But to understand Greek plays, you need to understand an additional function of the chorus.
Yes, the ancient Greek chorus did most definitely sing and dance like choruses do today,
but the chorus’ most important role was commenting on what the characters on stage were doing and thinking.
In fact, Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, thought the chorus should be considered as acting out a role in the play.
Yeah, I read that a chorus could have a distinct personality, just like a person.
Absolutely. In fact, you’ll see an excellent example of that in the first play we’ll be studying.
Okay, the last space was the seating area for the audiences. This was called the theatron.
In ancient Greek, theatron means seeing; that’s S-E-E-I-N-G, seeing place.
The theaton was shaped in a semi-circle with rows of seating rising up the sides of the bowl.
It was designed to take advantage of the natural acoustic benefits of the setting.
The shape of the bowl captured sound and funneled it upwards so that even in the top rows, spectators were able to hear the performers very clearly.
Actually, that the name theatron means seeing place is kind of ironic.
Some theaters had fifty or more rows of seats accommodating up to 14,000 spectators, ascending way up to the hillside,
and this was long before theater binoculars were invented.