ANCIENT GREEK THEATER
The ancient Greeks loved theater. They had two theater festivals each year that lasted all day for three days. Businesses were closed on festival days. Everyone was allowed to attend — even prisoners and women. The plays were performed in large outdoor theaters. There were two kinds of plays: comedies and tragedies. The comedies made fun of everyday people and politics. The tragedies dealt with serious subjects like war. The actors wore tall boots and heavy robes to make themselves larger than life. They also wore large masks that were created to give the audience an idea of their character’s age and personality. The masks had funnel-shaped mouths to amplify the actor’s voice.
FAMOUS PLAYWRIGHTS OF ANCIENT GREECE
The earliest Greek plays included a large chorus and dealt with the lives of gods and goddesses.
Aeschylus (525-456 BC) He reduced the size of the chorus and made bigger parts for individual characters.
Euripides (484-406 BC) He introduced characters with recognizable problems and personalities.
Sophocles (496-406 BC) He built suspense in his tragedies.
Aristophanes (450-388 BC) His comedies poked fun at the politics and people of the time.
In 320 BC the architect, Polykleitos, built a theater that could seat 13,000 people. Everyone in the audience had an equal view of the performers. The sound quality was amazing. Plays are still performed there today.
GREEK THEATER MASKS
Greek theater masks were made of cloth, covered in plaster, then colored. If you want to make this craft seem as if it were made using this technique, you can have your students scribble horizontal and vertical lines over the mask using a white crayon. Then have them brush over the mask with watercolor paint. They can paint the mask parts page in the same way. Just remember to have them dab the excess water off of their paper so it won’t wrinkle. Wait for the mask and parts to dry before cutting out the pieces.