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To Know Our Foundations: The Greek And Elizabethan Eras

828 words - 4 pages

Before enrolling in PERF 115, I never studied theatre in an academic setting. My high school was lucky to have an underfunded drama club, let alone credited classes on the subject. Honestly, I joined PPP simply because I wondered what the class would entail; I enjoy a few stage productions, but I am not as emotionally invested in theatre as my peers. I expected this course to cover the fundamentals and origins of theatre, but I feared that these origins would lie in the the Greek and Renaissance periods. I had little experience in studying classic texts, leaving me trepid and uncertain of myself. However, the ways in which we approached both periods guided my studies, allowing me to overcome my anxiety and embrace the content. From my experiences in this course, I’ve come to understand how theatre conventions from the Greek and Elizabethan eras serve as foundations for contemporary, Western theatre. I overcame the challenges presented by the texts and now maintain a newfound appreciation for their significance.

Through lectures, discussions, and lab activities, I developed my understanding of and appreciation for the impact Greek theatre has had on the entire art form. The Greeks established the theatre as an organized, cultural event and essentially created the longstanding union between performers and the audience. By discussing the correlations between contemporary and Greek theatre in class, I realized how many terms and practices still used today originate from Greek theatre; for example the terms theatron and skene clearly form the basis of “theatre” and “scene,” and the entire notion of constructing large-scale theatres emerged from the Greek period. Additionally, the Greek Acting Lab gave me the opportunity to practice the performance techniques used during the period, further substantiating the connections I made. But what truly solidified my understanding of Greek theatre was the Antigone Box Set project, which demonstrated how malleable Greek theater is and how antiquated stories can maintain their relevance in new contexts, such as present-day America. Each group presented Antigone in a different setting, but in every instance, the gravity of the play remained intact. If not for the in-depth discussions that emerged from this project on, I likely would not have such a firm grasp on the conventions of Greek theater.

In a similar fashion, I only understand the Renaissance period due to our engaging discussions and lectures. The Elizabethan era, like the Greek period, allowed theatre to flourish as a widely respected event and exposed the public...

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