The Romans loved live theatre.
were only performed during religious ceremonies and religious
festivals. However, since the ancient Romans celebrated over 200
holidays a year, there were many opportunities for plays to be
staged. Someone had to pay for the play, as actors received a small
fee. Usually a wealthy noble would pay the bill, in honor of the
gods, and give the play to the people as a gift.
There was a Forum in the center of
each town of size. The Forum was an open area, and used as the
marketplace. Typically, there were buildings around the Forum
including a major temple. When it came time to stage a play, a
wooden platform was built in the Forum.
actors were men.
Each actor played several roles. They wore simple costumes that
could be changed quickly and in public. The actors held up happy
face masks and sad faced masks, to help the audience understand what
was going on in the play. Over time, masks became very
the play, the Roman people would talk to each other. Because it was
noisy, sometimes people would raise their voices so they could be
heard. That made it even more noisy. So that everyone could follow along
with the story told by the actors, no matter how noisy the crowd
became, the actors would sometimes use a technique called pantomime. Pantomime
is a play without words. The actors used dance, music, hand
gestures, facial expressions, elaborate sets, and costumes to
present the play.
Actors were not
highly respected in ancient Rome. It could
be a dangerous occupation. When the Romans saw a play they did not
like, they shouted at the actors and told them to get off the stage. If
they did not get off the stage, the audience might begin to throw
things at them.
Theatre and Masks (scbeo schools)
Roman Architecture - Free Presentations