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Greece. In Athens the production of plays was a state affair, not a private undertaking. It formed a great part of the religious festival of the Dionysia, in which the drama took its rise (see DIONYSIA; and it was only at the greater Dionysia that pieces could be performed during the author's lifetime. The performances lasted three days, and took the form of musical contests, the competitors being three tragic poets with their tetralogies, and five comic poets with one piece each. The authority who superintended the whole was the archon, to whom the poets had to bring their plays for reading, and apply for a chorus. If the pieces were accepted and the chorus granted, the citizens who were liable for the Choregia undertook at their own cost to practise and furnish for them one chorus each. (See LEITOURGIA.) The poets whose plays were accepted received an honorarium from the state. The state also supplied the regular number of actors, and made provision for the maintenance of order during the performances. At the end of the performance a certain number of persons (usually five), was chosen by lot from a committee nominated by the senate, to award the prizes (Agonothetoe), and bound them by oath to give their judgment on the plays, the choregi, and the actors. The poet who won the first prize was presented with a crown in the presence of the assembled multitude-the highest distinction that used to be conferred on a dramatic author at Athens. The victorious choregus also received a crown, with the permission to dedicate a votive offering to Dionysus. This was generally a tripod, which was set up either in the theatre, or in the temple of the deity, or in the " Street of Tripods," so named from this custom, an inscription being put on it recording the event (fig. 1). The actors in the successful play received prizes of money, besides the usual honoraria. From the time of Sophocles the actors in a play were three in number. They had to represent all the parts, those of women included, which involved their changing their costume several times during the performance. The three actors were distinguished as Protagonistes, Deuteragonistes, and Tritagonistes, according to the importance of their parts. If the piece required a fourth actor, which was seldom the case, the choregus had to provide one. The choregus had also to see to the position and equipment of the personoemutoe. In earlier times it is possible that the persons engaged in the representation did not make a business of their artp but performed gratuitously, as the poets down to the time of Sophocles appeared on the stage. But the dramatic art gradually became a profession, requiring careful preparation, and winning general respect for its members as artists. The chief requirements for the profession were distinctness and correctness of pronunciation, especially in declamatory passages, and an unusual power of memory, as there was no prompter in a Greek theatre. An actor had also to be thoroughly trained in singing, melodramatic action, dancing, and play of gesture. The latter was especially necessary, as the use of masks precluded all play of feature. The actors were, according to strict rule, assigned to the poets by lot; yet a poet generally had his special protagonistes, on whose peculiar gifts he had his eye in writing the dramatic pieces. The Athenian tragedies began to be known all over the Hellenic world as early as the time of Aeschylus. The first city, outside of Attica, that had a theatre was Syracuse, where Aesebylus brought out some of his own plays. Scenic contests soon began to term part of the religious festivals in various Greek cities, and were celebrated in honour of other deities besides Dionysus. It was a habit of Alexander the Great to celebrate almost every considerable event with dramatic exhibitions, and after him this became the regular custom. A considerable increase in the number of actors was one consequence of the new demand. The actors called themselves artists of Dionysus, and in the larger cities they formed permanent societies (synodoi) with special privileges, including exemption from military service, and security in person and property. These companies had a regular organization, presided over by a priest of their patron-god Dionysus, annually elected from among their members. A treasurer and officers completed the staff. At the time of the festivals the societies sent out their members in groups of three actors, with a manager, and a flute-player, to the different cities. This business was especially lively in Ionia and on the Euxine the societies of Teos, being the most distinguished. The same arrangement was adopted in Italy, and continued to exist under the Roman Empire. The universal employment of masks was a remarkable peculiarity of costume (see MASKS). It naturally excluded all play of feature, but the masks corresponded to the general types of character, as well as to the special types indicated by the requirements of the play. Certain conventionalities were observed in the colour of the hair. Goddesses and young persons had light hair, gods and persons of riper age, dark brown; aged persons, white; and the deities of the lower world, black. The height of the masks and top-knots varied with the age of the actors, and the parts they took. Their stature was considerably heightened in tragedies by the high boot (see COTHURNUS), and the defects in oportion corrected by padding, and the use of a kind of gloves. The conventionalities of costume, probably as fixed by Aeschylus, maintained themselves as long as Greek tragedies were performed at all. Men and women of high rank wore on the stage a variegated or richly embroidered long-sleeved chiton, reaching to the feet, and fastened with a girdle as high as the breast. The upper garment, whether himation or chlamys, was long and splendid, and often embroidered with gold. Kings and queens had a purple train, and a white himation with a purple border; soothsayers, a netted upper garment reaching to the feet. Persons in misfortune, especially fugitives, appeared in soiled garments of grey, green, or blue; black was the symbol of mourning, and so on. In the Satyric Drama the costumes of the heroic characters resembled in all essentials what they wore in the tragedies, although, to suit the greater liveliness of the action, the chiton was shorter and the boot lower. In the Old Comedy the costumes were taken as nearly as possible from actual life, but in the Middle and New Comedy they were conventional. The men wore a white coat; youths, a purple one; slaves, a motley with mantle to match; cooks, an unbleached double mantle; peasants, a fur or shaggy coat, with wallet and staff; panders, a coloured coat and motley over-garment. Old women appeared in sky-blue or dark yellow, priestesses and maidens in white; courtesans, in motley colours, and so on. The members of the chorus were masked and dressed in a costume corresponding to the part assigned them by the poet. (On their dress in the Satyric Drama, see SATYRIC DRAMA.) The chorus of the comedy caricatured the ordinary dress of the tragic chorus. Sometimes they represented animals, as in the Frogs and Birds of Aristophanes. In the Frogs they wore tight dresses of frog-colour, and masks with a mouth wide open; in the Birds, large beaks, bunches of feathers, combs, and so on, to imitate particular birds. (See plate in Journal of Hellenic Studies, vol. ii, Plate xiv B, copied in Haigh's Attic Theatre, p. 267.)

Pictures and Media
NIKE POURING A LIBATION BEFORE A CHORAGIC TRIPOD. (Panofka, Musee Blacas, pL 1; now in British Museum.)
REHEARSAL OF A SATYRIC DRAMA. (Mosaic from Pompeii, Naples Museum.)
SCENE FROM A ROMAN COMEDY (Fabula Palliata). (Mural painting from Pompeii, Naples Museum.)
Type: Standard
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