• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Does theatre serve a purpose and does it always have to have a moral? Is it Entertainment or Enlightenment that lies at the heart of the theatrical medium?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Does theatre serve a purpose and does it always have to have a moral? Is it Entertainment or Enlightenment that lies at the heart of the theatrical medium? For hundreds, even thousands of years theatre was concerned mainly with entertainment, it lay at the forefront at least, or did it? When looking at ancient Greece (the birthplace of 'modern' theatre as we know it), it's obvious that plays, performances and productions were there to entertain. With the use of masks prominent in Greek theatre it's clear that this form of display is used to entertain audiences with its direct depiction of comedy and tragedy. Along with insanely exciting stories of Gods, Heros and mythical monsters, which are apparent in Greek literature, it is obvious that the ancient audiences went to their sweeping amphitheatres to be entertained. But going back to ancient literature we see stories of duelling Gods, meddling villains and moral dilemmas (these stories would have certainly been translated onto stage because despite Greece's advanced civilization many still could not read). All these things are part of the ancient Greek religion, these things placed on a stage teach religion, they teach enlightenment. Thus, two and a half, even three thousand years ago we can see theatre being used in a rather rudimentary way to insight belief, raise social questions and encourage freedom of thought from everyday drudgery. ...read more.

Middle

These stories encouraged perseverance, which is a virtue; therefore in a rather roundabout way enlightenment did come through in Dark Age entertainment, but less as spiritual guidance and more as moral encouragement. These morals depicted in the shows would ultimately have been chosen and censored buy the Lord of the Manor and the soldiers commander, these morals would have always included the undisputed loyalty to the fight that was being fought. In every society there is always a factor controlling peoples motivation and movement, war, religion, money, but this factor is not always challenged and individual thought against it encouraged. As the Dark Ages moved into the Renaissance direct religious depiction in theatre was extinct; with state run religion in England now holding the people in a tight grip, the idea of someone playing God, His son or His spirit on a stage would have been a carnal sin and blasphemous beyond belief. Unlike in Greece, religion and theatre were never to meet, entertainment is indulgence and indulgence is a sin. Therefore to get a moral view across to an audience a performer had to become cleverer in his thinking and approach to this challenge, and thus large groups of touring players appeared which lead to domesticated theatre, as we know it. ...read more.

Conclusion

which progressed to: 'What can I do about society', 'Why should I do it and how'. It was Brecht who decided that it wasn't good enough merely letting an audience be entertained by observations of their society, the audience had to react to their society, it wasn't good enough to appreciate a show for it's story but take its story with you when you leave your seat. Brecht wanted his audiences to think about what they were witnessing. In the past they had watched a performance and liked it. The Greek theatregoers learned, the writers of the Renaissance thought but entertained, the audiences of Satire were intrigued but Brechtian audiences were to be inspired and moved to stamp their feet and cause a fuss, Brechtian audiences were to be moved into action. Over the ages it is apparent that theatre has been there to entertain, it is a distraction from reality to entertain an audience. Entertainment has always been theatres goal. But within this entertainment, learning, encouragement and enlightenment have been present in several forms. But what is enlightenment? It is merely the interpretation of a stimulus to add to the audiences belief of how life, the universe and everything works... this could mean anything! The only true definition of enlightenment is for an observer to connect on some level to a stimulus. That is theatres true purpose, to connect with its audience. Adam Rivers ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Theatre Studies section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Theatre Studies essays

  1. How different were Greek theatres to modern theatres

    Flashing lights, smoke, electronic sound and even microphones for actors were all not available to the ancient Greeks. In ancient times there special effects included; cranes for lifting actors into the air and ekkyklema (a trolley used to roll on stage via the central doors to carry away dead bodies.

  2. A2 theatre studies portfolio

    This proved useful as many of the final staging came through as a result of trying out actions that did not work initially but we adapted them to create a more interesting and Brechtian piece. Furthermore, we are all good at physical theatre and are good at coming up with

  1. Evaluation of Live Theatre Performance, Case-Study: 'Bouncers' by John Godber.

    The audience found these two upper class men very funny because it was so contrasting from the other, more coarse characters. It was a sort of light break from the plot because it showed, just for an instance, that there were people other than the working class, that the working class depicted only a segment of UK nightlife.

  2. AS Theatre Studies Portfolio

    We found that innocence is closely linked with temptation in that 'temptation is the fall of innocence'. We sourced the Bible for the fall of man, as we knew this story was about the innocent being tempted and giving in and made a scene from this taking the words literally put presenting it in a more abstract, dramatic way.

  1. The Life and Works of Bertolt Brecht

    To get the desired response from the audience Brecht was interested in distancing them from the action so that they were not sucked into the dream world. This is not to say that he did not want them to be involved rather he wanted them to take an objective viewpoint.

  2. The conflict and contrast between the utopian ideals and Elizabethan politics presented in Shakespeare

    It is because of the bottled spirit he owns that Caliban asks him to be his king. Stephano's wine is a physical correlative to his spiritual power; it is what Ariel is to Prospero. If Stephano's kingdom were to come into being, he and Trinculo, together with Caliban, might have

  1. Musical Theatre Report

    The popularity of theatre declined somewhat in the Roman Empire, but some innovations were made: to make the dance steps more audible in large open air theatres, Roman actors attached metal chips called "sabilla" to their stage footwear - the first tap shoes.

  2. Drama and Theatre studies - practical- coursework

    So for example when Priya is acting extremely scared she had to remember a memory of when she felt really scared and then put all those gestures facial expressions etc into the acting. This of course is quite difficult because you're not in that situation; you need a lot of focus and determination to carry it off well.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work