Chapter 2The Dirt Floor

The Ancient Greeks

Figure 2.1 Thalia, the Greek muse of comedy

Figure 2.1 Thalia, the Greek muse of comedy

Ancient Greek history is not the first place one would think to look for comedy, but that is where Western theater began. In fact, it was the merry-makers who came first. Centuries before Aeschylus, “The father of tragedy,” began writing his plays, traveling troupes of minstrels, jugglers, acrobats, and mimes were putting on shows. The Greeks held celebrations for Dionysus, the god of winemaking, and of ritual madness and ecstasy. The festivals, called Dionysia, began in the rural areas and were held in the months around the winter solstice. It was certainly ...

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