By Glynne Wickham

During this masterly survey, Glynne Wickham outlines the improvement of drama during the international during the last 3,000 years, from its origins in primitive dance rituals the entire strategy to the very finish of the 20th century. hugely readable, incisive and deeply imbued with a private standpoint that stresses the primacy of concert, Wickhams erudite paintings relies on a lifetimes useful adventure as a instructor, researcher director. A historical past of the Theatre is definitely the right creation to the topic for all fans of the theatre, and an authoritative textbook for college students.

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What remuneration the authors if any, beyond the prizes on offer is not known. received, (c) Theatres : The Greek theatres seatand 20,000 spectators, open to the sky vast size of classical ing between 15,000 and provided with nature's own backcloth of mountains, valleys, seascapes and trees, makes it relatively easy for anyone who, as a tourist, has visited their ruined remains to recapture something of that state of heart and mind, transcending normal possibilities, which the tragic playwright sought to induce for his auditors and which would win him the prize were he to be successful in this quest.

Where, to start with, plot was minimal, characterization two-dimensional and situation paramount us (only one intact), but they rarely inspire actors and direc- (that situation being highly topical in a political, military tors today to attempt revival; yet in his or social sense), a gradual shift becomes observable towards a greater emphasis on plot with a corresponding decline in the role of the chorus, and a softening of the original harshness of the ridicule aimed at personalities into a more generalized lampooning of men and manners.

We thus have strong grounds for suspecting that a similar story of experiment and growth lies behind the phenomenon of Athenian drama. What clues to its true nature survive for us to ponder? A vital one reposes in the three words, theatre, drama and acting. Theatre and drama are both derived from Greek words meaning respectively a place in which to witness some form of action or spectacle and a particular kind of action or activity, game or play, so ordered and articulated as to possess a meaning for participants and spec- of them.

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A History of the Theatre (Performing Arts) by Glynne Wickham


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