Audience versions of this page: FamilyOn November 23, 534 BCE, legend holds that the performer known as Thespis of Icaria (now Dionysos, Greece) recited lines as someone other than himself—becoming the world’s first actor.Before this time, theater performances were either storytelling or “choral” productions. Storytellers not only told stories of Greek gods and heroes, they also danced and sang. A Greek chorus was a group of between 12 and 50 performers who spoke in unison and often wore masks. Thespis was allegedly performing as part of a chorus when he stepped forward. He spoke lines written for the chorus by himself, in character as the Greek god Dionysus.Today, all actors are called “thespians” in his honor.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry actor Noun
person who performs a part in a play, broadcast, or other performance.
supposed or presumed.
Greek god of wine and fertility.
one of many spiritual deities or supreme beings.
Greek chorus Noun
group of performers who recited and danced in unison, commenting on the main action of a play.
person who acts in an exemplary way and is regarded as a model.
traditional or mythical story.
spoken words in a performance.
to learn by heart or commit to memory.
performance of a work written for the stage.
to repeat words in a formal setting, such as a prayer or lines from a play.
building or outdoor space for hosting performances.
actor or actress.
at the same time or in harmony.