Greek Theatre originated in Athens, Greece between 550 BC and 220 BC. It revolved around a play festival called the Dionysia which honoured the Greek god, Dionysis. This play festival featured three main genres: tragedy, comedy and satyr. In ancient Greece, theatre was considered to be of great importance. Crowds of 15,000 people would gather to see a play and every town had at least one theatre. Thus, in the following essay I will discuss the theatres in which these important plays were performed, the different structures found in a Greek theatre and the purpose of these structures. Greek Theatres were called amphitheatres and were situated outdoors. They were often built on hillsides so that people could be seated in a way that let them see what was going on down in the orchestra pit (the stage area). Because of drama's close connection with religion, theatres were often located in or near sanctuaries. For example, there is a theatre situated on top of Mt. Parnassus above the famous temple of Apollo at Delphi. Similarly, the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens was situated in the sacred grounds of Dionysus at the foot of the Acropolis. Within these amphitheatres there were many different structures, namely: the skene, the orchestra, the altar, the parados, the exostra/eccyclema, the theatron and the mechane. The theatron, literally meaning ‘viewing-place’, is where the audience sat. It was usually situated on a hillside overlooking the orchestra and often wrapped around a large portion of the orchestra. The orchestra, literally meaning ‘dancing space’, was normally circular. It was a level space where the chorus would dance, sing, and interact with the actors who were on the stage. The earliest orchestras were only made of hard earth, but in the Classical period some orchestras began to be paved with marble and other materials. In the centre of the orchestra was the altar. The chorus did not use the altar as part of their performance, but instead, the altar acted...
Bibliography: http://greece.mrdonn.org/theatre.html; 27/04/2013
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