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Ancient Greek Theatre
by K. Phillips
The stage directions, or how the actors move on the stage, reveals what is going on. For example, in reading a Greek play, a setting for the play is noted. In a production, the setting would have been orally transferred to the audience from the leader of the chorus, the korypharios. The following is an example of what the chorus leader would say to set the scene.
(SCENE:--Before the royal palace of Oedipus at Thebes. In front of the large central doors there is an altar; a smaller altar stands also near each of the two side-doors. Suppliants--old men, youths, and young children--are seated on the steps of the altars. They are dressed in white tunics and cloaks,--their hair bound with white fillets. On the altars they have laid down olive-branches wreathed with fillets of wool. The PRIEST OF ZEUS, a venerable man, is alone standing, facing the central doors of the palace. There are now thrown open. Followed by two attendants, who place themselves on either side of the doors, Oedipus enters, in the robes of a king. For moment he gazes silently on the groups at the altars, and then speaks.) (Sophocles 121)This is a scene of Oedipus the King by Sophocles. It:
The audience must know what was going on to understand the play. The words spoken normally do this, but some things must be seen. There may be times when the hypocrits donít say something, and their actions told you this information.
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This page was created by K. Phillips. Last revised 03/29/00.