November 23: Thespis of Icaria Becomes the World’s First Actor


NOVEMBER 23 November 23 marks the traditional date when the first ever human being to take the stage and portray someone else other than himself took place. This person, according to various sources, most notably Aristotle, was a man named Thespis of Icaria. (which is also where we get the word “thespian”, meaning “actor”) In his first performance as an actor, Thespis supposedly took the stage wearing a mask and portraying the god Dionysus, which was considered by many to be blasphemous.

Before Thespis, performers would take the stage as story tellers and the performances were often choral. According to Aristotle, Thespis would take the stage actually portraying a single character and would wear different masks, depending on what character he was at that moment portraying.

Among other things, Thespis is also traditionally credited with winning the first ever “Best Tragedy” competition in Athens. He is also credited with inventing Greek Tragedy, but it is more likely, if anything, he just changed it from its previous storytelling, choral form to the individual actor form which sometimes included a backing choir and sometimes not.

Whether he actually did any of these things or whether he was just one of the more notable early actors that happened to get his name recorded prominently, today, November 23 also marks the day when the ghost of Thespis supposedly haunts public performances the world over, causing mischief and mayhem wherever he can in those performances.

Director's Blog

'Take Me To My Seat!', a Theatre Ghost Story for Halloween

Daisy is a musical from 1966, which starred Ethel Merman as a woman so…

Everyone Should Give Theatre a Try

Everyone should try theatre, just once. It changed my life around…

Study Boosts Children’s Academic Performance

The recent university research explored the educational and social…

How Studying Drama Can Benefit Students

As drama educators, we obviously believe that the arts should be a…

Here’s How To Work Backstage On Broadway

So, being center stage in the spotlight during the eleven o’clock…

Every Actor Should be Involved Backstage At Least Once

It is often said that “actors without stagehands are naked people…

17 Twitter Terms Actors Must Know

I thought I’d break down some Twitter vocabulary (because it…

Bringing Light From The Shadows: The Job Of A Lighting Designer

We just finished another amazing theatrical production and spent over…

10 Life Lessons Theatre Taught Me

Education is key to the development of the world, and the diversity of…

November 23: Thespis of Icaria Becomes the World’s First Actor

November 23 marks the traditional date when the first ever human being…

Backstage Pass

Big 10 2022: The 10 Most Represented Colleges on Broadway

Find out which colleges and universities had the most alumni…

Dear Evan Hansen to Become Feature Film

Tony-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen is set to become a feature film,…

Mallory Bechtel Sing 'Requiem'

Watch Dear Evan Hansen Star Mallory Bechtel Sing Haunting Solo Version…

OnStage 2022-2023

A Broadway Cabaret

Friends of Honesdale Performing Arts proudly presents A Broadway Cabaret February 11, 2023

Wicked on Broadway

Join us, Friends of Honesdale Performing Arts, to see “Wicked” at the Gershwin Theatre on Saturday, April 1, 2023

Chicago

Honesdale High School proudly presents Chicago April 21-23, 2023

Share:

Honesdale Performing Arts Center, on the campus of Honesdale High School.
459 Terrace Street
P.O. BOX 142
Honesdale PA 18431
Copyright © 1959- 2023. All Rights Reserved. Trademarks are of their respective owners.

Tel: (570) 251-9831
Fax: (570) 253-9256