This paper explores the construction of dramatic space in the prologues of classical Greek drama. Drawing from theater scholarship on the phenomenology of space, I show how tragedians and comedians alike experimented with how to shape their audience’s understanding of a play’s setting. I focus on opening scenes in plays by Sophocles and Aristophanes where a character sees with and for the audience, and demonstrate how these moments of staged spectatorship are not necessarily straightforward or seamless; they can facilitate the viewing of dramatic space but also, by laying it bare, reveal its complications. Sometimes there are multiple representational possibilities for physical space within and around the theater; sometimes physical and fictional space are to be seen simultaneously; sometimes the representational gap between physical and fictional space is kept open for a surprisingly long time. Such exposure of the process of theatrical representation, I argue, can draw the audience in as a co-participant in a drama’s production.
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Research Article| December 22 2020
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Naomi Weiss; Opening Spaces: Prologic Phenomenologies of Greek Tragedy and Comedy. Classical Antiquity 22 December 2020; 39 (2): 330–367. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/ca.2020.39.2.330
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