We, the public...
3 Sisters, Mikado, 12th Night, Hamlet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dangerous Liaisons, Don Juan
prof. Anatoly Antohin Theatre UAF AK 99775 USA (907)474-5253
Public gives birth to theatre! It was true before; today we could say -- Public is Theatre. The Century of Cinema proven that me, the spectator, is the place of action; images are projected on screen only in order to be transfer into my mind, where they become the "final cut"! Theatre audiences shrinked for the same reason; the individual becomes the public (Theatre of One).
Trial Questions1. Revenge or Justice
2. Fate or Free Choice
3. Existence After Death?
1. Silent Majority (spectators)
2. The Chorus (scpectators on stage).
3. The Cyber Audience
4. Actors and Video crew as spectators.
Ritual knows no spectators, all are participants.
Discussion with the live-silent public after the show (30 min).
"Theatre of One" : Spectator -- Audience -- Public
2001 Hamlet1.0 : 2008 Hamlet2.0 : Ros & Guil are Dead
* GODOT.06: Doing Beckett => main stage Theatre UAF Spring 2006 *
2008 -- Book of Spectator
[ How to project their comments (laptops) on the screen, during the show? Who is in charge of screening it? The leader of the chorus. ]
I have a copy of "Greek Tragedy" by H.D.F. Kitto originally published in 1939, revised in 1950. There are many references to the chorus under "New Tragedy," "Old Tragedy" and "Lyrical Tragedy" with additional sections on the chorus "as actor," "as lyrical body," "in Sophocles," "in Euripides" and "characterization of." There is a curious note that says "see also Ideal Spectator."
No one knows exactly how the Greek chorus performed. But thought-provoking guesses can be found in Pickard-Cambridge's classic works as well as Peter Arnott's _Greek Scenic Conventions in the Fifth Century BC_. Paul Nadler, Ph.D. Program in Educational Theatre, New York University
I recently taught an undergraduate seminar on classical Greek theatre, and found that the students were motivated by mystery to dig into outside secondary sources for recent developments in research. It's the opposite of a concise account, but it relieves some of the frustration of the "we don't know" mantra.
I would suggest looking at John Winkler's essay "The Ephebes Song: Tragoidia and Polis" in Nothing to Do with Dionysus (Princeton 1990). His own conjectures on what the chorus did are in part based on WHO the chorus members were, i.e. young men coming of age ( which meant impending military service, but also apparently involved some crossdressing rites of passage.) Check out Winkler's theory on why "goat song" became the word for tragedy.!
There is some evidence on dance in the context of religious festivals which helps us to understand the cultural meaning of dance and choral performance in Athens and other ancient Greek cultures, Look at Dance and Ritual Play ( Johns Hopkins, 1993) by Steven H. Lonsdale. Enjoy!
Dr. Charles B. Davis
Department of Theatre and Drama
University of Georgia
Fine Arts Building
Phone: (706) 542-2836
Fax: (706) 542-2080
There are also analyses on the notation of Greek music and how it might have actually sounded. A graduate student did a presentation on some of the latest theories over a year ago, but I can't find my notes. I did email her to ask. The sample she played sounded far more "musical" and a lot less "chanty" than I had thought it would. Anyway, there is an interesting web site on the extant music fragments: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/kal/agm/
The greeks used greek letters for the notation and the music here is hypothetically reconstructed using the frequency proportions devised by Pythagoras.
Unless I've missed a posting, I haven't seen anyone yet refer to Lillian B. Lawler's The Dance in Ancient Greece (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1964). I read it some years ago and remember finding it very useful. Adrian Kiernander
W.B.Stanford's The Sound of Greek (University of California Press, 1967) is also quite interesting. It originally came with a phonograph record of Stanford replicating Greek intonation and rhythms as he conjectured them to be based on his reconstructions.
All of these suggestions about movement and pronunciation and music are intriguing and, in some cases, potentially exciting. But let's keep in mind that they are also completely conjectural. For instance, the message I happen to be replying to suggests a book and CD-ROM titled The Sound of Greek. The immediate question is, "What does the author mean by Greek?" At the time of what we usually mistakenly call "Greek Theatre", the peoples of what we now know as Greece spoke numerous tongues, some related to each other dialectically, others standing apart as separate languages. Each, of course, had its own particular system of pronunciation--and no one really knows what any of them sounded like.
I insist on these facts because even as late as my doctoral studies, professors were filling my mind and firing my imagination with false "facts" about theatre and its history. Thus, I have had to unlearn a good deal of what I learned. I cannot believe that I am the only one to have had this experience. Believe it or not, students will not maim or even disrespect you for admitting the truth of our ignorance about so many matters theatre-historical. Tom Pallen
In response to Dr. Pallen:
The conjectures on Greek poetry and music are usually based on snippets and quotes from "anthologies" from antiquity. Granted, their provenance is often doubtful, but beggars can't be choosers. I prefer to think that reconstructions, however hypothetical, are a means of greater creativity in our thinking about history. Not unlike the New Globe, whose accuracy will always be in doubt in some quarters, but whose galvanizing effect on the actors and audience are truly inspiring. Here's hoping we can get more than a handful of people to try some serious experimentation with Greeks in mind. Andy White
On the subject of how the music may have sounded, my personal favorite is Thomas J. Mathiesen's _Apollo's Lyre_, which goes into great detail about Greek musical practices, theatre included. G. Comotti and M. L. West have also published on the subject, and I believe a new anthology of ancient music (with notation) was recently published with West as co-editor.
The alphabet-notation system is interesting, not least because it takes the entire Greek alphabet to cover just one octave. Greek music was microtonal and required intensive training to perform -- it is likely that the Ephebes were drilled in microtonal scales just as they were drilled in swordsmanship. And the notation for higher and lower octaves, designated as Dr. Westlake says by letters twisted this way and that, seem to suggest the turnings of pegs on stringed instruments.
We may not have much in the way of sheet music, and reconstructions/recordings by impresarios like Christodoulos Halaris are always contingent on the state of knowledge at the time of recording -- his version of Euripides' _Orestes_ chorus, for instance, ignores microtonal intervals and is sung at a funereal pace that is not suggested by the meter of the lyrics. What I suggest is that you pick up a recording of Greek Orthodox chant, preferably monastic (from, say, the Mount Athos community) and listen to it as you leaf through Mathiesen. Orthodox chanters and composers claim descent from the dramatic composers of the Dionysia, and to some extent this may be true.
(NB: A part of my dissertation will be devoted to parsing out the possible connections and disjunctures in the Greek musical tradition, notation and all.)
It may also interest your students to pick up the 2-volume set, _Greek Musical Writings_, edited by Andrew Barker. Both volumes provide a wealth of primary source material on the basic terminology and theories of Ancient Greek music, as well as contemporary reactions to specific composers' work. Pay special attention to Aristoxenus, a musician and pupil of Aristotle -- you'll find that Plato's much-ballyhooed theory of music in the _Republic_ was largely rejected and ignored by his protégés.
A modest proposal: given our expanding state of knowledge about the musical dimension of Greek drama, I think it's time we begin to call them composers, not "poets." The latter is merely transliteration, and although the former is Latin-based, it comes closer to the sense of the original Greek "maker."
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