Classical Theatre

Neoclassicism vs. Ancient Greece and Rome Actual Practices

According to Wilson and Goldfarb (2011), neoclassicism started in Rome in response to the Baroque and Rococo movements which advocated a return to classical styles in playwriting and performance (274). Thus, neoclassicism integrated both Greek and Roman elements in the plays and arts that actually portrayed their actual practices and traditions. However, unlike the Romans’ practices that were based on individualism, heroism, and increased nationalism, neoclassical theater did not contained emotions and portrayal of heroic actions. Equally, neoclassical theatre was based on mythological portraits and themes that did not actually resembled the actual practices in Ancient Greece and Rome.

The Medieval Theater

Trumbull (2012) points out that the decline of theater in the early medieval era was caused by the fall of the Roman Empire (1). He adds that the political turmoil that created no reliable political structure left the church, which offensively opposed theatre activities, to be the only stable government. However, he notes that the increased influence of the church led to the renewal of theater during the medieval era. Wilson and Goldfarb (2011) point out that the church began to link religious holidays with theater to attract pagans into Christianity (272). The mediaeval plays however differed from Greek or Roman plays. While Greek theatre involved traditional drama in honoring the Greek god, Dionysus, medieval plays were based on mysterious and morality plays aimed at reinforcing church doctrine among the audience (Trumbull, 1). Additionally, while myths and archaeological events were the main source of Greek and Roman plays, medieval plays were based on the Bible.

The Commedia Dell’arte

According to Wild (2012), commedia dell’arte involved the group of professional artists who envisaged not only colorful, but also an extremely theoretical art form that was based on insightful interaction of stock characters (1). It originated in Italy during the Italian Renaissance in 1560s and used stock characters which were widely divided into lovers, masters, and servants. Commedia dell’arte widely performed on Italian streets and in public places where they were accessible to all social classes. The commedia dell’arte plays had no written scripts but were based on scenarios called lazzi which presented bits of comic business which were inserted into the plays and performed by actors.

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