Learn about The History of Western Drama in this educational video from dizzo95.
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The history of western drama begins at an open air theater in Ancient Greece in the 6th century B.C.
At the theater of Dionysus in Athens as part o f a spring festival called the great Dionysia, men competed in dithyrambs and tragedies. The dithyramb was a song paying homage to the god Dionysus, sung by a large chorus and it is possible that tragedy evolved out of this choral narrative.
Among the great playwrights of Ancient Greece where Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides who wrote tragedies and Aristophanes who wrote comedies.
During the middle ages, the church introduced a form of drama in various countries as priests made miniature religious plays part of church services. During the renaissance, religious dramas gradually gave way to secular works. The greatest playwright to emerge from this or any period was William Shakespeare.
In Elizabeth in England, Shakespeare wrote humanistic comedies, tragedies and histories characterized by brilliant use of language, timeless themes and fascinating characters.
In the 1800 in Europe, realism began to burgeon as playwrights increasingly concern themselves with issues that dealt directly with modern life. Out of realism came naturalism which continued well into the 20th century. Eugene O'Neill I was the first American proponent of naturalism while the plays of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller commingle realism, symbolism and psychological drama.
The great 20th century German dramatist Berthold Brecht took theater and yet another direction with development of non dramatic or epic theater. Brecht’s propagandist’s stark political plays constantly and intentionally remind audiences that what they are watching is not really happening.
Contemporary theater embraces every genre of play imaginable. Among the most successful playwrights in the latte part of the century were Americans Neil Simon and David Mamet and English men Tom Stoppard and Alan Ayckbourn.