of the Day
Clue of the Month
Small buildings of ancient Greece used for public performances
Contemporary theaters of concert halls
Greek theaters; Concert halls; Ancient theaters; Concert venues;
Greek playhouses; Music halls
3 times a year
Best Preserved Ancient Greek Theater
Greek theatre (AE theater) or Greek drama is a theatrical
tradition that flourished in ancient Greece between c. 550 and c.
220 BC. Athens, the political and military power in Greece during
this era, was the centre of ancient Greek theatre. Tragedy (late
6th century BC), comedy (486 BC), and satyr plays were some of
the theatrical forms to emerge in the world. Greek theatre and
plays have had a lasting impact on Western drama and culture.
origin of western theatre is to be found in ancient Greece. It
developed from a state festival in Athens, honoring the god
Dionysus. The Athenian city-state exported the festival to its
numerous allies in order to promote a common identity.
view of the Greek theatre at Epidaurus.
plays had a chorus of up to fifty people, who performed the plays
in verse accompanied by music, beginning in the morning and
lasting until the evening. The performance space was a simple
semi-circular space, the orchestra, where the chorus danced and
sang. The orchestra, which had an average diameter of 78 feet,
was situated on a flattened terrace at the foot of a hill, the
slope of which produced a natural theatron, literally "watching
place". Later, the term "theatre" came to be
applied to the whole area of theatron, orchestra, and skené.
The choragos was the head chorus member who could enter the story
as a character able to interact with the characters of a play.
theatres were originally built on a very large scale to
accommodate the large number of people on stage, as well as the
large number of people in the audience, up to fourteen thousand.
Mathematics played a large role in the construction of these
theatres, as their designers had to able to create acoustics in
them such that the actors' voices could be heard throughout the
theatre, including the very top row of seats. The Greeks'
understanding of acoustics compares very favourably with the
current state of the art, as even with the invention of
microphones, there are very few modern large theatres that have
truly good acoustics. The first seats in Greek theatres (other
than just sitting on the ground) were wooden, but around 499 BC
the practice of inlaying stone blocks into the side of the hill
to create permanent, stable seating became more common. They were
called the "prohedria" and reserved for priests and a
few most respected citizens.
465 BC, the playwrights began using a backdrop or scenic wall,
which hung or stood behind the orchestra, which also served as an
area where actors could change their costumes. It was known as
the skené, or scene. The death of a character was always
heard, “ob skene”, or behind the skene, for it was
considered inappropriate to show a killing in view of the
audience. The English word 'obscene' is a derivative of 'ob
skene.' In 425 BCE a stone scene wall, called a paraskenia,
became a common supplement to skenes in the theatres. A
paraskenia was a long wall with projecting sides, which may have
had doorways for entrances and exits. Just behind the paraskenia
was the proskenion. The proskenion ("in front of the scene")
was columned, and was similar to the modern day proscenium.
Today's proscenium is what separates the audience from the stage.
It is the frame around the stage that makes it look like the
action is taking place in a picture frame.
theatres also had entrances for the actors and chorus members
called parodoi. The parodoi (plural of parodos) were tall arches
that opened onto the orchestra, through which the performers
entered. In between the parodoi and the orchestra lay the
eisodoi, through which actors entered and exited. By the end of
the 5th century BCE, around the time of the Peloponnesian War,
the skene, the back wall, was two stories high. The upper story
was called the episkenion. Some theatres also had a raised
speaking place on the orchestra called the logeion.
article is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia
article "Theatre of ancient Greece".
Lionel Richie hit of 1987
We LAT 08 She played Theodora on "Sisters"
We NYS 06 "Sisters" Emmy winner Ward