An unprecedented heyday reached the V century BC. E. Athens. The capital of Greece has become not only a major port of the Aegean Sea, but also one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean. Arriving from the sea, guests were on wide, strictly parallel streets leading to the center. On the highest part of the city towered the Acropolis – a majestic ensemble of inimitable beauty of buildings and structures.
Particularly elegant was the city during the festivities in honor of the god of earthly fertility of Dionysus. During the year there were several, but the most solemn and impressive were the autumn “Great Dionysia“. Preparation for them lasted for several months, and when the holidays came, they involved the whole population.
These days, important state affairs were suspended, courts were closed, and even prisoners were released from prisons.
What kind of ideas did not occur these days in the “magnificent”, “white-colon” Athens? Solemn processions of citizens, exciting gymnastic games, chariot races and exciting competitions between rhapsodies – wandering singers and storytellers. And in the center of the square on small wooden platforms, choral songs, pantomimes, dances were performed, and small scenic representations were played out. It was here during the holidays that two main genres of the ancient Greek theater were born: comedy and tragedy. According to legend, the first such improvised scene was a cartwheel edged with boards.
Later, he turned into a round platform – “orchestra.” And when the stage performances from the squares were transferred to the specially constructed theaters, the orchestra was called the semicircular stage, on which the performance was going. In the center of the orchestra there was an altar for sacrifices to Dionysus. On his steps was usually located flutist or several musicians playing on various instruments. So the word orchestra appeared.
Performances in the ancient Greek theater lasted from early morning until late at night and gathered tens of thousands of spectators. (Recall that it was here for the first time that the recognition of the tragedy of three brilliant Greek playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides – was universally recognized.)
The seats for the spectators were located amphitheater, often built right on the mountainside. And below, on a huge orchid that was more than twenty meters in diameter, there was a performance.
The instrumentalists on stage had a specific task: they accompanied the singing and dancing of the choir. This was the name of a group of actors who during the play had to sing, dance, perform pantomimes.