Since the beginning of Western Civilization—
in a manner of speaking, its progenitor—
Dramatic Art has both reflected and affected
who we’ve been (and are) and what we’ve said and done
in every aspect of our lives
Western civilization can be said to have begun in Ancient Greece, circa 530 BCE, when the benevolent tyrant Peisistratus, persuaded by Solon the Wise, commissioned the lyric poet Thespis to step away from the dithyrambic chorus and address it and the gods as an individual being—a character—to become the world’s first actor.
The effect on the 18,000 spectators so impressed the tyrant that he used the new voice to promote his radical reforms—the philosophical, political, and aesthetic values that became and (until recently) remained the foundation of civilized society. So successful was his scheme that within barely twenty years his successor, Cleisthenes, introduced the world to democratic government, and the Golden Age of Greece ensued.
Everything that’s happened since is due, in part, to the Wholly Human Art.
There are three elements of this discussion:
- the cultural significance of dramatic literature,
- the dynamic relationship between drama and world history, and
- the visceral effects of dramatic performance.
The following links open essays on these elements, with further links to related posts.
pertains especially to Cold Reads, through the playwrights’ words. It argues that all literary art is Poetry or Prose (or Drama)—in parentheses because it’s written to be seen and heard—and since we don’t attend theatrical performances—unless we read them—we don’t “Know Drama.”
outlines the role of plays throughout our 2,500-year evolution, from their roots in Ancient Athens to the latest Broadway smash, revealing the love/hate relationship with Theism and the secular Powers That Be, and examines instances when playwrights’ plays turned the world upside down.
emphasizes the intellectual and emotional power of the wholly human art on stage, compares it to religion, and distinguishes it from other forms of art and entertainment.