In ancient Greece, drama was a collective and ritual phenomenon.
The word “theatre” comes from the Greek verb theàomai, means to watch. The origins of tragedy and comedy lie in the solemn chorus accompanying the sacrifices and in the procession organized by the citizens to propritiate fecundity in nature.
The tools of drama
Performance= A piece of writing that is intended to be acted in a theatre.
Act= A part of a play in which the action remains in one places for a continuos period of time.
Comedy= A play which is amusing.
Stage= The area in a theatre where actors perform.
Play= the action of entertaining other people by dancing, singing, acting or playing music.
Stage directions= Descriptions or instructions in the text of a play explaining how it should be
Playwright= a person who writes a play.
Audience= the public at a theatre.
Scene= a part of a play.
Tragedy= a play that ends sadly.
Drama in England
Medieval drama developed from liturgical cerimonies. The Clergy had always tried to convey the chief
events of the cristian religion to people by means of dramatic performances. In the 16th century music was
introduced into churches. Little by little, processional and scenic effects were added. All of this
produced a gradual evolution form liturgical drama to Miracle and Mistery plays. Latin was slowly
replaced by the vernacular. As the miracle plays grew popularity, (perfomance inside churches became
more and more difficult), so the plays began to be performed out of doors (in open spaces of the town).
Because of the English climate, performances had to take plays at the time of the year when the weather
was fine, so the favourite period became that connected with the first of Corpus Christi (June, summer).
Miracle plays are grouped into four cycles: Chester, York, Conventry and Wakefield. The language was
english and the setting typically medieval. The various roles were acted by towsmen. There was always a
comic touch present. So that as many people as possible could see it, each play was repeated several times
in different parts of the town, with the help of a pageant. It was a carriage on a wheels in the form of a
small house with two vertical rooms. Little by little the performance of the plays was acted by the guilds
under the management of the municipal authorities. When the guilds became responsible for the
performances, the actors began to be carefully selected and trained.
Drama in the Elizabethan age
Elements which made possible the development of drama:
-the theatres were open to everybody, as there was no distinction between the taste of the court and that of
the general public, and admission prices were relatively low.
-plays could be understood even by people, who were unable to read and write.
-the theatre-going habit, which can be traced back to medieval performance, was widespread.
-moralities and interludes were still a living memory.