Listen to part of a lecture in an Introduction to Drama class.
Now, throughout the history of drama, there has been a, well, a relationship between the structure of a play, and the structure of the space where the play was performed.
And this goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks, the Greeks built the first theaters in the 5th century B.C.E.
These were outdoor theaters, the architects looked for sites where you had a natural bowl-like formation on the side of a hill, and that’s where they set the theater.
All Greek theaters were pretty much the same, there was some natural variation to accommodate the size and shape of the site,
but as far as the basic elements went, those remained constant.
Have a look at this diagram. Let’s start with the area where the actors performed, like, what we call the stage today.
The Greeks referred to this space as the skene, uh, there’s some confusion about the use of the word “skene” by different scholars.
Some authors use it to refer only to the structure behind the stage, while others use it to refer to the structure and the stage together,
and that’s how I’ll use the term, to refer to both the stage and the building.
Um, so, anyway, the skene started as a simple wooden platform, but eventually became much more elaborate.