time.

For a certain part of the society, theatre is still an elitist form of culture. The image of theatre is of an old man, aging, fading and mostly reminiscing about the long gone past. And that’s why the emergence of short plays is nothing short of a miracle.

Just imagine. A story unfolds in front of you in a few minutes. Characters etched in minds in the span of a short meal. And yet, they provide a familiar feeling of ecstasy, which only this medium knows how to. It’s too good to believe, and yet, it’s remarkably successful.

Short plays are quite simply put, lots of fun. A writer pens down his most radical of thoughts. A director brainstorms his heart out and paints a picture worthy of the stage and the actors give life to characters before you can even blink your eyes.

It is on the foundation of these short plays, we’ve seen such an increase in the number of theatre enthusiasts in the last few years. These short plays are accessible, to the artists, as well as, the audience. An evening full of them allows an audience member to enjoy a variety of genres, writing styles and stories, which frankly, was not possible in the good old days.

So, I believe, had there not been short plays, there would not have been a concept of modern interest in theatre. They need credit. Because they’re the only way a theatre group can amass 70 original plays in 4 and half years.

And yes, that’s a fact.

 

Written by
Onkar Ghare
Onkar is a law student, who also likes to act, write and direct plays.

Image Source: Stagecraft Archives
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of Stagecraft Theatre and Stagecraft Theatre does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.