Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combination's of gesture, speech, song, music or dance. Elements of design and stagecraft are used to enhance the physicality, presence and immediacy of the experience.
Modern Western theatre derives in large measure from ancient Greek drama, from which it borrows technical terminology, classification into genres, and many of its themes, stock characters, and plot elements. Theatre scholar Patrice Pavis defines theatricality, theatrical language, stage writing, and the specificity of theatre as synonymous expressions that differentiate theatre from the other performing arts, literature, and the arts in general. Theatre includes performances of plays and musicals.
The city-state of Athens invented theatre. It was part of a broader culture of theatricality and performance in classical Greece that included festivals, religious rituals, politics, law, athletics and
gymnastics, music, poetry, weddings, funerals, and symposia. Participation in the city-state's many festivals-and attendance at the City Dionysia as an audience member in particular-was an important part of citizenship. Civic participation also involved the evaluation of the rhetoric of orators evidenced in performances in the law-court or political assembly, both of which were understood as analagous to the theatre and increasingly came to absorb its dramatic vocabulary.The Greeks also developed the concepts of dramatic criticism, acting as a career, and theatre architecture. The theatre of ancient Greece consisted of three types of drama: tragedy, comedy, and the satyr play.
Athenian tragedy-the oldest surviving form of tragedy-is a type of dance-drama that formed an important part of the theatrical culture of the city-state. Having emerged sometime during the 6th century BCE, it flowered during the 5th century BCE (from the end of which it began to spread throughout the Greek world), and continued to be popular until the beginning of the Hellenistic period. No tragedies from the 6th century BCE and only 32 of the more than a thousand that were performed in
during the 5th century BCE have survived. The origins of tragedy remain obscure, though by the 5th century BCE it was institutionalised in competitions (agon) held as part of festivities celebrating Dionysos (the god of wine and fertility). As contestants in the City Dionysia's competition (the most prestigious of the festivals to stage drama) playwrights were required to present a tetralogy of plays (though the individual works were not necessarily connected by story or theme), which usually consisted of three tragedies and one satyr play. The performance of tragedies at the City Dionysia may have begun as early as 534 BCE; official records (didaskaliai) begin from 501 BCE, when the satyr play was introduced. Most Athenian tragedies dramatise events from Greek mythology, though The Persians-which stages the Persian response to news of their military defeat at the Battle of Salamis in 480 BCE-is the notable exception in the surviving drama. When Aeschylus won first prize for it at the City Dionysia in 472 BCE, he had been writing tragedies for more than 25 years, yet its tragic treatment of recent history is the earliest example of drama to survive. More than 130 years later, the philosopher Aristotle analysed 5th-century Athenian tragedy in the oldest surviving work of dramatic theory-his Poetics (c. 335 BCE).
Athenian comedy is conventionally divided into three periods, "Old Comedy", "Middle Comedy", and "New Comedy". Old Comedy survives today largely in the form of the eleven surviving plays of Aristophanes, while Middle Comedy is largely lost (preserved only in relatively short fragments in authors such as Athenaeus of Naucratis). New Comedy is known primarily from the substantial papyrus fragments of Menander. Aristotle defined comedy as a representation of laughable people that involves some kind of blunder or ugliness that does not cause pain or disaster.
Western theatre developed and expanded considerably under the Romans. The Roman historian Livy wrote that the Romans first experienced theatre in the 4th century BCE, with a performance by Etruscan actors. Beacham argues that they had been familiar with "pre-theatrical practices" for some time before that recorded contact. The theatre of ancient Rome was a thriving and diverse art form, ranging from festival performances of street theatre, nude dancing, and acrobatics, to the staging of Plautus's broadly appealing situation comedies, to the high-style, verbally elaborate tragedies of Seneca. Although Rome had a native tradition of performance, the Hellenization of Roman culture in the 3rd century BCE had a profound and energizing effect on Roman theatre and encouraged the development of Latin literature of the highest quality for the stage.
Post-classical theatre in the WestTheatre took on many alternate forms in the West between the 15th and 19th centuries, including commedia dell'arte and melodrama. The general trend was away from the poetic drama of the Greeks and the Renaissance and toward a more naturalistic prose style of dialogue, especially following the Industrial Revolution.
Through the 19th century, the popular theatrical forms of Romanticism, melodrama, Victorian burlesque and the well-made plays of Scribe and Sardou gave way to the problem plays of Naturalism and Realism; the farces of Feydeau; Wagner's operatic Gesamtkunstwerk; musical theatre (including Gilbert and Sullivan's operas); F. C. Burnand's, W. S. Gilbert's and Wilde's drawing-room comedies; Symbolism; proto-Expressionism in the late works of August Strindberg and Henrik Ibsen; and Edwardian musical comedy.
These trends continued through the 20th century in the realism of Stanislavski and Lee Strasberg, the political theatre of Erwin Piscator and Bertolt Brecht, the so-called Theatre of the Absurd of Samuel Beckett and Eugene Ionesco, American and British musicals, the collective creations of companies of actors and directors such as Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, experimental and postmodern theatre of Robert Wilson and Robert Lepage, the postcolonial theatre of August Wilson or Tomson Highway, and Augusto Boal's Theatre of the Oppressed.
Rakshasa or the demon as depicted in Yakshagana, a form of musical dance-drama from India.The earliest form of Indian theatre was the Sanskrit theatre. It began after the development of Greek and
Roman theatre and before the development of theatre in other parts of Asia. It emerged sometime between the 2nd century BCE and the 1st century CE and flourished between the 1st century CE and the 10th, which was a period of relative peace in the history of India during which hundreds of plays were written.In particular, Shia Islamic plays revolved around the shaheed (martyrdom) of Ali's sons Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali. Secular plays were known as akhraja, recorded in medieval adab literature, though they were less common than puppetry and ta'ziya theatre.
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National School of Drama (NSD) is a theatre training institute situated at New Delhi, India. It is an autonomous organization under Ministry of Culture, Government of India. It was set up in 1959 by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, and became an independent school in 1975. In 2005 it was granted deemed university status, but in 2011 it was revoked on the institute's request.
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