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