New archeological exhibition of the Museum of Cycladic Art on the theme of ancient theater

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A new archeological exhibition on the ancient theater is planned by the Museum of Cycladic Art (MKT) for the end of 2023. According to a museum announcement, the new exhibition, the title of which will be announced soon, will be the first curated by the new scientific director of MKT, Nikolaos Kaltsas. The exhibition will focus on ancient drama as an expression of democratic thought. Sculptures, vases with scenes from tragedies, small objects related to the costumes of the actors and the cult of Dionysus, the god of theater, found in museums in Greece and Europe, will frame the exhibition, so that the visitor can understand the deeper meaning of ancient drama and at the same time its educational and entertaining role.

Connected with the worship of Dionysus, the god of vegetation, fertility, but also the overthrow, which led mortals to ecstasy and liberation from everyday life, the ancient theater originally took the form of worship events. Very soon, within a period of half a century, inspired poets, such as Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, on the occasion of a mythological episode, composed works with beginning, plot and end, as the great philosopher Aristotle defines tragedy very successfully. . With texts that put forward ideas and touched on moral, social and political issues, they taught the spectators, who were free to watch the theatrical performances for free. The cornerstone of this free expression is comedy, the genre expressed mainly by Aristophanes, who used his satire to comment on the bad texts of society and the State.

The ancient Greek tragedy was the archetype for the writing of similar works during the Roman period, by Seneca and Quinto Ennio, then during the Renaissance and later by writers such as Rakinas, Voltaire, Alfieri, Shakespeare, Goethe, while it was and a source of inspiration for the creation of another genre, opera.

As Mr. Kaltsas states: “If equality, the equal possibility of freedom of speech in public, is one of the basic components of Athenian democracy, then it is no coincidence that, when the seed of this regime fell in Athens, in the south At the foot of the Acropolis, theater developed as an expression of free democratic thought. In tragedy the myth is only the occasion; everything else is the work of the poet, who poses dilemmas on stage, judges, criticizes, praises, challenges and lets the viewer choose his side. But mostly it leaves him with questions. On the other hand, the comedy does not use a mythical place and time, but the city of Athens and the present time, commenting on current events with satire. One could describe as a miracle this perfect poetic-theatrical genre that was developed and magnified in Athens 2,500 years ago and is still valid today, with the works of the tragic ones being played by the biggest troupes both in Greece and in world all, to charm and excite the public. Renowned Greek and famous foreign directors, such as Dimitris Rontiris, Karolos Koun, Peter Stein, Max Reinhardt, Bob Wilson, Yukio Ninagawa of the No theater and many others, staged the ancient Greek tragedies with great success on the theatrical stages. At the Museum of Cycladic Art, we chose theater as the theme of our next exhibition, as so far no exhibition has been presented that “teaches” the public about ancient drama in all its range, from its beginnings as worship events to its development and completion in the highest literary and theatrical genre “.

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