The Theatre of Ancient Greece

Essay by saraos January 2009

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The theatre of ancient Greece is a theatrical tradition that grew in ancient Greece between 550 and 220 BC. Athens was the centre of ancient Greece theatre. Tragedy and comedy were some of theatrical forms of plays performed there.

The origin of Western theatre is in ancient Greece. It developed from a festival in Athens, honoring the god Dionysus.

Greek plays were performed in an outdoor theatre and were always performed by three male performers. The plays had a chorus of fifty people, who performed the plays in verse along with music, starting in the morning and lasting until the evening. The choragus was the head chorus member who could enter the story as a character able to interact with the characters.

The orchestra is a round shape at the middle of the theatre. Hard earth or marble formed this area. The orchestra is where the chorus danced and sang.

The actors also performed in the orchestra. The orchestra was placed at the foot of a hill, the slope of which made the theatron, or watching place. The theatron overlooked the middle part of the stage. The viewers sat on padded seats or boards, later theatrons had marble seats. The first rows had stone blocks called “prohedria” and reserved for priests and few most respected citizens.

The skene is a building built depending on the needs of the play. It had at least one set of doors and performers would go in and exit through them. The roof would also be available through the skene so that performers playing God or other parts would sometimes appear on the roof. The death of a character was always heard behind the skene, for it was considered inappropriate to show a killing in the view of the audience. The pardos or passageways got...