Introduction

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EXHIBITS    >    The technology of the ancient Greek theatre    >   

Introduction


The ancient theatre was an amazing innovation, on a worldwide scale, which constantly incorporated "state-of-the-art" technology of each era. The development of the theatre itself as a structure was very impressive; from the simple "platform" with the addition of the ingenious "pit" and the use of simple wooden scenery to the amazing stone complexes with the astounding "stage", with the wonderful colonnades at the front part of the stage and at the two "backstages", the impressive podium and the "side-aisles" completely harmonised in their space.

From the earliest appearance of the theatre (6th cent. B.C.), a multitude of technological innovations found application or were invented in order to improve its function and to serve the performance, such as: the "staircase of Death" (a hidden underground passage for the advent of Death), the "trap-door" for the quick appearance and disappearance of persons and objects, the "Deus ex machina" a crane for the hovering and descending of determinant persons on the stage (precursor of the modern theatrical elevating mechanisms), the "periaktoi" the rotating projectile launcher for the quick change of scenery, the "ekkyklyma" and "exostra" two mechanisms which were used for transporting the dead, objects, etc. on stage and for the rapid emergence and change of the interior scenery (precursor of modern rotating stages on a wagon), etc.