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Where Do Stories Come From

How do we define what a story is? What characteristics does it have? Where does our Western understanding of performing stories come from?

In the following videos you will learn about shifts in how stories get performed with the birth of the Greek theatre.
As we will discuss, storytelling and acting are not necessarily the same, but there are similarities. The plays we have from the classical Greek theatre are another source for the traditional stories that we have. Here myths become literary – they become the interpretation of one particular writer.

In the second video, you will meet Aristotle (or re-meet him, you may know him from his philosophical works on ethics and rhetoric – logos, ethos and pathos – that’s him!). Aristotle defines a lot of what we know about stories: what makes them work, what elements are needed for stories, and what the purpose of a story (at least tragedy) is. We don’t know what he had to say about comedy, but there were probably similarities.

In our Zoom discussion, we’ll talk about how this relates back to fairy tales and their structure.

Videos #1 and #2 are a part of the Crash Course Theatre History project.
Video #3 Goes into deeper ideas about Aristotle and story and is optional, but highly recommended.

Do you agree with Aristotle about what makes for a good story?