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Learn about Theater 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 BC. At the theater of Dionysus in Athens as part of the spring festival called the Great Dionysia, men competed in dithyrambs and tragedies. The dithyramb was a song paying homage to the God Dionysus, sang by a large chorus and it is possible that tragedy evolved out of this choral narrative.
Among the great playwrights of Ancient Greece were 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 as part of church services.
During the renaissance, religious dramas gradually gave way to secular works. The greatest play right to emerge from this or any other period was William Shakespeare and 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 virgin as playwrights increasingly concerned themselves with issues dealt directly with modern life. Out of realism came neutralism which continued well into the 20th century.
Eugene O’ Neill was the first American proponent of naturalism while the place of Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller commingled realism, symbolism and psychological drama. The great 20th century German dramatist Bertolt Brecht took theater and yet another direction with the development of non-dramatic or epic theater. Brecht’s propagandas stark political plays constantly and intentionally remind the audiences that work they were watching is not really happening.
Contemporary theater embraces every genre of play imaginable. Among the most successful playwrights in the latter part of the century were Americans, Neil Simon and David Memmott, an English man Tom Stoppard and Alan Ayckbourn.