• 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...

Introduction

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.

Middle

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.

Conclusion

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. A Raisin in the Sun: Summary and Analysis

    Each of the characters in Raisin in the Sun each has a particular dream for a better future. Mama's dream is the main dream, because it is the one that goes through. Mama's husband, Walter Lee Sr. passed away and the family came across $10000 in insurance money.

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

    he knew she was going to kill he wouldn't, so we see a perfectly nice man get brought into a horrible situation that he cant get out of. We then see that Medea is planning to kill her children. The reason she is doing it is so that her enemies can't kill them and then have the last laugh.

  1. Antigone Essay

    Thirdly, a final character that was a necessity to the story was Tiresias. The King had utmost respect for this elder because he had graciously helped him in previous situations where Creon had needed advice. Because he regarded him so highly, he listened to Tiresias argument a little more thoroughly

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

    of hand (such as two of Peisistratos' descendants: it was feared they would bring a return to tyranny, so they were ostracised). The biggest weakness with ostracism, as Athena has mentioned, was that citizens were often exiled for strange reasons.

  1. Understand how customer services is provided in business.

    They know it is cheaper to increase sales through repeat business and by word of mouth recommendations than by advertising". Customer services also know that this can be achieved by giving the customer excellent customer services. In the public sector, failure to meet customer service standards may be reflected in league tables or published by the media.

  2. Medea - Euripides lived during the Golden Age of Athens, the city where he ...

    They try to reason with Medea and convince her that suicide would be an overreaction. The fickleness of a husband's love is an ordinary occurrence; rather than merit self-torment, it should be dealt with and forgotten. Still within the palace walls, Medea remains unyielding and calls on the gods Themis

  1. What picture does Aristophanes give us in Lysistrata of the character of Ancient Athenian ...

    Therefore I don't believe that this particular characteristic of bravery would've actually been true of Ancient Athenian women. When the chorus of old women appears, they support the argument that women's role in life is futile because they have all already lived through one war and so they know war

  2. Pericles and Athens in the 5th century BC

    In 461 BC, Pericles achieved the political elimination of this formidable opponent using the weapon of ostracism. The ostensible accusation was that Cimon betrayed his city by acting as a friend of Sparta. Even after Cimon's ostracism, Pericles continued to espouse and promote a populist social policy.

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