Tracy Lyon – Greek Comedy and Tragedy today

One aspect of Greek Drama that really resonated with me was that the point of the tragedy was to cause the members of the audience to really internalize the issue at hand, to think, what would I do if that were me? I think the best literature, even today, still encourages its audience to ask that same question. However, I think movies and television have made our audience much more passive about receiving the story. I think digital storytelling may have an opportunity to bring that back into clear focus though. The online audience is more singular than movie goers or television viewers are, and as such, may find themselves feeling much more personal about the message received.  I think that digital storytelling will bring back the Greek style, at least in this sense. We want our audience to feel, to think, and to react in a certain way, just as the authors and the players of Ancient Greece did.

The idea of Greek Comedy, as a satirical look at society, is quite different from our modern-day comedies, which use humor in a quite different way, purely for the entertainment and enjoyment of the audience. We do have the equivalent to the Greek Comedies, though, and in the sense of pointing out the shortcomings of political figures and their questionable decisions, I think digital storytelling can continue this tradition with ease. The difficulty lies in our lawsuit-happy political state, though, and the threat of libel tends to inhibit the sharpest critiques.

Another aspect of the BBC episode that I found interesting was the way that the audience was brought to the theater by way of a parade and something like political awards and announcements.  The narrator made the point that the audience became one by this procession, which brought to my mind the idea of mob mentality.  Our own literature has mainly lost this impact on the world, and individual voices are not only heard, but encouraged, at least in Western society. Today’s writers, publishers, and editors must seek to reach not a single, united mind, but a wide range of fans, viewers, and critics. They must decide which group to focus most on appealing to with the work they complete, whether fans, that seek to be entertained, viewers who wish to be informed, or critics, who will attack their work if they do not create it defensively enough.

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