As long as human beings are involved, histrionics is pretty much ageless. At some time in our lives, each of us is likely to have a histrionic moment . . . one in which we go overboard with the way we talk or act to make a point.
What period in history does histrionics cover?
Actors can be histrionic intentionally in their stage presentations, expressing overly dramatic emotions to bring out a certain effect among their audiences. Such high drama may also play out in our everyday lives at school, at work, and within our relationships.
Literature gives us some references to histrionic behavior. From Edith Wharton's Age of Innocence:
It was always for the sake of that particular scene that Newland Archer went to see "The Shaughraun." He thought the adieux of Montague and Ada Dyas as fine as anything he had ever seen Croisette and Bressant do in Paris, or Madge Robertson and Kendal in London; in its reticence, its dumb sorrow, it moved him more than the most famous histrionic outpourings.
And from Thomas Hardy's Return of the Native:
And fight they did; the issue of the combat being that the Valiant Soldier was slain by a preternaturally inadequate thrust from Eustacia, Jim, in his ardour for genuine histrionic art, coming down like a log upon the stone floor with force enough to dislocate his shoulder.