Ancient Greece History Co-op - Week 15 - Theater

Week 15: We made theater masks and a satyr play.

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.

To create our Greek theater masks I got out all of our crafting supplies and let the kids go to town.

The masks were constructed out of paper plates. My son was wearing a mask because he had a cold. We have been doing everything possible to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs to Jemma as her immune system is very bad.

They cut holes for the eyes and mouth, and used marker to highlight features.

I only have three kids, but they liked this activity so much they each created two masks.

After the masks were complete the kids created a Satyr play. The subject of their play was cheating in the ancient Olympics. My five year old pays her older sister 20 Euros to let her win.

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
This film is supposed to be funny because when setting up the payoff, the cheater had to speak very loudly in order to be heard. During the race, the cheater, had to use the bathroom, fell down, and stopped to eat a snack. The other racer had to run slow in order for her to win. Lastly, instead of being upset at getting caught, the cheater was excited to have a Zane.

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  1. What a great learning experience in cooperation to make the video! Thanks for sharing!

  2. What wonderful masks! I love your book extension! I will be sharing this post on the Read.Explore.Learn. Facebook page and Pinterest board.

  3. Love those masks! My daughter is studying ancient Greece right now, so I'm glad to find this idea.

  4. This is just great!! I have a Saturday linky party and would love to have you stop by and participate if you have the chance.


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