Greek and Roman Theatre

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Agon
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Greek Old Comedy, a scene with a debate between the two opposing forces of the play, each representing one side of a social or political issue.
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Agonthetes
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In Hellenistic Greece, the government official responsible for producing plays for festivals.
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Amphitheater
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Large oval, circular, or semicircular outdoor theatre with rising tiers of seats around an open playing area.
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Archon
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Athenian government official appointed to oversee the staging of drama at the City of Dionysia festival.
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Choral Odes
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In classical Greek drama, songs chanted by the chorus between the episodes.
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Choregus
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In ancient Greece, a wealthy person who underwrote most of the expenses for the production of an individual playwright’s works at a dramatic festival.
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Chorodidaskalos
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In ancient Greek theatre, the person who trained and rehearsed the chorus.
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Chorus
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In ancient Greek drama, a group of performers who sang and danced, sometimes participating in the action but usually simply commenting on it.
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City Dionysia
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The most important Greek festival in honor of the god Dionysus; it was staged in Athens in the spring and was the first to include dramatic activities.
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Climactic Drama (Crisis Drama)
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Dramatic structure developed in classical Greece and popular with modern realists, in which the dramatic action begins near the climax, with the characters in the midst of their struggles. Few characters, locales, much exposition, one main action and covers a short span of time.
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Dithyramb
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In ancient Greece, a choral song describing the adventures of a god or heroic figure.
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Ekkyklema
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In ancient Greek theatre, a wagon used to bring characters onstage-often to reveal the results of offstage violence.
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Episkenion
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In Hellenistic Greece, the second story of the skene or scene house.
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Exodos
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In classical Greek drama, the final scene, in which all the characters exit from the stage.
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Hamartia
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Ancient Greek term usually translated as \”tragic flaw.\” The literal translation, however, is \”missing the mark,\” and this suggests to some scholars that hamartia is not so much a flaw in character as an error in judgment made by the protagonist.
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Hubris
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Ancient Greek term usually translated as \”excessive pride\”;a common tragic flaw.
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Hypokrite
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Greek term for \”actor\”
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Katharsis (Catharsis)
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Greek word, usually translated as \”purgation\” which Aristotle used in his definition of tragedy. For some, it refers to the vicarious cleansing of certain emotions in the audience through their representation onstage.
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Kothornus
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In Hellenistic Greek theatre, the platform boot worn by actors.
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Mechane
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In Ancient Greek theatre, a crane used for flying characters into the playing area.
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Mime
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In ancient Greece and Rome, a form of theatrical entertainment that consisted of short dramatic sketches characterized by jesting and buffoonery.
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Old Comedy
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Classical Greek comedy that pokes fun at social, political, or cultural conditions and at individuals. The only surviving examples are by Aristophanes.
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Onkos
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In Hellenistic Greece, the high headdress of a mask.
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Orchestra
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Greek theatre, the circular playing space.
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Parabasis
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In Greek Old Comedy, a scene in which the chorus directly addressed the audience members and made fun of them
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Parados
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In classical Greek drama, the scene in which the chorus enters. Also, the entranceway for the chorus in Greek theatre.
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Paraskenia
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In Greek theatre, the wings of the skene.
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Pinakes
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In ancient Greek theatre, painted flats
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Proagon
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Greece, an initial event of a festival; performers and playwrights appeared in presentations intended to announce and advertise the coming plays.
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Proedia
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Greek theatres, front-row seats reserved for political and religious dignitaries.
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Prologos
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Greek drama, the opening scene which sets the action and provides the necessary background information.
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Reversal-
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Sudden switch or turnaround of circumstances or knowledge which leads to a result contrary to expectations. (peripeteia or peripety)
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Ritual
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Specifically ordered, ceremonial religious, personal or social event.
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Satire
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In theatre, drama that uses techniques of comedy-such as wit, irony and exaggeration-to expose and attack folly and vice.
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Skene-
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Greek theatre, the scene house behind the orchestra.
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Tetralogy-
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Four plays-three tragedies and one satyr play-written by a single author for a festival.
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Theatron
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Greek theatre, the seating area carved into a hillside.
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Thespian-
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Synonym for \”actor\”; term is derived from Thespis, who is said to have been the first actor in ancient Greek theatre.
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Thymele-
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Greek theatre, the altar in the center of the orchestra.
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Thyromata-
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Hellenistic Greece, large openings into the second story of the skene.
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Tragic flaw-
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The factor that is character’s chief weakness and makes him or her most vulnerable; it often intensifies in time of stress. At times, an abused and incorrectly applied theory from Greek drama.
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Trilogy-
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Three tragedies written by the same playwright and presented on one day; they were usually connected by story or thematic concerns.
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Atellan Farce-
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Form of Roman theatre; improvised comedic pieces dealing with exaggerated family situations or satirizing historical or mythological figures.
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Auleum
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Roman theatre, a front curtain that was raised and lowered on telescoping poles.
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Claque-
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People in the audience who are hired to applaud; tradition began in Roman theatre.
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Dominus-
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Leader of a Roman acting troupe.
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Ludi Romani-
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Roman festival in honor of Jupiter into which drama was first introduced.
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Mime
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In ancient Greece and Rome, a form of theatrical entertainment that consisted of short dramatic sketches characterized by jesting and buffoonery.
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Naumachia-
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Ancient Rome, sea battles staged in a flooded amphitheatre or on a lake.
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New Comedy
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Hellenistic Greek and Roman comedies that deal with romantic and domestic situations.
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Pantomime-
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Originally a Roman entertainment in which a narrative was sung by a chorus while the story was acted out by dancers. Now used loosely to cover any form of presentation that relies on dance, gesture, and physical movement without speech.
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Pulpitum-
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Roman theatre, a raised platform stage.
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Scaena-
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The stage house.
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Scaena frons-
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The ornate three dimensional façade of the stage house.
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Siparium-
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A backdrop curtain at the rear of the stage.
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Vomitoria-
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Covered exits for the performers.
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Perioaktoi
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Triangle that rotates with pinakes on each side
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Mechane
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crane
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Ekkyklema
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the wagon
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Estruscans –
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(The spectacle of competition)
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Aeschelyus
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Greek tragedy- The Oriestria: Agamemnon
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Sophocles
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Greek tragedy- Oedipus
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Euripides
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Greek tragedy
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Aristophanes
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Greek Old comedy- Lysistrata
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Menander
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Greek New Comedy
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Terence
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Roman Theatre
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Plautus
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Roman Comedy- Pseudolus, Latin
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Deus ex machina-
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Literally, \”god from the machine.\” In ancient Greek theatre, the convention of bringing in gods on a mechane-a crane or lever suspended from the top of the scene house.
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New Comedy-
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Hellenistic Greek and Roman comedies that deal with romantic and domestic situations.
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Satyr play-
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One of the three types of classical Greek drama. A satyr play was usually a ribald takeoff on Greek mythology and history and included a chorus of satyrs, mythological creatures who were half-man and half-goat.
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Cavea-
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The seating area.

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