The Origins of the Theater: Ancient Greek Drama

OVERVIEW

To the ancient Greeks, the theater was a form of entertainment taken very seriously. There are more than fifty extant theaters in mainland Greece and the islands of the Aegean Sea, a powerful reminder of the importance of drama in the social and religious life of the ancient polis. Nearly every Greek city of note had its own open-air amphitheater and people would travel long distances to attend the plays performed there on the occasion of the great religious festivals dedicated to Dionysus, the god of wine and theater. Join us on a journey to the origins of the dramatic arts in ancient Greece where we will explore the fundamentals of ancient Greek drama through carefully-designed seminars, workshops, and guided tours of unique archaeological sites and museums.

OVERVIEW

To the ancient Greeks, the theater was a form of entertainment taken very seriously. There are more than fifty extant theaters in mainland Greece and the islands of the Aegean Sea, a powerful reminder of the importance of drama in the social and religious life of the ancient polis. Nearly every Greek city of note had its own open-air amphitheater and people would travel long distances to attend the plays performed there on the occasion of the great religious festivals dedicated to Dionysus, the god of wine and theater. Join us on a journey to the origins of the dramatic arts in ancient Greece where we will explore the fundamentals of ancient Greek drama through carefully-designed seminars, workshops, and guided tours of unique archaeological sites and museums.

THE SYLLABUS

Acting based on the Platonic Philosophy

During this module, the students will have the opportunity to become familiar with the works of the great Greek tragedians. The workshop and the method followed in this module are based on Plato’s tripartite division of the human soul. This tripartite distinction of the soul into the rational, the spirited and the appetitive lies at the heart of ancient Greek tragedy, the chorus. This was a group of 12-15 performers who danced, sang, and spoke their lines in unison. They were a reminder of the theater’s religious origins and a key part of the play, since they offered valuable background information on the plot and commentary on the main actors’ actions. In this module we will differentiate this group of performers into the cognitive, the emotional and the instinctive chorus.

Chorus & Ancient Drama

Aristotle believed that the ancient chorus should be regarded as one of the actors, an integral part of the drama and a representation of the general population, in contrast to the individual gods and heroes represented by the other actors.This module allows the team of participating students to interact and express themselves as members of an ancient drama chorus. The module aims at familiarising students with the notion of conscious participation in speaking and acting, as well as fostering personal expression, through coordination, homogeneity, coexistence, improvisation, perception and communication exercises. For a comprehensive understanding of chorus’ function, the participants will work on the relation between the stage and their body, as well as on strengthening every actor-participant’s courage and specificities.

Anthropology & Theater

Anthropology and Theater converge on various instances when studying the ancient Greek tragedies produced by the three main tragic poets: Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides. The tragedies offer a fruitful ground for the study of the invention of myth, rituals, kinship, anthropogeography, customs, and systems of belief. The present lecture focuses on one of anthropology’s biggest debates: the dichotomy between Nature and Culture. More specifically, we will explore whether women and men are seen as closer to nature or culture respectively and how this dichotomy is manifested in ancient Greek drama. Using an anthropological lens to study the text, three tragedies are being studied to explore the transition from nature to culture and from private to public: Bacchae by Euripides, Philoctetes by Sophocles, and Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

• Travel to the origins of drama through truly original workshops and seminars that will enable you to discover the ancient tragedians and the roots of theater. Wear replicas of ancient Greek masks and interpret the first theater roles ever written!

• Marvel at the foremost masterpieces of Classical Greece, the eternal Parthenon and the exquisite Acropolis of Athens

• Immerse yourself in the renowned Eleusinian Mysteries, the most sacred religious rites of ancient Greece

• Discover the finest and best-preserved of all classical Greek theaters, the spectacular theater of Epidaurus

• Explore Delphi, the “navel” of the world Earth according to the ancient Greeks and home to the acclaimed oracle of Apollo

• Visit fascinating archaeological museums, such as the Acropolis Museum and the National Archaeological Museum, guided by highly-qualified, licensed archaeologists

PERKS

What is included in our programs?

  • 3 US credits provided by the Hellenic American University
  • Accommodation in hand-picked and well-located superior class hotels
  • Breakfast and lunch
  • Professionals e.g. licensed guides, lecturers, and tour managers
  • Entrance fees to museums and archaeological sites
  • All land and sea transportation included in the itinerary of the specific program
  • Information material
  • Local taxes
  • Travel insurance
  • Transport to and from the airport in Greece

Optional

  • Airfares to and from Greece
  • Any custom request

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