History of Western Theatre: Greeks to Elizabethans/The Story of Greek Theatre
[Note: the purpose of this story is to imaginatively connect into a narrative the many facts we have provided in the section on the Greeks. This should not be read as history, but as historical fiction. Our hope is that students reading it will more easily remember some of the details of Ancient Greek Theatre.]
Dionysus lifted his scrawny, baby-sized arm and declared, "Worship me here. In the clearing. I like it." And so the people did. There were only a small number of followers in the beginning. Maybe 12. During this period, a local could see the small cluster of dionites roaming through the hills with a chubby dwarf clinging to their backs. In a time before performance, the dionites worshiped the little Dionysus on street corners and nearby farms where there were lots of cattle. They were never quite audience-specific, but immensely grateful for anyone or thing that could shed a moment of its time for some praise. Their worshiping usually consisted of singing, dancing, and a sucking on the flesh of the little dwarf god, Dionysus, for his pores secreted the finest wine. Cast parties were rampant, but not without an adequate pigeage of the dwarf. This, of course, could only be accomplished by putting Dionysus in a knee high wooden barrell, where the dionites would hike up their robes and stomp him in order to cull massive quantities of wine. As attendees began to gain in size, street corners and fenced off cattle-yards would not suffice any longer. The little Dionysus and his/her 12 apostles formed a production company, Agora & Friends Stage Co. The little Dionysus entitled himself as artistic director and the rest of the company members he called the chorus. They all agreed unanimously, like they usually do, and at the same time. For their first performance the AFSC chose a nice flat clearing for their large audience turnout.
The chorus roamed the polis to find 28 other members that were identical in likeness, sexuality, and orientation in order to expand the experience of their worship that was already quite erect. The original chorus members knew that this would please their little Dionysus greatly for he loves to be worshiped. "Worship me a lot. And give me lots of standing ovations and cast parties were the wine shall be milked from my flesh all night long. This is what I want and what you need to have good theater." said the little Dionysus.
Once the chorus reached a whopping 40 identical members, they were inseparable. They all grew to be very close friends who always walked together and gossiped heavily, frantically vocalizing on every bit of human tension they crossed in public. They were quite atmospheric. The chorus were notorious for holing up in city alley-ways awaiting passerby's and would often deploy random acts of pillage and evil, in short R.A.P.E. These raucous affairs were performed solely to accumulate patronage points with the chubby dwarf god Dionysus, whom usually attributed these massive celebrations with a monologue of some kind. The field performances lasted for quite sometime. Audience members began to dwindle and the hecklers seemed to attended out of sport largely because no one took the ceremonies seriously.
The dionites packed up their little chubby messiah and fled to the forests where they could find safety and peace for a clandestine production meeting. "Children! We must leave the plains. They are not working for us. I don't know why. Decibilus, you are the sound designer. What is wrong with the sound, my child?" asked little Dionysus.
"Well, my lord. Sound is strange. But it is good. We need sound. And we want the audience to want the sound as much as we do." said Decibilus.
"This is right young Decibilus! We want them to hear what we are saying about me. How do we achieve this?" asked Dionysus.
"Well, you see my lord. I don't know because sound design is kind of a new thing for me. I'd rather just suck the wine from your flesh."
"Of course you would! But no wine for you until we fix the sound."
"We could move to a hillside." said House Managus Maximus.
"Will this work Decilibus? If we change the seating area to that of a hillside?" asked Dionysus.
"Well, uh. Yeah. Sure. Why not. What do you think Acousticus?"
"Sounds good to me." said Acousticus.
And so they fled to the southern hillside of the acropolis and prepared for worship. At the base of the hill, Tekk Directus began constructing a large square platform to be built for the chorus to stand-on. Scenus Designus took much offense to Tekk's aesthetic taste and demanded him to knock off the edges and form a circle. Tekk Directus refused to do any modification unless Scenus Designus would agree to make a child with him on top of his platform. Scenus agreed and 9 months later, Orchestrus was born.
Orchestrus was a wonderful dancer. She loved to join in with the members of the chorus for musical numbers and songs. When cast parties came along, however, Orchestrus was never invited because she got a little too drunk at her first cast party. Orchestrus insisted on singing karaoke and giving lap dances to all the actors in the company. One actor in particular that she fancied was Mattus Broderikus. Mattus Broderikus was the best dramatic actor around. He found Orchestrus' antics captivating. The next day, he asked her out and she gladly accepted. Unfortunately, the relationship only lasted a few months before Mattus found the woman of his dreams: Sarah Parkus. The break-up devastated Orchestrus, and she swore to never trust another actor again. A few months later, she realized she was pregnant. Orchestrus gave birth to a little boy, named Skennus, after his grandparents.
Now, Orchestrus demanded child support since Skennus was after all the son of Mattus, but as an actor Mattus was dirt poor and had to find other ways to help out with the child. So, instead of trying to supply funds he didn't have, Mattus agreed to look after the infant several days a week by taking him to work at the theater. But from birth the child was a hell raiser and constantly making all kinds of disrupting noises. After a while Mattus' fellow actors decided the child was too much of a distraction and that something needed to be done. Since Mattus could not go back on his word to watch Skennus, and since leaving the kid on a random street corner was frowned upon, he decided to enlist the help of Shoppicus Constructus to build a small hut like building where the child could be kept out of sight. But as every good parent knows, you must check in on your child. So every time someone needed to change masks or costumes they went into the shack to check on the child and make sure it was okay.