Q#1: Greek plays originate from the time of festivities in the honour of god Dionysius.
The origins of Greek theatre lie in the revels of the followers of Dionysus, a god of fertility and wine. In keeping with the god’s special interests, his cult ceremonies are exciting occasions. His female devotees, in particular, dance themselves into a state of frenzy. Carrying long phallic symbols, known as thyrsos, they tear to pieces and devour the raw flesh of sacrificial animals.
Historians say the greatest Athenian contribution to literature was the rise of drama. Greek drama was a product of the worship of the god Dionysus. By the fifth century B.C., a drama festival to honor this god had become traditional.
Although the origin of Greek drama cannot be known with any certainty, we do know that tragedy and comedy had deep roots in the religious and communal life of the Greek polis ( A city-state of ancient Greece )and were closely connected with the worship of the god Dionysus (sometimes spelled Dionysos).
But the Dionysians also develop a more structured form of drama. They dance and sing, in choral form, the stories of Greek myth.
In the 6th century BC a priest of Dionysus, by the name of Thespis, introduces a new element which can validly be seen as the birth of theatre. He engages in a dialogue with the chorus. He becomes, in effect, the first actor.
Actors in the west, ever since, have been proud to call themselves Thespians.
According to a Greek chronicle of the 3rd century BC, Thespis is also the first winner of a theatrical award. He takes the prize in the first competition for tragedy, held in Athens in 534 BC.
Theatrical contests become a regular feature of the annual festival in honour of Dionysus, held over four days each spring and known as the City Dionysia. Four authors are chosen to compete. Each must write three tragedies and one satyr play (a lascivious farce, featuring the sexually rampant satyrs, half-man and half-animal,.