Greek Theatre Workshops – Autumn Workshops beginning 20th August

‘The Origins of Drama’ – 2500 years ago theatre left behind its religious roots and took its first steps to create the dramatic forms we possess today, producing some of the most dramatic stories the world has ever seen…

Course Brief: A 12-week course of workshops dedicated to exploring Classical Greek Theatre. Please note that these are acting workshops and not academic studies. All attendees will be expected to take part in the acting.

Times and Location: Begins Wednesday 20th August, 7pm @ The Casa, Hope Street, Liverpool, L1 9BQ. Each Wednesday thereafter until 5th November. Each workshops costs £3/£2 and is a stand-alone session. No requirement to attend each workshop. No prior acting experience or knowledge of Greek Theatre is required to attend.

Background to the Course –

The environment for theatre to prosper in was the nascent democratic state of Athens which was witness to a scientific, political, philosophical and cultural revolution the likes of which had never been seen before.
From such fertile soil sprang the four giants of theatre – AESCHYLUS, ‘the Father of Tragedy’; SOPHOCLES, ‘the most perfect of dramatists’; EURIPIDES ‘the most tragic of tragedians’ and the comic writer ARISTOPHANES.

We’ll be looking at the major works of these dramatists – OEDIPUS REX, ‘the greatest detective story ever told’ of a man fated to kill his father and sleep with his mother; MEDEA, who takes the ultimate revenge on her lover, slaying their two young children; LYSISTRATA, with the women of Sparta and Athens undertaking a ‘sex strike’ to bring about peace between the men of their warring nations. We’ll, also, be looking in depth at the myth of the ‘House of Atreus’ in ‘THE ORESTIA’ which shows a civilization unburdening itself from its barbaric past.

Throughout the course, and using examples from the drama, we’ll turn our attention to some of the themes surrounding the dramatic output. We’ll look at the social and political environment with pro- and anti- democratic factions within Athenian society.

We’ll see how the two great wars which framed Athenian Theatre both influenced that theatre and were also reflected in the subject matter of the playwrights – running roughly from 500 BC to 480 BC Athens in alliance with other Greek city states fought and successfully defeated the Persian Empire, whereas from roughly 430 BC to 400 BC Athens was engaged in a grueling war with Sparta, to which she eventually succumbed.

A further theme will be the position of women in Athenian society, how they were represented in drama with both misogynistic and more progressive ‘feminist’ portrayals shown on stage.

We’ll be looking at the ‘stylistics’ of Greek Theatre, with the ‘action’ never shown on stage but described by one of the characters, a messenger or the Chorus and how tension was created by the audience’s prior knowledge of the myths which the playwrights used as the material from which to fashion their dramas.

And finally we’ll be taking an in depth look at that most dynamic of factors within Greek Theatre, the Chorus, which started off with 50 or so members but gradually over time lost its supremacy at the core of the drama. We’ll be exploring what created this ‘dynamism’, what lead to its decline and ways to rejuvenate theatre with the use of a modern Chorus.

The course will lead into auditions for a production of ‘Medea’ in 2015. Auditions will be closed and available only to actors who have attended at least some of the workshops.

So come along and join us as we begin an extensive exploration of Greek theatre throughout the Autumn – All welcome!!

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