8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Best critical tool for unlocking tragedy so far written,
This review is from: Tragedy in Athens: Performance Space and Theatrical Meaning (Paperback)
First let me state that this book is NOT for a person untutored in Greek tragedy. You have to know the plays well to begin to fathom the exquisite sense Mr. Wiles' analysis lends to an often mysterious performance-art form of which we have remaining only text.
That done, I will content myself and the discerning reader with a single extended quote:
"The Greek spectator did not leave his real physical environment behind and through his imagination somehow enter into a fictional universe where all spatial relationships are relative and the dramatic action is a closed structure. Fellow spectators were inescapably part of his visual field. So was the sun. His sense of absolute rather than relative space depended, above all, on the sense of the east, the direction of the sunrise which was near enough due east at the spring equinox when the City Dionysia took place. The temple of Dionysus and sacrificial rituals in the sanctuary faced east in accordance with standard Greek practice."
From this resolution the author takes up in detail issues, sometimes controversial sometimes unexplored,drawn from scenes from almost every play in the corpus of Greek tragedy. In an amazingly learned tour de force he shows how the space of performance was organized along dual axes: up-down, east-west, inside-outside. The audience was at once outside and inside the performance.
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