Realism as a theatre movement emerged in Europe in the latter part of the 19th century. As a genuine theatre style, realism was a reaction against romanticism and the sensationalism of melodrama which dominated the stages of Europe and America for much of the 1800s. The realistic movement continues to influence theatre to this day.
A history play, also known as a chronicle play, is a dramatic work where the events of the plot are either partially or entirely drawn from history. It is also considered a theatrical genre. William Shakespeare wrote ten of these plays, each loosely based on an English monarch and the period in which he reigned. Importantly, these plays remain works of fiction, whether based on an historical figure or not.
Roman theatre is said to have begun around 240 B.C. Most Roman dramas were translations or imitations of Greek plays. While broader forms of entertainment such as athletic events, music, dance and chariot races played a pivotal role in Roman life, theatrical forms included mime and farce, with comedy being more popular than tragedy. Only some of the comedies of Plautus and Terence survive today, yet no tragic works have survived. Like the Greeks before them, the Romans performed plays at religious festivals in honour of their Gods. Roman theatres were huge architectural structures, of which several exist to this day.