• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Describe the theatre buildings and stage devices available to a playwright in ancient Greece. How do these compare with a modern theatre and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?

Extracts from this document...


Describe the theatre buildings and stage devices available to a playwright in ancient Greece. How do these compare with a modern theatre and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each? The ancient Greeks held their dramatic shows in open air, but most modern theatres are enclosed buildings. There are a number of similarities, such as the acting area and seating; but some differences, such as raised acting areas. The open-air theatre at Epidauros. It is the most reliable theatre we have still standing, as the rest have been built over, or destroyed. The skene was situated at the back of the orchestra (dancing area), and was originally a simple tent or hut in which actors could store props or change costumes. This developed into a more complicated wooden structure which, whilst still only temporary, was fitted with at least one door for actors to move in and out. It would also sometimes be painted to represent the front of a building; columns suggested a temple or palace. By the 4th century BC, the skene was a permanent stone structure, with as many as three doors, and accommodated the new mechanical devices that were being used. ...read more.


P.67 Penguin Edition. Translated by Alan H. Sommerstein. For visual and audio effects, the playwright of ancient Greece would have relied on the imagination of the audience. Some analysts have suggested that for some sounds - such as thunder - rocks could have been used, but it seems unlikely, as the dialogue clearly describes what is happening to the audience. A messenger has just appeared to tell news of Hippolytus' death. Messenger speaking: "And it was here that a kind of rumbling underground, like Zeus's thunder, rose with a deep roar that was terrible to hear." Hippolytus - Euripides. P.120 Penguin Edition. Translated by Philip Vellacott. There would have been no stage lighting for the plays, as they were produced during the daytime in open-air theatres. Watchman: "I know the stars by heart, the armies of the night, and there in the lead the ones that bring us snow or the crops of summer." Agamemnon - Aeschylus. P.103 Penguin Edition. Translated by Robert Fagles. Another device used was the mechane - a stage crane, primarily used to lift actors playing gods from the roof of the skene, and as such was often called the 'deus ex machina' (god from a machine). "Jason batters at the doors. ...read more.


With the ancient theatres, the audience sat on a curved slope, which naturally carried sound; however, modern theatres tend to be in large rooms that are built with good acoustics, but actors still have to have powerful voices to carry the sound to the back of the audience. The more advanced rigging of modern theatres means that actors can do more dangerous and spectacular stunts on stage safely. On the other hand, the simpler nature of the ancient Greek plays - leaving the extraordinary happenings in the imagination of the audience - can give a more personal feel to the performance, and a good playwright would still be able to convey his message well. With the use of the more advanced technology in drama, the playwright can sometimes lose perspective and go over the top with amazing the audience, and not present his message - however, with ancient theatres; the playwright could concentrate on dialogue, and describing what's happening with actions. Modern theatres have more options open to them, it seems, for the extraordinary - having more advanced technology - but the ancient Greeks stayed in the audience's imagination, leaving the spectators more satisfied with what they'd seen. 1,029 Words. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Classics essays

  1. "Do you think that Euripides intended us to sympathise with Medea?"

    think that Medea is wronged so we gain a little sympathy for Medea, but we also see that Medea yet again is scheming and uses Ageus to get out of Corinth and makes him swear by the gods that he will give her a safe home, we know that if

  2. Antigone Essay

    Haemon blamed Creon for the death of Antigone; he believed that she died because of his wrongful orders. By killing himself, Haemon was getting revenge on his father by showing him what it felt like to lose a loved one.

  1. A Raisin in the Sun: Summary and Analysis

    Asagai is what Walter will never understand, a man very proud of his heritage. I think that Asagai would be a better husband to Benetha because he is caring, unlike George, who just want to get Benetha in the sack, but Asagai cares about Benethas future and they both share an interest in their heritage.

  2. Who made the greatest contribution to the Athenian Constitution?

    A future example of a tyranny is that of the Soviet Union, where Joseph Stalin was in power from 1922 until his death in 1953. Stalin ruled as a tyrant, a dictator with absolute power, and under his reign, the Soviet Union was able to bridge the distance between itself and the West in terms of economy and technology.

  1. To what extent are the traditions and values of the ancient Olympic Games reflected ...

    must employ backwards falls which are not safe for the wrestler...they must have skill in various methods of strangling; they also wrestle with an opponent's ankle and twist his arm, besides hitting and jumping on him, for all these practices belong to the pankration, only biting and gouging being excepted', philostratos.

  2. Understand how customer services is provided in business.

    Employee: Ok, what was this person's name? Customer: Max. Employee: I just asked him and he doesn't remember. Customer: I want to speak to your manager. Employee: There is no need to get the manager involved. Customer: Yes there is, call him. Manager: Is there a problem?

  1. Sophocles - The Theban Plays.

    The chorus' opinion, along with Teiresias' words forms the determining factor, as in the end, they convince Creon to show mercy and set Antigone free. Creon has to weigh each factor carefully, and in the end, he has to decide between ideals.

  2. Pericles and Athens in the 5th century BC

    , Peace was signed with Persian in 449, Athenian culture flourished as Athenian grew. 1. His political opponents 300 At Around 461 BC, leadership of the democratic party had decided to aim at the Areopagus, a traditional council which had once been the most powerful body in the state, controlled

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work