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Classical Civilisations- Pompeii > The Theatre > Flashcards

Flashcards in The Theatre Deck (16):

When were comedies performed?

They were performed on holidays such as religious festivals


What was the orchestra

Seating area for either VIPS or musicians


Describe the stage wall (Frons Scenae)

This was built after the earthquake of 62AD; it contained three doorways and represented a street. It was often elaborately decorated, and also provided an area where the actors could change costumes and masks behind


What were acoustics like in Roman theatres

They were normally very good due to the design, if the audience was listening


How popular was the Roman theatre?

The 'suggestive scenes and slapstick were always popular with the plebs, as was making fun of the upper classes which sometimes included recognisable politicians! The capacity of the theatre (5000) ensured there was a 'big crowd' atmosphere.


What did the audience shout when restless?

We want bears! We want boxers!


How were actors and actresses viewed by Pompeiians?

Actresses were considered little better than prostitutes; actors were often foreign and not respected, yet some did become very famous, e.g.
Paris —the ' pearl of the stage'


Why was the theatre mainly popular with the lower classes?

The comedies often ridiculed the upper
classes where the slave often got the better of the old master. It was free entertainment on a public holiday — a welcome relief from the hectic life of a typical Pompeiian. Some plays often involved direct addresses to the audience


How was seating arranged

lma Cavea (for decurions), media cavea (wealthier inhabitants) and summa cavea


What were the advantages of the

Good all-round views with excellent acoustics — awnings and scented
water were always welcomed


What were the disadvantages of the

Seating was hard and only 40cm; no roof meant exposure to the sun; some seats were far away from the stage


Describe the stock characters of Plautus' comedies

The old man, the slave and the young master (in love with a courtesan)


Explain the basic plot of a comedy by Plautus

Love affair between young master and a girl (slave/courtesan, although she later turned out to be 'free'); the
slave protected his young master from the rage of the father and ensured the two lovers were re-united by the end of the play


What masks did the various characters

Old men had white beards; young men had dark hair; slaves always had red hair


What were the advantages of wearing

It helped audiences to identify the various characters; also it amplified the voice of the actor; the actor could also play more than one part


Where were most plays set?

Athens — Plautus essentially copied
most of his ideas from the plays of Menander, a Greek playwright