MATURSKI RAD The history of theater, With a special review on Shakespeare

Student: Sarija Dino IV-4

Mentor: prof. Amra Vladušić

Sarajevo, april 2010

The history of theater – Special review on Shakespeare.

Introduction – Definition of Theater and Drama play …. 3 PART I : The history of theater – 4 ages. Prologue – World’s earliest report of dramatic play…….. 4 Age I – Greek Theater ………………………………………………….5-8 Age II – Roman Theater ………………………………………………. 9-11 Age III – Medieval Theater ………………………………………….. 12-14 Age IV – Modern Theater……………………………………………..15-17 PART II: Special review on Shakespeare Shakespeare – Life and Work ……………………………………….. 18-25 Conclusion …………………………………………………………… 26

“The drama's laws, the drama's patrons give, for we that live to please, must please to live.” Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) - British author.

“I sincerely hope that those who read will get the right image of theater throughout different periods of its development. I hope they will understand the role of theater in the rise of human spirit and civilization itself. We all act, some do it for fun, and some do it for their living. “ Author


Introduction -Definition of Theater and Drama play-

Theatre (The word derives from the Ancient Greek theatron (θέατρον) meaning "the seeing place.") is a branch of the performing arts. While any performance may be considered theatre, as a performing art, it focuses almost exclusively on live performers creating a self contained drama.1 A performance qualifies as dramatic by creating a representational illusion.2 By this broad definition, theatre has existed since the dawn of man, as a result of the human tendency for storytelling. Since its inception, theatre has come to take on many forms, utilizing speech, gesture, music, dance, and spectacle, combining the other performing arts, often as well as the visual arts, into a single artistic form. The word derives from the Ancient Greek theatron (θέατρον) meaning "the seeing place." Drama is the specific mode of fiction represented in performance.3 The term comes from a Greek word meaning "action" (Classical Greek: δρᾶμα, dráma), which is derived from "to do" (Classical Greek: δράω, dráō). The enactment of drama in theatre, performed by actors on a stage before an audience, presupposes collaborative modes of production and a collective form of reception. The structure of dramatic texts, unlike other forms of literature, is directly influenced by this collaborative production and collective reception.4 The early modern tragedy Hamlet (1601) by Shakespeare and the classical Athenian tragedy Oedipus the King (c. 429 BCE) by Sophocles are among the supreme masterpieces of the art of drama


Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 28 page 521 Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 28 page 561



Pfister (1977, 11)



Elam, Keir. 1980. The Semiotics of Theatre and Drama. New Accents Ser. London and New York: Methuen.

Prologue -World’s earliest report of dramatic play-

The world's earliest report of a dramatic production comes from the banks of the Nile. It is in the form of a stone tablet preserved in a German museum and contains the sketchy description of one, I-kher-nefert (or Ikhernofret), a representative of the Egyptian king, of the parts he played in a performance of the world's first recorded "Passion" Play somewhere around the year 2000 B.C. This Egyptian Passion bears a notable resemblance to the Passion Plays of the twentieth century. Its purpose is obviously the same as that of the one at Ober-Ammergau, or the Tyrolean, or the Persian Passion Play of Hussein . . . the principal object, as always, being to keep vivid in the minds of the faithful the sufferings and triumph of a god. 5 In the case of the Egyptian "Passion" the central figure was the legendary king-divinity, Osiris. According to the historical legend, Osiris ruled wisely. He was treacherously murdered and his body was cut in pieces and scattered all over the world. His wife, Isis, and his son, avenged his murder, gathered up the pieces of his body for pilgrimage relics, won back his throne and established the cult of Osiris-worship. We know that Passion plays in his memory were performed annually at Abydos, Busiris, Heliopolis, and elsewhere. The acting of those days must certainly have been quite as realistic as that of any modern stage, for later Greek historians tell us that many actor-warriors died of the wounds received in the "sham" battles between the enemies of Osiris and the forces led by his son, Ap-uat. The play closes with the resurrection of Osiris as a god and the foreshadowing to all the faithful of their own final resurrection.



Minute History of the Drama. Alice B. Fort & Herbert S. Kates. New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1935. p. 4.


“The pit of a theatre is the one place where the tears of virtuous and wicked men alike are mingled.” Denis Diderot (1713-1784) French philosopher


Age I – Greek Theater

The Greeks' history began around 700 B.C. with festivals honoring their many gods. One god, Dionysus, was honored with an unusual festival called the City Dionysia. The revelry-filled festival was led by drunken men dressed up in rough goat skins (because goats were thought sexually potent) who would sing and play in choruses to welcome Dionysus. Tribes competed against one another in performances, and the best show would have the honor of winning the contest. Of the four festivals in Athens (each reflecting seasonal changes), plays were only presented at one festival-City Dionysia. Historians believe that the Greeks patterned their celebrations after the traditional Egyptian pageants honoring Osiris. At the early Greek festivals, the actors, directors, and dramatists were all the same person. Later, only three actors could be used in each play. After some time, non-speaking roles were allowed to perform on-stage. Because of the limited number of actors allowed on-stage, the chorus evolved into a very active part of Greek theatre. Though the number of people in the chorus is not clear, the chorus was given as many as one-half the total lines of the play. Music was often played during the chorus' delivery of its lines. Although few tragedies written from this time actually remain, the themes and accomplishments of Greek tragedy still resonate to contemporary audiences. The term tragedy (tragos and ode) literally means "goat song," after the festival participants' goat-like dancing around sacrificial goats for prizes. Most Greek tragedies are based on mythology or history and deal with characters' search for the meaning of life and the nature of the gods. Most tragedies that have survived from this period begin with a prologue that gives the audience exposition to the following action. The chorus then introduces a period called the paradox. During this time introductions to characters are made, exposition is given, and a mood is established. The final scene is called the exodus when all the characters as well as the chorus depart.

Three well-known Greek tragedy playwrights of the fifth century are Sophocles, and Euripides. Aeschylus, who was a competitor at the City Dionysia around 499 B.C., wrote some of the oldest

tragedies in the world. Only a few of Aeschylus' plays have survived but they include The Persians and the Oresteia trilogy. Aeschylus is attributed with the introducing the second actor to the stage. Another Greek playwright was Sophocles, and only seven of his tragedies-including the still-popular Antigone, Electra, and Oedipus Rex--have survived. Sophocles won twenty-four contests for his plays, never placing lower than second place. His contributions to theatre history are many: He introduced the third actor to the stage, fixed the number of chorus members to fifteen, and was the first to use scene painting. Euripides was another prolific playwright who is believed to have written 90 plays, 18 of which have survived, including Medea, Hercules and The Trojan Women. He was often criticized for the way he questioned traditional values on stage. Euripides also explored the psychological motivations of his characters actions which had not been explored by other authors. His plays were used as pattern for other authors for many years after his death. Comedy was also an important part of ancient Greek theatre. No one is quite sure of the origins of comedy, but it is said that they derived from imitation. All comedies of note during this time are by Aristophanes. Aristophanes, who competed in the major Athenian festivals, wrote 40 plays, 11 of which survived- including the most controversial piece of literature to come from ancient Greece, Lysistrata, a humorous tale about a strong woman who leads a female coalition to end war in Greece. Although only 33 tragedies and 11 comedies remain from such a creative period, the Greeks were responsible for the birth of drama in the Western world. One of many open stage theaters in Greece


Scheme of a Greek Theater

Theatres in ancient Greece were composed of three major types: the orchestra; the scene (stage); and the main theatre called the Koilon(pic.3.). The orchestra was in the center of the theatre in a circular pattern. The Thymeli was in the center of the orchestra, and was used as an altar and later was where the chorus would stand. The orchestra was the acting place in the early years, it later moved to the scene. The side of the scene facing the audience served as a background and was decorated as a palace or a temple. The scene had as many as three entrances for the actors. Between the scene and the seats, there are two entrances, called Parodoi, one on the right and one on the left. The roof of the ancient Greek theatres was flat and was called the Theologion The auditorium or Koilon was shaped in a semi-circle which was divided into two Diazoma, upper and lower.The indoor theatres were called Odeia. Some of the machinery used in the ancient Greek theatre included the Aeorema, the Periactoi, and the Ekeclema.



“It's one of the tragic ironies of the theatre that only one man in it can count on steady work -the night watchman.” Tallulah Bankhead - American actress


Age II – The Romans

Although the Romans thoroughly enjoyed the Latin versions of Greek drama that were performed in Rome, the authorities were concerned that the Roman people might be corrupted by Greek influences. As a compromise, drama continued to present at various religious festivals, but the theaters were all temporary structures, put up just before the performances and taken down afterwards. There were two abortive attempts to build permanent stone theaters in 179 and 174 BC, but they were never completed. We do not know why they were never finished, but we can guess. In 154 BC a third attempt was made to build a permanent stone theater, but the consul, P. Scipio Nasica, caused the unfinished structure to be torn down as "undesirable" and "harmful to public morals"6. A decree of the Roman Senate forbade sitting at theatrical performances "so that the manly behavior of standing might be known as proper to the Roman people for the relaxation of their spirits”7. The ordinance against sitting at a dramatic performance seems to have been forgotten by 145 BC, because in that year L. Mummius built a wooden theater with seats to celebrate his triumphs. Thus the plays of Plautus and Terence were never performed in a permanent theater in the lifetime of the playwrights. In 55 BC Pompey erected the first permanent stone theater at Rome. There must, however, have still been some opposition, for the theater was constructed in such a way that it could be seen as serving a religious purpose rather than for mere entertainment. A temple of Venus was placed at the top of the seating area so that the rows of seats appeared to be steps leading up to the temple.

The Roman Theater, although similar in form to the Greek theater, developed a magnificence and splendor in keeping with Rome's imperial status. This grandeur is most evident in the stage building, which was raised to the height of the seating area. Thus the stage building was

Livy, Periochae 48.68 Valerius Maximus, Memorable Words and Deeds 2.4.2



normally three stories high in comparison with the two stories of the skene in later Greek theaters. No permanent theaters in Rome have survived, but the Roman stage building can be seen in this theater in the provincial town of Orange (France) with a statue of Augustus. Picture of a roman theater

Roman theater from above



“I believe that in a great city, or even in a small city or a village, a great theater is the outward and visible sign of an inward and probable culture.” Laurence Olivier, Sir - English actor, director, and producer


Age III - Medieval theater

Medieval theater refers to the theater of Europe between the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the Renaissance. Most medieval theatre is not well documented due to a lack of surviving records and texts, a low literacy rate of the general population, and the opposition of the Church to some types of performance. The sacred plays of the Middle Ages often contained farcical, irreverent, and even lewd situations, while the so-called secular plays frequently carried with them some degree of sermonizing. The distinction between comedy and tragedy, so marked in classical plays, was forgotten. In the day of Hans Sachs if a play had a fight in it, it was a tragedy. No fight, no tragedy. The morality The play nearest the mystery in manner of production, costumes, and general tone was the morality, which might almost be classed as a religious play. In the age-long attempt to portray the dual nature of Man, in whom good and evil perpetually fight for supremacy, the playwrights lighted on the allegorical method. They conceived the different desires and appetites of Man as personalities, named them Greed, Pride, Vanity, Good Will, Patience, and the like, and caused them to weave their plots so as to capture the soul of the hero, who was called Everyman, Humanum Genus, or Man. Besides the personified desires, there were also in most plays other characters such as the Doctor, the Priest, or a public officer. God and the Devil were usually present. The first English morality of which there is record was on the subject of the Lord's Prayer, and was given at York sometime during the fourteenth century. It is now lost, but it made so profound an impression upon the spectators that a company was immediately formed for the purpose of providing frequent and regular performances. At the end of the fourteenth century the company numbered one hundred members and their wives. The earliest extant morality in English is The Castle of Perseverance, which belongs to the fifteenth century. In it the whole life of Man, called Humanum Genus, is portrayed from birth to death. There are two other very early English moralities, one entitled Spirit, Will and Understanding, the other Humanity. By their very nature, the moralities were all obliged to use the same or similar abstractions for their allegories; but a French writer, Nicolas de la Chesnaye, was inventive enough to make a slight variation. His play is called The Condemnation of Banquets, and is nothing less than a tract on temperance in both eating and drinking. It is very long, having more than 3,600 lines and employing thirty-nine characters. By far the most


interesting extant morality is Everyman, ascribed by many scholars to the Dutch Dorlandus. It appeared in English translation four times between 1493 and 1530, and opens with these lines: "Here beginneth a treatise how the High Father of Heaven sendeth Death to summon every creature to come and give an account of their lives in this world, and is in manner of a moral play." Even from the first, the morality was nearly always sprawling in construction and long-winded. Moreover, all advances in dramatic conception have been towards the concrete rather than the abstract; so it would seem that the allegorical manner was a turn in the wrong direction. On the other hand, such fables were popular and quickly understood; and the abstract qualities, personified by living actors, took upon themselves something of the nature of reality. Furthermore, the moralities mark the end of the biblical cycle of drama, and, with the interludes, form the link between the medieval and the modern play. In them can be recognized the seeds of the romantic and later schools. The habit of using qualities for names is a stock device of comedy, and has long persisted, the Mrs. Sneerwell and Mrs. Backbite of Sheridan being a direct continuation of the tribe of Greed and Vanity. Varieties of medieval secular plays. Coexistent with biblical plays and the moralities, there grew up during the late Middle Ages several kinds of plays of a more or less secular nature. In a rough classification we discover the following branches: Carnival or Shrovetide plays Interludes Farces Puppet shows "Feasts" of various sorts, being travesties of Church rituals Street stage



“The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life.” Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Irish poet and dramatist.


Age IV - Modern Theater

The History of Theatre in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries is one of the increasing commercialization of the art, accompanied by technological innovations, the introduction of serious critical review, expansion of the subject matters portrayed to include ordinary people, and an emphasis on more natural forms of acting. Theatre, which had been dominated by the Church for centuries, and then by the tastes of monarchs for more than 200 years, became accessible to merchants, industrialists, the bourgeois and then the masses. Modern Theatre comes from the European Renaissance Theatre of the 16th-17th centuries that dates back to the Ancient Greek and Roman Theatre. Its foundation was laid down in England and Italy, especially by the English Renaissance Theatre between in the period between Reformation and theatre closure in 1642. It was the greatest theatre period in the whole European history established by William Shakespeare and other outstanding playwrights. Usually, this period in the history of England and Europe is called "Elizabethan Theatre". Normally, this period lasted for the entire Elizabethan epoch, but the subsequent reigns of James I and Charles I were the continuation of this flourishing drama period. Still, there were some medieval theatrical traditions, including 'mystery', masque, etc that firstly were mere religious holidays that were celebrated all around Christian Europe. Initially, it was all done under the control of the Church and was held in certain boundaries. Then, however these feasts turned into folk entertainment giving place to such modern theatre genres as comical operetta, slapstick, comedy, etc. Some other European theatrical traditions were the staging of biblical themes and morality plays that emerged actually out of the mysteries. In its turn, Italian modern theatre that rose in the 16th-17th centuries was called Commedia dell'arte. It played a certain positive role in formation of modern Italian theatre. To come back to what was said about the English Renaissance Theatre, it must be mentioned that originally there were no permanent actors. Most of them were players who traveled around the country giving performances in different localities. By 1572, non-patronage traveling England became unlawful what made plays get themselves fixed to a certain local theatre. What's more, the drama popularity was constantly growing at the court of Elizabeth I personally financed and supported by the Queen. Additionally, female roles were a taboo for females till the end of the 17th century. These roles were performed by young boys dressed in frivolous garment.


The Theatre, being supported by the authorities, was growing to be more and more complex in structure, ways of performance and staging. William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson and many other playwrights create the best well-known masterpieces that served to be the basis for a lot of future plays and are still staged nowadays. By the 19th century, the Theatre activity became a profitable and lucrative business. The 19th century witnessed the fast development of the European Theatre that we see today. Paris “Italian” theater

Prague National Theater

William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare

“All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances; and one man in his time plays many parts, his acts being seven ages.” William Shakespeare


William Shakespeare Basic facts

William Shakespeare (baptized 26 April 1564; died 23 April 1616) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His surviving works, including some collaborations, consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. Over the centuries there has been much speculation surrounding various aspects of Shakespeare's life including his religious affiliation, sexual orientation, sources for collaborations, authorship of and chronology of the plays and sonnets. Many of the dates of play performances, when they were written, adapted or revised and printed are imprecise. List of his works: Historical:
Henry IV, part 1 Henry IV, part 2 Henry V Henry VI, part 1 Henry VI, part 2 Henry VI, part 3 Henry VIII King John Richard II Richard III

All's Well That Ends Well As You Like It The Comedy of Errors Cymbeline Love's Labours Lost Measure for Measure The Merry Wives of Windsor The Merchant of Venice A Midsummer Night's Dream Much Ado About Nothing Pericles, Prince of Tyre Taming of the Shrew The Tempest Troilus and Cressida Twelfth Night Two Gentlemen of Verona

Antony and Cleopatra Coriolanus Hamlet Julius Caesar King Lear Macbeth Othello Romeo and Juliet Timon of Athens Titus Andronicus

The Sonnets A Lover's Complaint The Rape of Lucrece Venus and Adonis Funeral Elegy by W.S.


Early life

England's celebration of their patron Saint George is on 23 April, which is also the day claimed to be the birth date of Shakespeare. Although birth and death dates were not recorded in Shakespeare's time, churches did record baptisms and burials, usually a few days after the actual event. The infant William was baptized on 26 April 1564 in the parish church Holy Trinity of Stratford upon Avon. In his younger years Shakespeare attended the Christian Holy Trinity church, the now famous elegant limestone cross shaped cathedral on the banks of the Avon river, studying the Book of Common Prayer and the English Bible. Although enrolment registers did not survive, around the age of eleven Shakespeare probably entered the grammar school of Stratford, King's New School, where he would have studied theatre and acting, as well as Latin literature and history.

London and theatrical career

When he finished school he might have apprenticed for a time with his father, but there is also mention of his being a school teacher. The next record of his life is in 1582, when still a minor at the age of eighteen and requiring his father's consent, Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway (1556– 1623) married in the village of Temple Grafton. It is not exactly clear what Shakespeare was doing in the first few years after the marriage, but he did go to London and worked at The Globe theatre, possibly as one of the Queen's Men whose works were harshly anti Catholic in a time of rising Protestantism. He was writing poems and plays, and his involvement with theatre troupes and acting is disparagingly condemned in a 1592 pamphlet that was distributed in London, attributed to Robert Green the playwright titled "Groats Worth of Witte" haughtily attacking Shakespeare as an "upstart crow";

By 1593 the plague was haunting London and many who were able fled the teeming city for the cleansing airs of open country. While it was a time for many upstart theatres, the popular public entertainment of the day, they were often shut down and forbidden to open for stretches of time. Shakespeare probably spent these dark days travelling between London, Stratford, and the provinces, which gave him time to pen many more plays and sonnets. Among the first of his known printed works is the comedic and erotically charged Ovidian narrative poem Venus and Adonis (1593). It was wildly popular, dedicated with great esteem to his patron Henry Wriothesly, third earl of Southampton, the young man that some say Shakespeare may have had more than platonic affection for. It was followed by the much darker The Rape of Lucrece in 1594, The Passionate Pilgrim in 1599 and the allegorical The Phoenix and the Turtle (1601). At this time of prolific writing, Shakespeare began his association until his death with The Lord Chamberlain's Men. With the accession of James I they became the King's Men, who bought and performed most of Shakespeare's plays. The troupe included his friend and actor Richard Burbage. They performed frequently at court, and in the theatres that Shakespeare was co-owner of including the Blackfriars, The Theatre, and The Globe in London until it burnt down during a performance of King Henry VIII. It is said that Shakespeare himself acted in a number of roles including the ghost in Hamlet and Old Adam in As You Like It. In the late 1590s he bought `New Place' on Chapel Street in Stratford, one of his many real estate investments. Shakespeare wrote most of his plays as `quarto texts', that being on a sheet of paper folded four ways. A few of his plays were printed in his lifetime, though they appeared more voluminously after his death, sometimes plagiarized and often changed at the whim of the printer. First Folio would be the first collection of his dramatic works, a massive undertaking to compile thirty-six plays from the quarto texts, playbooks, transcriptions, and the memories of actors. The approximately nine hundred page manuscript took about two years to complete and was printed in 1623 as Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies. It also featured on the frontispiece the famous engraved portrait of Shakespeare said to be by Martin Droeshout (1601c1651).

Under the favor of the court The Kings' Men became the eminent company of the day. Most likely Anne and the children lived in Stratford while Shakespeare spent his time travelling

between Stratford and London, dealing with business affairs and writing and acting. In 1616 his daughter Judith married Quiney who subsequently admitted to fornication with Margaret Wheeler, and Shakespeare took steps to bequeath a sum to Judith in her own name.


William Shakespeare died on 23 April 1616, according to his monument, and lies buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford upon Avon. While there is little known of her life, Anne Hathaway outlived her husband by seven years, dying in 1623 and is buried beside him. It is not clear as to how or why Shakespeare died, but in 1664 the reverend John Ward, vicar of Stratford recorded that "Shakespeare, Drayton and Ben Johnson had a merie meeting, and itt seems drank too hard, for Shakespeare died of a feavour there contracted." His tombstone is inscribed with the following epitaph: “Good friend for Jesus sake forbeare To digg the dust encloased heare Blessed by y man y spares hes stones And curst be he y moves my bones”


The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642. A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named "Shakespeare's Globe", opened in 1997. It is approximately 230 meters (750 ft) from the site of the original theatre.

The Globe Theater influenced the art of theater in many ways. Principal among them was its construction and use of scenery - which allowed for more technologically advanced set designs. The theater was in the classical amphitheatre design - with raised terraces and a "pit" in front of the stage. The higher stands (with comfortable seats) were set aside for the wealthy - while the poorest of people could watch the performances from the pit. This emphasized the distinct separation between rich and poor that existed in England at the time. However, it also demonstrated both classes' love for the spoken word and showcases the popularity of theater among all. This dichotomy of audience, both the very educated, often noble audience-members and the illiterate "groundlings" - also influenced playwriting and performing styles. Because the knowledge level of each segment of the audience was so different, many playwrights of the time (especially Shakespeare) attempted to cater to both audiences. This explains the mixture of socalled "high brow" and "low brow" content in his plays. A good example of this is that higherclass characters in Shakespeare (like kings and princes) almost always speech in strict iambic pentameter and sometimes sonnets; however the lower class characters (like the Gravedigger in Hamlet) speak in prose. The allusions and jokes in their speech also reflect this change.

Shakespeare did not invent those unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter known as blank verse, but he perfected it; he shaped the stiff, stilted, and oratorical meter that he inherited into a rhetorical instrument that could range from the most colloquial and realistic dialogue to discourse of an almost operatic grandeur and eloquence. And perfectly complementing and counterpointing Shakespeare's verse was his prose, a vehicle capable of distinguishing the commoners from the noble characters, the subplots from the main plot, the comic from the tragic. His style of writing may make Shakespeare sound like a philosopher or a scientist, and many people have thought of him in this way: as a writer who’s most valuable contributions are to the history of ideas, to psychology, to theology, to sociology. But this is a way to misread Shakespeare and to ignore what he did best; it has even been the basis for those now largely discredited claims that not Shakespeare but some better-educated or more aristocratic writer must have written his plays. Shakespeare is not so much a "thinker" as a writer capable of bringing thoughts to life. Every one of his plays, like those of his contemporaries, is an adaptation of some story, history, or other play; many of the "ideas" for which Shakespeare is now given credit are part of the intellectual commonplace of his age. We should not read or attend his plays to find out how people lived in Elizabethan London, or what true love is, or whether God exists, though such matters are debated in them. The nineteenth century, in particular, tended to regard the plays as slices of life and to remove characters from their dramatic context to argue their motives, speculate upon their childhoods, or predict their futures. But they are not real people who live in our world; each of the plays is its own world in miniature: the happy-go-lucky farcical world of The Comedy of Errors or The Taming of the Shrew, the romantic, fairy-tale world of Cymbeline and The Tempest, the darkly ironic world of Troilus and Cressida and the tragic world of Lear or Othello are all places different from each other and from our own. The thirty-seven plays of Shakespeare are not moral sermons, not handbooks of etiquette, not philosophical treatises, not documentaries of English life in the Renaissance. They are exercises in dramatic imagination, demonstrations of mimetic magic, celebrations of the power of illusion over reality; and, if we come to them in the right spirit, they will move and entertain us as the works of few other writers can hope to do.

Shakespeare’s birth place

Shakespeare’s first folio



I sincerely hope that those who read will get the right image of theater throughout different periods of its development. I hope they will understand the role of theater in the rise of human spirit and civilization itself. Not only that Theater genuinely replicated real life, it had also created a world of its own, ironically and sarcastically showing all the bad and good sides of real life, thanks to the imagination and power of creation of writers, directors and actors. From the Egyptians, old Greeks to modern time Theatre – Drama had always been unaffected by politics or suppressing regimes, even though it had built its fame around them. The sole purity of the art contained in drama made it unattainable to those who wanted to use it for their own personal benefit, trying to suppress the force of the free mind and art itself. Acting, dancing, music, light, singing – all are made one, and brought back to life trough the magic of stage. Personally, there is not a more complex and more beautiful art and way of expressing then Theater. We all act, some do it for fun, and some do it for their living.

Dino Sarija


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