All entries for October 2004

October 20, 2004


6. Taking into account your findings in the above explorations, suggest one or more ways in which the voting scene, and the final hymn by the Women of Athens have been staged in the Eumenides.

We would position Orestes and The Furies at opposite sides of downstage obviously showing their opposition. To show her status we would have Athena at the back on a rasied level in the middle, again showing her status, whilst also conveying her sense of fairness and equality. We would position the judges sitting at the front symbolising that their vote is at the forefront of the play.


. Where are the best and worst seats in the 4th century theatron? Why?

In the 4th century Theatron there were 13 wedges called Kerkides. We think that it is logical that the wedges that were more central and towards the front would be considered the best seats. Therefore we think the worst would be towards the back and sides as the view of the stage would be more restricted as well more difficulty hearing the dialogue.

i*. How did the physical conditions of spectatorship for ancient Athenian audiences differ from the usual conditions of spectatorship in a conventional theatre building today?*

The spectators in an Athenian audience we seated in very close proximity on either side and back to front in the respect that you rested your back on the knees of the specator behind you. It has been commented that due to the close proximity, emotions were heightened. For example a shudder or a sob could be felt as you are seated so close to one another.

ii. Do these differences suggest a fundamentally, or merely superficially different theatrical experience?

It is difficult to experience the same sort of emotions in contemporary theatre due to the lessened importance of theatre in our society and the conditions, however through the natualistic movement an audience is able to experience similar emotions to that of a Greek audience. Plays are still performed in a similar style to that of Greek theatre, in the actual Amphitheatres which suggests that the actual experience can be recreated to a certain extent.

iii. Read the short note on Greek Audiences, and the longer text by Csapo and Slater. How might a style, or styles, of performance have evolved in response to the scale and sight-lines of the theatre, and the nature of the spatial and emotional relationship between Athenian spectators and performers?

The style of Grrek theatre may have evolved into a more melodramatic spectical as the enorminty of the audience grew. Therefore gestures and dialogue would become more leaborate to enable those on the sidelines and at the back to hear and see so that they can follow the plot. On one hand the emotional relationship between audience and actor would be lessened in terms of todays inimate theatres, because of the obvious difference in distance. However as the audience number increase the space decreases and so people are more inimately seated with each other, so emotions would be heightened and passed through the crowd.

iv. Might different parts of the theatre have demanded different styles of performance?

v. How might the style of choral performance have differed from that of the character actors?

The choral performance would perhaps have more energy as working withn a group creates an atmosphere. Also the chorus has a responsibility to help with the audiences understanding of the plot and so may perhaps be more melodramatic with their movements and gestures.


*Explore both of these theories by considering the 'binding scene' in the Eumenides:

i. What kinds of spatial and choreographic relationships between theatre, spectators, actors and chorus, could have been established in each case?*

ii.How might different spatial relationships have affected the meaning of the scene, or the characterisation and status of the characters and chorus?

In theatre the use of space is often used to reflect meaning, for example status, relationships between characters, plot etc. Therefore in this scene we would create distance between Klytemnestra and Orestes with the Furies inbetween to show their hatred. Similarly to show Apollos belief in Orestes we would have the characters quite close in proximity.


*Compare and contrast its stone skene with the wooden Phlyakes stage.

i.What possibilities and limitations for performance does each type of scene building allow or impose?*

The advantage of the temporary wooden Phlyakes is its possible ability to be deconstructed and adapted to each play, wheras the permenant stone skene is less maliable in the respect that it would be typecast to a certain type of performance, eg tragedy.

ii.The action of the Eumenides is set in three locations. What are they?

The first location of action in the Eumenides is outside the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Next the action moves inside the Temple of Apollo. Finally the action moves to Acropolis the Temple of Athene, where the play closes.

iii.How might these scene changes have been staged?

The scene changes might have been helped by a significant change in the chorus' movements, to create the desired atmosphere for the following scene.

5th–century Theatre of Dionysus–Beck and Pidge

2. * The 4th century B.C.E. Phlyakes vases from the south of Italy show temporary wooden stages which we believe are similar or identical to those that would have been used for comic performance in the 5th century B.C.E. How adequate or appropriate would such a stage have been for the performance of tragedy in the 5th century B.C.E., in particular the Eumenides? *

To have a tragedy, such as Eumendies, performed on a stage associated with comedy would be inaprropriate. The audience would link previous comic plays with the tragedy, making it harder to establish the appropriate atmosphere. Stages in comedy were often lightweight and festive, therefore would not be appropriate in the performance of a tragedy.

ii. * Where could Klytemnestra, Apollo and Orestes have performed in the opening scene of the play? *

In the opening scene of the play we would position Apollo downstage left on a raised platform, symbolising his Godly status. Downstage right we would position Orestes, parralell wiith Apollo to show their allegience against Klytemnestra. However we would have Orestes kneeling to emphasise their difference in status. Lastly we would position Klytemnestra upstage centre, again on a platform surrounding Orestes and Apollo showing her dominance over the plot.

  • Where could the chorus have performed? *

We would place the chorus around the back of the stage, in a semi circle with Kyltemnestra in the middle. They would be surrounding the other characters, again displaying their dominance and importance of the plot.

October 15, 2004

Web resources– Pidge and Beck

i. Is it possible to determine whether the ancient vase paintings are depictions of theatrical performances, or of the myths upon which the plays are also based?

In Ancient Greece at the time women would not have been acting in theatrical performances, as this was purely for men. This therefore suggests that the vase paintings were depictions of myths, rather than plays because of the use of the women. Also, supporting this is the fact that on the vases the people are not wearing masks, which they would be doing if they were actors. In Greek Theatre there was no use of the protaganist and antagonist, which is shown in the vases, instead Greek theatre focused on the use of the chorus.

ii. In the light of your response to i. above, how significant may ancient vase paintings be as evidence for ancient theatre practice?

We could view these as significant in that they provide a visual image of theatre, however we need to consider the reliability. These vase paintings may not be reliable evidence of theatre practice as they may have been created in order to flatter, or even just for decoration. It seems these paintings can be a misleading representation of theatre practice due to the inclusion of women, lack of masks chorus, and audience.

October 2004

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  • poor little pidgeon, this is your first comment in 9 weeks and many entries. by on this entry

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