By Robert Reed
In Ancient Greece huge stone theatres were built for audiences of up to 15,000 people. The clever Greeks designed the theatres so that even people stuck in the back row could clearly hear every word said by the actors.
The earliest recorded superstar actor was Thespis. He was so popular he toured with costumes, masks and props in a horse-drawn wagon. (That was the Ancient Greek equivalent of a limousine.)
There were three styles of play, or genre: tragedy, comedy and satyr [yes the spelling is right here]. The Ancient Greeks were most famous for their very, very serious tragedies. Almost always someone died, and there was a moral to teach the audience: you know something like don’t eat all the custard, or everyone will get the plague. By custom, there were a maximum of three actors and a chorus (who sung and narrated).
Some things never change in the world of entertainment: Homer’s epics were greatly in demand back then as well… okay, so it was a different Homer to Bart’s dad.
Anyway, one final thing about Ancient Greek theatre was that it was central to religious festivals, especially in honour of Dionysus (the god of wine and having a good time).
If your class are researching the Ancient Greeks, I recommend visiting this site: http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/primaryhistory/ancient_greeks/.
Would your class like to be Ancient Greek heroes in a super comedy? If the answer is ‘yes’, here’s the perfect script for you: http://artdramascripts.com/ks2_playscripts/greeks.