Category: Greek theatre masks

Masks served several important purposes in Ancient Greek theater: their exaggerated expressions helped define the characters the actors were playing; they allowed actors to play more than one role or gender ; they helped audience members in the distant seats see and, by projecting sound somewhat like a small megaphone, even hear the characters better.

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In a tragedy, masks were more life-like; in a comedy or satyr play, masks were ugly and grotesque. Masks were constructed out of lightweight materials such as wood, linen, cork, and sometimes real hair.

Unfortunately, they lacked durability, and none has survived. Costumes, along with masks and props, helped indicate the social status, gender, and age of a character. Costumes for characters that were non-Athenians were more outlandish.

Tragic actors wore buskins raised platform shoes to symbolize superior status, while comic actors wore plain socks. When depicting women, actors wore body stockings, with a progastreda and a prosterneda to make their bodies appear feminine.

Some plays even called for actors to wear animal costumes. In addition to masks, actors also used props to create a character. These could be a crown to represent a king; a lyre for a musician; a walking stick to suggest age; a caduceus for a messenger; spears and helmets to suggest military men.

A "props-maker" skeuopoios would create and provide these to the actors. Props can also be used for symbolism, as in the red carpet Agamemnon walks on when he returns home from war, signifying the blood he spilled at Troy.

Overview II. Contemporary Players. Costumes Costumes, along with masks and props, helped indicate the social status, gender, and age of a character. Props In addition to masks, actors also used props to create a character. Glossary Credits.The two masks are associated with ancient greek drama with the smiling and frowning faces.

They are the Comedy and Tragedy masks that were worn in ancient Greece during the golden age, around — BC, and are paired together to show the two extremes of the human psyche. The Comedy mask is known as Thaliawho in Greek mythology is the Muse of Comedy and Idyllic Poetry, portrayed as a happy, cheerful young woman crowned with ivy.

The Tragedy mask is known as Melpomenewho is the Muse of Tragedy. Melpomene is depicted with the tragedy mask in one hand, and a knife or a club in the other. The masks and costumes were highly stylized and exaggerated making the characters easy to identify even from a great distance. All the actors were male, and they all played multiple roles, so a mask was used to show the change in character or mood. The two masks are now used as the symbol for theaterin memory of its origins in ancient Greece.

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Basket 0 Close. No products in the basket. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to use this site, you consent to the placement and use of cookies per our Cookie Policy. Ok Cookie Policy.The use of masks in ancient Greek theater draw their origin from the ancient Dionysian cult. Thespis was the first writer, who used a mask. The members of the chorus wore masks, usually similar to each other but completely different from the leading actors.

Picture 1 portrays a sort of mask suitable for the chorus. Because the number of actors varied from one to three, they had to put on different masks, in order to play more roles. The actors were all men. The mask was therefore necessary to let them play the female roles. Picture 2 portrays a woman's mask. Some people claim that the masks had one more significance : they added resonance to the voice of an actor so that everyone in the huge ancient theater could hear him Baldry I do not quite agree with that point of view.

I think it's enough for someone to attend a modern performance of a play in the ancient theater of Epidaurus to feel the perfection of the acoustics in an ancient theater. Even the audience of the last row can hear a whisper from the orchestra. An interesting idea Wiles is that the mask could give to the character some sort of universality, creating an average figure, so that the audience would judge him on his actions and not his appearance.

Certainly that was a result of the use of the mask but I am not quite convinced that it was one of the purposes of its use. Usually the masks were made of linen, wood, or leather. A marble or stone face was used as a mould for the mask. Human or animal hair was also used. The eyes were fully drawn but in the place of the pupil of the eye was a small hole so that the actor could see. Your browser version is outdated. We recommend that you update your browser to the latest version.

Share on Social Media. Elias Karayannakos, All Rights Reserved.Ancient Greek Theater masks. The Ancient Greek term for a mask is "prosopon" lit. Olympics are everywhere, even in Scotland. So we are looking at the Ancient Greeks. Most of my schools will be looking at the Olympics at some point this term. I am no great sportsman, so this is my contribution - the Ancient Greeks - tragedy and comedy.

This term is all about 3d and sculpture. Times are hard and resources are hard to come by, so we are starting off with card. Based on the theatrical masks of Ancient Greece, the class chose tragic or comedic characters. Eyes and a mouth were cut from a folded piece of card, with the emphasis on symmetry and mood. A second…. Greek comedy and tragedy masks, which have come to represent theater itself, are excellent examples of Greek theatre masks.

A Greek theater mask should evoke a dramatic emotional response--looking at the masks, you should be instantly aware which emotion they represent.

greek theatre masks

If you decide to make a Greek mask, you can create this type of emotion by Basic online Theatre Design Portfolio. Interested in early theater? Then this article will help you about the two main genres of theater.The city of theater was Athens. Athens birthed drama, bred drama, and ultimately was responsible for cultivating it into the premiere art of the Classical world—at least according to Greek philosopher Aristotle.

Famous playwrights such as Sophocles, Aeschylus, Aristophanes, and Euripides all came from this city. And from Athens drama spread throughout the Greek world.

No city-state ever took the moniker of the "city of theater" from Athens. The word "theater" comes from the Greek word theatron. The Greek "- tron " loosely translates as "an instrument for", while " thea- " means "viewing.

Greek Notes 3: Acting, Masks, \u0026 the Chorus

It seems fitting that theater would have thus evolved in ancient Athens: from the Acropolisthe highest point in the city, dedicated to the goddess Athena and the central space of the sacred Dionysian festivals, one can view almost the entirety of Greece's golden age. The ancient Greek theater at Epidauros. Greek theater is believed to have been born in the 6th century BC, with arguments that Thespis of Athens initially created the art though this is still up for debate.

While the exact origins of the practice are uncertain, the relationship between acts and props of tragic performances have been examined under the microscope of the ecstatic rites associated with the god Dionysus.

Dionysus, god of wine, pleasure, fertility of the earth, and frenzied spiritual enlightenment, was considered even by the ancient Greeks to have been a foreign import—either a god sent on a journey of discovery, or one of exotic import with strange, unusual rituals. These rituals consisted of heavy intoxication of both men and women—though women became more commonly associated with Dionysus—who paraded around in the dark of the night in costume and masks, indulging sexual pleasures alongside their god.

greek theatre masks

At Dionysus' base, he is believed to have been merely a god of drunkenness. At his core, however, there is much research by this author as well into his worship as a means to attain a higher level of spirituality. Marble sarcophagus with the Triumph of Dionysus and the Seasons. Roman ca. Public Domain. While the extent to which early tragedy borrowed from Dionysus' traditions remains unclear, the basics are evident: performers who danced as much as they acted donned masks and costumes and followed a mythological script that relied heavily on the dichotomy between gods and men.

The catharsis at the end of tragic plays—a resolution that, while not always pleasant, brought an end to the crisis depicted in the play—can be associated with the enlightenment that participation in Dionysus' cult was intended to bring.

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However, the aforementioned masks were especially important in the practice of performance—maybe more-so than in the Dionysian rituals—as they were a way to ensure with absolute certainty that the actors could take on any guise necessary. Whether this guise was human, god, demi-god, or monster was valuable to the tale being told, and thus masks were central to the theatrics of all performances.

Theater scene: two women and a witch all three wearing masks. Work of Dioscorides of Samos. Many masks survive, as well as literary descriptions of the masks and artistic recreations in frescoes and vase paintings. One can see the evidence of the importance of masks at almost any surviving theater—Greek or Roman as the Romans borrowed heavily from Greek drama before devising their own. Statues depicting the grotesquely laughing, crying, or raging masks stare down at innocent viewers, their lips largely engorged and eyes so rounded and saucer-like, one would think the mask itself had a mind of its own.

Sculptures of theater masks dating from the Hellenistic period. Parts of a Greek theater. Yet drama in ancient Greece was not only tragic. In fact, it had three basic forms: tragedy, comedy, and shorter satyr plays. Tragedy and comedy were at the core of ancient theater, however tragedy dealt primarily with the human condition depicted through mythological scenes, while comedy dared to question and mock the political leaders in its early years.

Tragedy originated before comedy, explaining again the Dionysian elements that permeate the comedic shows as well, while satyr plays incorporated elements of both. Comedy changed rather drastically through the centuries. Early plays such as Aristophanes' Lysistrata made a mockery of the supposed lack in leaders and warriors because comedies "legally" made fun of and insulted leaders in the early years referred to as "Old Comedy.

The 4th century saw a shift from a focus on the powerful to an emphasis on the common. Menander BC is credited with this new form of comedy, from which it has been argued the genre of "sitcom" was born. Illustration of Lysistrata The significance of theater in Classical Athens in particular grew stronger following the war with the Persian Empire. After Persia essentially decimated Athens in BC, Athens rebuilt the agora to be what it is remembered today: a work of unequivocal artistry, representing their patron goddess Athena in all her golden glory inside the mighty Parthenon.Last Updated: October 2, References.

This article was co-authored by our trained team of editors and researchers who validated it for accuracy and comprehensiveness. This article has been viewed 45, times. Learn more Greek theater masks are known for their highly emotional expressions, the most iconic being the tragedy and comedy masks that are often used as symbols of the theater. Although none have survived to this day, we know that the masks had highly exaggerated expressions that could be seen by all theatergoers.

After you finish making and decorating your mask, you can put on a show of your own! Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. Log in Facebook. No account yet?

How to Make a Greek Theater Mask

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greek theatre masks

Explore this Article methods. Tips and Warnings. Related Articles. Method 1 of Research for inspiration. Before you start making your mask, first decide on a design. Use the Internet or books on Greek theater inspire ideas of what your mask could look like. Decide what emotion you want to convey. You should choose a simple but clear expression to represent.

You may decide to make a mask that is happy, sad, angry, excited, etc. Remember that you will be poking out eye holes, so make sure your design has large, open eyes. Draw your design. Once you have settled on a design, draw it on a piece of paper. Method 2 of Create a mask from paper plates or card stock.You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

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Athens Drama Festival originated from the Great Dionysia, a festival where people would take part in performances that explored great issues in their society. The earliest tragedy that survives, is Aeschylus Persai, dates from The festivals were attended by all Athenian citizens women as well as men and visitors from throughout Greece.

Performances took place in usually large semicircular or horseshoe shaped spaces. Performances were performed in the open air.

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Semi-circular shape with rows of tiered stone seating around it. The shape of the theatres gave everyone in the audience excellent viewing and also meant they could hear the actors well too. The stage was raised within the circle — this shape made sure all the audience could see and helped amplify the sound.

Very important visitors would sit in the front seats. Greek plays were either comedies or tragedies. Tragedies were often about the past, whereas comedies tended to be about current and everyday life. The Drama Masks which are so often associated with the subject originate from Greek Theatre and stand for Comedy and Tragedy.

Masks, Sex, Laughter, and Tears: The Exciting Evolution of Ancient Greek Theater

Some famous playwrights include: Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides who wrote tragedies and Aristophanes who wrote comedies. All the actors were men. Instead of one actor telling a story a group of actors known as a chorus worked together. Chorus worked in movement and voice so that stories could be heard and movements seen. A chorus consisted between 5 and 50 actors. They wore large masks that exaggerated facial features and emotions.


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