Via Tecta (Sacred Way)

Theater, Ritual and Storytelling

| Nalan for Hygeia | Leave a Comment

Translation: Nalan Özkan Lecerf

[…] There are various views on the beginning of theater. The first one is that the source of theater are rituals. Ritual is a kind of “play” based on repetition, created by people of the early ages. At the heart of these plays is the behaviour of the earliest humans who attributed some natural phenomena, that they initially could not understand, to supernatural causes (‘superior forces’ which are superior to themselves in all aspects). Later on these humans began to look for ways to obtain the properties of the ‘superior forces’ that they couldn’t understand. After some time they deciphered the clear correlation between the tools they used and the result they wanted to achieve. These tools were repeated, investigated, compared and as a result became rituals. At this stage the whole group was usually representing the ritual, while the ‘audience’ stood for the supernatural force.

Further it has been suggested that the origin of theater is in storytelling. Telling and listening to stories are basic human-specific behaviors. The transmission of a development in which the recall of an event is carefully processed forms the structure of this storytelling. First by the use of a narrator in personification, action and dialogue, and then by the fact that different people take on roles.

Theater existed with mankind. The primitive man first used imitation in order to get along with each other and to explain his thoughts. Later earliest humans expressed their love for nature, their fears by dancing, moving together. Then they began to play with masks that they made from grass and tree barks in order to ward off evil spirits according to their beliefs. Besides they tried to understand the causes of their daily problems by enacting plays.

In a nutshell, theater whose origins are explained as rituals, storytelling, willingness to listen or rhythmic dances, can be defined also as the art of “man tells man to man”.[…]

Source: “Eğitimde Yaratıcı Drama”, Prof. Dr. Ömer Adıgüzel, p. 234 / Image: WhyAthens.com; The High Priestess with the Olympic Flame at the Temple of Hera in Olympia.

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