You are on page 1of 6

1 From the Text to Performance: Ancient Greek Drama and Brazilian Carnival Mota, Marcus University of Brasília,Brazil

Director of Laboratory of Dramaturgy and Dramatic Imagination (LADI) Abstract: In this paper I propose an integrated theoretical framework to describe and analyze interartistic and multidimensional events as Ancient Greek Drama and Brazilian Carnival. My starting point is a convergence between Classical Studies and Performance Studies.

Keywords: Ancient Greek Drama, Brazilian Carnival, Space, Dramaturgy.

At first sight Ancient Greek Drama and Brazilian Carnival share some relevant features: both are performative events that mix music, words and dances; both are competitive events that happening once a year; and both are related to religious and public affairs that controls civic actions in a cosmopolitan city – Athens and Rio de Janeiro. Despite all these features in common, there are few studies that demonstrate the basis of the alleged similarities. My main goal in this paper is clarify how Ancient Greek Drama and Brazilian Carnival are deeply connected as cultural performative practices that explore their material conditions of exhibition. In order to understand their performative conditions, I will discuss about two aspects: space and montage. The way how actors, musicians and dancers present their skills and abilities to an audience gathered in an open air space is understood by the way the parts of the show are associated. 1- Space A close analysis of spatial organization of the Ancient Greek Drama and the Brazilian Carnival shows that both events are based on processional movements transposed to a determined area. This area divides audience participation and players actions. The Sacred Precinct of The Theatre of Dionysus and The Sambodromo display this monumentalization of a parade. Let’s take a look in some pictures of these performative spatial arrangements. Picture 1 displays how The Theatre of Dionysus is today.

run or dance during the time when all people are gathered to attend the show. The Sambodromo has the same functions. After arriving in the theatre. Now a second displacement happens: the players will be the only ones to walk. in a frontal position.2 Picture 11 As we can see.sceno. 3 www.liesa. There is huge contrast between the static perspective of the audience and the possibilities of movements in players’ audience gets placed around players’ area. and remains march.html www.didaskalia. but also the open space to acting and The next visual evidence presents the acting area in The Theatre of Dionysus2: Picture 2 By this diagram we are able to perceive not only the players’ entrances and The acting area (orchestra) is filled with several and different ways of physical interactions and spatial arrangements. The audience as a physical and compact body has complex movements limited. but it explicits a more close relationship to processional space. Lets take a look3: 1 2 http://www. www. the audience interrupts physical displacement from home to the seats in the auditorium. .

In conclusion: The Theatre of Dionysus and The Sambodromo have different strategies to organize massive participation in public festivals. In the Sambodromo there is a tendency to display all sequences or parts of the spectacle at same time in a cumulative way: players make their entrance in groups. But the acting area is not more a semicircular area limited by audience in all sides. because the acting area is an enclosed space surrounded by the audience. the players actualize celebratory displacements that we find in street festivals. one by one. In the Theatre of Dionysus there is a tendency to present isolated scenes in sequence.3 Picture 3 Picture 4 We have audience and players placed in specific and frontal areas. Their spatial configuration provides limits and possibilities to performers movements.Montage . Opening exits and entrances mark the Sambodromo’s performative space. The players march and dance in a horizontal axis parallel to audience space. Instead of more diagonal and concentric movements. blocks. 2. And all groups are together at the same time. one by one.

the ‘Carnival parade’ exhibits a sequence of blocks where players are defined by different skills and functions4: Picture 5 Picture 6 The whole processional event is distributed in blocks with choreographyc and visual distinctions.pessoas. it becomes clear how the spatial configuration is connected to the composition of the . These texts are organized in parts or blocks of lines that have specific metrical profiles. As a multidimensional event.hsw. There metrical profiles are recognizable: 4 This ‘montage orientation’ can be detected in the remaining texts of Ancient Greek Drama. www.4 After attending a ‘parade’ in the Sambodromo.

As an example.html . rhythm of the scenes and receptional answers.beedocs. This spatial arrangement demands an aesthetic configuration – how the experience of attending to the show is distributed in parts or sequences. an Ancient Greek Drama is a multidimensional event that displays an alternation between spoken and sung blocks.Conclusion In order to analyzing performative texts we need performative parameters. 3. let’s take a look in the Aeschylus Agamemnon’s play structure5: Picture 7 Following its montage-based aspect. singing/dancing blocks and speaking/singing blocks. Reading Ancient 5 www. The alternation between spoken and sung blocks is related to the sequence of isolated scenes marked by the entrances and exits of the players. Even separated by centuries and thousand of miles Ancient Greek Drama and Brazilian Carnival get close when we conceive them as distinguished traditions of public speaking blocks. Each block of lines or scene has a performative configuration that able us to extract information about acting styles. Performative events exploit spatial arrangements to organize players/audience interaction. This fact corroborates what we have found in previous topic about spatial arrangement.

2008.P.A. 2006. 1976 WILES. .G. M. D. 2003 WILES. Código e mensagem do Carnaval. LEY. Cambridge University Press. as Escolas-deSamba. MOTA. Editora Universidade de Brasília. The Theatricality of Greek Tragedy. 2007. Tragedy in Athens. BIBLIOGRAPHY DAVID. 1997 . The Dance of Muses. Brasília: MEC-DDD.Chicago: Chicago University Press.D. A Short History of Western Performance Space. A Dramaturgia Musical de Ésquilo. Oxford University Press. RECTOR. M.6 Greek Drama as scripts will be more effective if we apply to them scene amplitude that we find in Brazilian Carnival. Cambridge University Press.