to its scheduled staging — perhaps a week in advance — each troupe should meet to decide which scene
to perform. Choose a scene that best reflects the themes
of the play in question. Next, decide how those themes
can be highlighted through a recreation of the scene within the context of the ancient Athenian theater.
Ultimately, each troupe
will make a Powerpoint presentation that depicts the positions of the characters and Chorus at key junctures in the scene while the scene is read aloud. That is, the presentation should function as an animatic that depicts the blocking of the scene during the reading.
Some technical specifications and considerations:
-- All troupes should use a reconstruction of the Theater of Dionysus as the background. The skene building should be rendered appropriately for the play.
-- The performers — characters, Chorus, extras — can be rendered with images from the web, or troupes can render their own. This is a chance for the artists among you to shine.
-- The action on the stage must be rendered from a distance — that is, the skene, orchestra, and eisodoi should always be visible, as if the vantage point were that of a spectator sitting mid-way up the slope. Avoid close-ups.
-- The movements of the characters should be clear as the scene progresses, with each slide on your presentation depicting a new movement. Movements may be large or small (e.g., striding across the orchestra, sinking into a kneeling position, gesturing with the arm), but should generally reflect moment-to-moment (NOT second-by-second) action.
-- Remember, the troupe will accompany the presentation by reading from the text of the scene. Note
that no one is beholden to the text (or the stage directions)
of the Chicago translations: a troupe may adopt another translation.
-- The entire presentation, both the graphical and the audible, should be well considered and well rehearsed. Although it might be tempting to place less emphasis on the reading, you will find that this entire exercise makes the playwrights' words that much more important.
-- The final slide of your presentation must offer image credits (if you used images from the web) and indicate any external resources you used when creating your staging.
For your consideration while planning the presentation:
-- What are the themes of the play at large? How does your scene reflect those themes?
-- What does the text (not the stage directions, which are the invention of the translator) tell you about where the characters are, and what they are doing?
-- How do the movements of the characters convey how they want to be perceived, both by the audience and by other characters?
-- Once the chorus has taken the stage, remember that (except in rare circumstances) it never leaves.
your staging will open the door to some lively classroom discussion.
At very least, your troupe should be prepared to describe
the rationale behind the choice of scene and its staging.