Theater is defined as a place where plays are performed. It is an open air or indoor building that may include a stage and other service areas. This term is also used for the act of watching a play or a movie.
The word theater comes from Greek and Latin theatron, meaning “place of seeing.” Ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean basin and the Western Hemisphere left evidence of theatrical events. During the Middle Ages, Morality plays became popular.
The Greeks developed a variety of genres. Among the most notable were the tragedy and comedy. These performances were accompanied by music and dance. Often, animal images were used to symbolize man’s relationship with nature. Throughout history, theatres have been built throughout the world. In the ancient Romans, an amphitheater was a large, open-air space that seated crowds. Usually, the audience sat on the grass, but the theatre also had permanent seats made from stone blocks.
The word theater is sometimes spelled drama. A dramatic performance is one that uses live actors to perform. The performance is characterized by an openness to criticism and an interest in adaptation. Drama is a branch of art. Whether it is performed onstage or offstage, the performance is a collaboration between the actors and the audience.
While there are many other definitions of the word, these examples do not fully represent Merriam-Webster’s opinion. They are drawn from various online news sources. The examples are also not intended to represent the opinions of the Oxford English Dictionary. Rather, they serve as examples of how the word is used.
The Greeks, who inhabited the Mediterranean basin and northern Europe, invented theater. This practice was initially a social and religious activity, in which the priestly caste separated themselves from the audience. Plays were performed as a way to communicate with supernatural forces. Athens played a prominent role in this type of entertainment.
Several ancient civilizations of the Far East and the Western Hemisphere constructed theaters. Some of these structures were purposely ceremonial. Others were designed for entertainment and combat. For example, Knoss in Crete has been identified as an early example of a purposely ceremonial theatre.
Today, the definition of theater is broad. Performances of plays, musicals, and ballets are just a few of the kinds of theater. However, there are other types, such as physical theatre and opera.
Aside from its use as a verb, the word theater can also refer to an adjectival form. Theater is a broader term, meaning all dramatic performances. This includes musicals and play-within-a-play. Moreover, there are several sub-definitions.
In the early 1900s, the Naturalism style of theatre was popular. This style was characterized by three-dimensional sets with perspective. As time went on, technology and fashion changed the way theaters were designed.
Baroque is a style of art and architecture. The dramas performed in this style focus on themes of deception, duty, and the tensions between reality and illusion. Many plays in this style feature ornate detail.