In our first lesson of term, we started off by looking at some unusual looking ancient Greek words and transliterating them. Examples included: “epopoi…. poipoipoipoipoi” and “torotorotorotorotix”. You guessed at what these might be, and many of you correctly identified that they were animal sounds.
They were in fact sounds made by the birds in a play by the ancient Greek comic playwright Aristophanes, who lived and wrote in Athens in the fifth century BC. We looked at an ancient Greek theatre, its immense size, impressive acoustics, and the fact that actors wore masks. We also noted that the theatres had an altar, due to theatre emerging from the worship of the god Dionysus. We will look at this more closely next term.
Finally, we met the Dionysia – an annual festival where playwrights would put on tragedies and comedies as part of a competition!
We then split into groups, and each group was given a different Aristophanes play – Birds, Frogs, Peace, or Clouds. Your project over the next few weeks is to choose a scene from the play to act out, design costumes, set and props, make a short TV trailer and a poster, and perform all this at our very own Dionysia in May/June.
We finished with you each designing your chorus mask!