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Theatre Essay Sample

This theatre paper is a sample that you should read through. It contains interesting thoughts and ideas that you can use.

How Did Theatre Get Started?

Theatre is performance as a form of art or entertainment. Performance exists in many contexts and human activities, but it is only when it is done for the aforementioned purpose that it can truly be called theatre. How, then, did theatre originate? One commonly held belief is that it developed from ritualistic practices. Yet, the validity of this assumption has been re-examined and newer research suggests that its origin lies elsewhere. Scholarship has moved away from this consensus. New hypotheses which treat it as kind of necessary consequence of human activity and language have been put forward.

One explanation is that we should ultimately see all human activities as performative. This includes both ritual and theatre. In this sense, the relationship between them is parallel rather than hierarchical. That is, both theatre and ritual originated as different forms of performance, which is an essential human activity, rather than one giving birth to the other (Brockett & Hildy 3). Rozik offers a different explanation which expands upon this idea. According to him, theatre is an instrument of thinking and communication which has its roots in human psychology (xi).

It seems, then, that more recent research does not negate a possible relationship between theatre and ritual. However, the common idea that the performance as a form of entertainment that grew out of ritualistic practices has fallen out of favor. Instead, current scholarship suggests that both of these practices are related by a common origin, which can be traced to more fundamental aspects of human language and communication in general.

Works Cited

Brockett, Oscar G., and Franklin J. Hildy. History of the Theatre. 10th ed., Pearson Education, Inc., 2008.
Rozik, Eli. The Roots of Theatre: Rethinking Ritual and Other Theories of Origin. University of Iowa Press, 2005.

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