The Thespian art originated in Ancient Greece, but now, more than two millenniums later, it is known all over the world. This art has taken various forms in different countries, and most of nations have a great history of its development. For ages, it has evolved from being merely an entertainment for masses to something a lot bigger and more valuable. It started reflecting the real life, presenting both beautiful and ugly sides of it, teaching people important lessons, educating them, delivering certain messages, and raising the public awareness.
Contact Author Source The origin of the drama is deep-rooted in the religious predispositions of mankind. Same is the case not only with English drama, but with dramas of other nations as well. The ancient Greek and Roman dramas were mostly concerned with religious ceremonials of people.
It was the religious elements that resulted in the development of drama. As most of the Bible was written into Latin, common people could not understand its meanings. For this purpose, they developed a new method, wherein the stories of the Gospel were explained through the living pictures.
The performers acted out the story in a dumb show. Source Mysteries and Miracle Plays In the next A brief history of drama essay, the actors spoke as well as acted their parts.
Special plays were written by the clerics, at first in Latin and later in the vernacular French. These early plays were known as Mysteries or Miracles. The very word Mystery shows its ecclesiastical origin, since the word comes from the French Mystere derived from ministere, because the clergy, the ministerium or ministry ecclesiae, themselves took part in these plays.
In England the term Miracle is used indiscriminately for any kind of religion play, but the strictly speaking the term Mystery is applied to the stories taken from the Scriptures narrative, while Miracles are plays dealing with incidents in the lives of Saints and Martyrs. Source Secular and Religious Origin of Drama The history of drama is deeply rooted in lay and religious annals of history.
It may be well at this point to sketch the main lines of development, before dealing in greater detail with the early plays that merged gradually into Elizabethan drama.
Pausing them to consider the lines of development shown by the drama from Plantagenet times down to the era of Elizabeth, we find certain distinctive stages, whilst underlying the entire movement is a twofold appeal.
The drama appeals to two instincts deeply rooted: The craving for amusement ii. The desire for improvement. This twofold appeal accounts for the complex origin of the drama, and enables us to differentiate the lay from the sacred element.
Drama as Entertainment Regarding the lay element and the craving for amusement, we note that in the Middle Ages, the juggler, the tumbler and jester ministered to the needs of the time.
They are found in the twelfth century, and Langland tells us how gaily and unblushingly they flourished in the fourteenth century, though the serious-minded, wished to restrain them to a modest hilarity.
Much of it was very primitive fooling, but there were dialogues and repartees of which fragments only have survived. The Middle Ages solely needed a Pepys. Of these entertainers, the jester was the best.
What he had been at this zenith we may judge from the picture of Touchstone, of Feste, and the Fool in Lear. Importance of the Pageants The most important entertainments of the Middle Ages, however, were supplied by the Pageants and the May Games, and by the Mysteries and Miracles of the Church.
Roughly speaking, we may say that the Juggling and Clowning heralded the coming of Farce and Comedy, the Pageants anticipated the Historical Drama, while in the May Games we have a foretaste of the Masques and Pastoral Plays so popular in Elizabethan times.
Drama Inside the Church Passing from the lay to the sacred element, it is remarkable what use the Church made of the rough humorous already noted in the clowning and debates.
The Church made skillful use of these, moulding them to her purpose and, in the parlance of a familiar tag, combining instruction with amusement.
Drama is obviously inherent in the very ritual of the Church, and the Mass itself was factor in dramatic development. The season of the year suggested the subject matter of plays: Christmas, Easter, stories derived from the Bible, called Mysteries, stories from the lives of the Saints, called Miracle Plays.
Early in the Middle Ages the clergy celebrated Holy Days. Christmas, Easter, etc, by playing scenes from the Life of Christ. The first positive stage in the development of the drama is marked by the performance of these stories in the Church.
This was effected when the guilds were entrusted with the performances in the fourteenth century. It was customary for each craft to represent a play according to its particular trade. The work was very seriously taken by the guilds, lack of confidence and competence and unpunctuality being met by heavy fines.
Stage Properties Introduced Performances were given on car or scaffolds in the open spaces of the town.
There was no attempt at scenery, but attention was giving to stage properties. There was a monstrous head with a movable jaws to represent Hall; and in addition to a rich costume the actor had some symbol to denote his part.
Element of Humour The play of Noah shows us the amalgamation of English humour and didactic purpose.A Brief History of DramaThe time period from about to was ever changing in the world of drama.
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