An Introduction to Byzantine Drama
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This lecture starts with a reference to the Byzantine dramatic tradition. The Byzantium, and in particular the church, did not encourage the growth of religious theatre and this is mainly due to theological reasons. During the 15th century, a few years before the end of the Byzantine Empire, the religious theatre of the catholics was characterized as 'sect'and 'innovation'. They are terms which ostensibly show a theatrophobia, but which are comprehended in the context of the liturgical art of the church and by the study of another view of the world where the catalytic presence of the holy dominates. It is distinctive that only one Byzantine manuscript that emanates from Cyprus gives elements for a theatrical performance of the Passion of the Christ. Nevertheless, some of the researchers tried to apply the conclusions for the religious theatre of the catholic west in the Byzantine culture, attributing to phenomena irrelevant to the stage, the terms 'theatre' and 'drama'. This study examines the role of theatre in the Byzantium (through the comparison of theatrical experience between west and east) and it negotiates texts and practices that can be considered as belonging to the religious drama, with the literal importance of term: a text with instructions, which is intended to be presented on a stage in front of a crowd.
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