- Mimes became a very popular form of entertainment. The performance contained songs and speech, as well as hand gestures and dancing to help convey the message and tone.
- There were two different types of mimes, mimes and pantomimes. The main difference between the two was that mimes were, in a way, less formal than pantomimes. The performances of mimes often happened during intermission or in between acts in plays.
A Roman theatre in Bosra, Syria
- Until 55 B.C., no permanent theaters existed in Rome. Theatrical performances were staged in temporary wooden structures.
- In 55 B.C., the Theater of Pompey was constructed, in honor of Pompey the Great's victories. There were 20,000 seats and it was about 45 meters tall. The Theater of Pompey became a template for all theaters that came after.
- Though Roman theatre was very strongly inspired by Greek theatre, the actual structures were quite different. For example, in Greek culture, the stage was low and simply decorated, however in Rome, they were extremely high and extravagantly decorated with statues and portraits.
- The reasons of these differences are both political and social. The lavishness of the stages and its richness were to emphasize the power and wealth of the government. The seats in Ancient Roman theaters were arranged by race, social class, gender, etc. which was not the case in Greece.
architecture of the theater
The different parts of a classic ancient Roman theater
- Scaenae frons - the wall right behind the stage had doors, columns and decorations.
- Scaenae - the stage where the actors played.
- Pulpitum - the area of the stage near the orchestra.
- Orchestra - semicircular, where the chorus was in dramatic plays; around its circular edge, the seats were reserved for the most important figures in society.
- Cavea - where the people could watch the plays; it was separated into three horizontal sections for the social classes.
- ima cavea = higher class, practically only men - closest to the stage
- media cavea = open for everyone, but mostly men - middle area
- summa cavea = for the children and women - farthest away from the stage