Friday, February 24, 2012

Spirited/Reasoning: Stagecraft in Aeschylus

Usually when I read Greek drama, I don't consider the actual theatrical performance of the plays. Instead, I think about the language and the themes. The first time the actual staging became important to me was when I was assigned large portions of Oliver Taplin's The Stagecraft of Aeschylus in my Agamemnon class at my alma mater. Taplin explains the importance of the entrances and exits of the characters and the staging.

Recently, in the Garvie commentary which I have been raving about of late, the staging has come to my attention. Garvie explores a lot of the controversial aspects of the staging of the Persians in his introduction. I ended up dealing with this specifically in my presentation today in my Persians class. Taplin (and Garvie citing Taplin) discuss the difference between the two entrances of Atossa. At the first entrance, the chorus greets the queen with a full body prostration and the queen arrives decked out in rich clothing and she presumably arrives in a chariot. In the second entrance, she arrives on foot, possibly dressed in black, and carrying a set of libations. Her change in attire demonstrates the change in fate of the empire.

The presentation went reasonably well, thanks to some help from Propertius II with regards to the meter. Now back to more Lysias (of which I have completed two pages today and am hoping to read two more tonight).

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