Greek Theater: City Dionysia

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The history of the Greek theater first started with festivals honoring the Greek gods and goddesses. The Greek gods, especially Dionysus, who was not only the god of wine and winemaking but also theater, were honored with festivals. In Dionysus’ case, a festival known as "City Dionysia" would be held in Athens. During this festival, men would perform songs to welcome Dionysus. One of the most unique aspects of the festivals held for “City Dionysia” was that plays would be performed for the people to see.
Athens was the main site for plays and theatrical traditions, as the plays held during festivals were essentially attempts to promote a common identity amongst the Greeks and create a sense of unity. When plays first started to be performed
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In regards to tragedy, the term “tragedy” originated from the word meaning "goat song", which most likely referred to goats sacrificed to Dionysus before play performances or the goat-skins the performers would wear. Thespis is generally thought to be the first Greek "actor" and developer of tragedy. However, his importance is still sometimes disputed as some place Thespis is sometimes placed well into in the chronological order of Greek tragedians.
That aside, Aristotle 's Poetics contain the earliest known theory about the origins of Greek theatre. He writes that tragedy evolved from dithyrambs, which were songs annually sung in praise of Dionysus at the “City Dionysia”. Though it may have started out as an improvised piece, the poet Arion is credited with developing the dithyramb into a formalized narrative sung by a chorus.
Tragedies in Greece were generally thought to be plays that took the philosophical view that overall, life was a misfortune as it is a sequence of pain, sorrow, and suffering that ultimately ended in death. Three well-known Greek tragedy playwrights of the fifth century were Euripides, Aeschylus, and Sophocles, the man behind Oedipus
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Staging an ancient Greek play
A tragedy or comedy in 5th century BC Athens was most definitely different from one today in the United States. One difference was that Greek plays were performed in an outdoor theater, used masks, and were almost always performed by a chorus and three actors. These actors would go backstage after playing one character, switching masks and costumes before reappearing as another character. Plays were funded by the polis, or the city-state of ancient Greece, and always presented in competition with other plays, where they were voted either the first, second, or third place.
Greek tragedies and comedies would always be performed in outdoor theaters. Early Greek theaters were probably little more than open areas in city centers or next to hillsides where the audience, standing or sitting, could watch and listen to the chorus singing about the exploits of a god or hero. From the late 6th century BC to the 3rd centuries BC there was a gradual progression towards more elaborate theater structures, but the basic layout of the Greek theater remained the

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