Theater for the Greeks was something like the movies are to us. There were professional play writes who worked hard to entertain the masses. They wrote three main types of plays; tragedies, comedies and satyrs. Tragedies were plays based on Greek Myth which featured a hero who faced some type of hardship. The word comedy had a different meaning than it does today. Comedies were based on current events. The plays often poked fun at political officials. Satyrs were funny plays.
The plays took place in outdoor amphitheaters and the actors wore large masks to convey their emotions. The plays made use of a chorus which is something like background singers are to musicians. They repeated lines and emphasized emotion and events. Aeschylus (525 bc), Sophocles (497 bc), Euripides (480 bc), Aristophanes (446 bc) are some of the famous Ancient Greek play writes.
I have been reading plays by Sophocles and Aristophanes with my eleven year old.
These books are a big challenge for both of us, but the more we know about Greek history and Greek Mythology the easier they are to understand.
My friend Amy has prepared the material for our Greek history co-op, and this lesson was by far one of my favorites. Since my daughter Jemma has Leukemia we have been participating via Skype. Amy has prepared power-point presentations for each of our lessons. You can view her slides on her website.
To create our Greek theater masks I got out all of our crafting supplies and let the kids go to town.
When athletes were caught cheating in the ancient Olympics one punishment was a fine. The fines were used to purchase a Zane. A Zane was a statue of Zeus which was placed at the entrance to the Olympic stadium.
While my kids were creating this film they learned a lot about working together. There were many arguments as to who was in charge and got to make decisions. We had some discussion on different ways to run projects (a lead and by voting). After we talked about qualities of good leaders they decided their brother should be director.
Cheating in the Ancient Olympics
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