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Stage your own Greek play

There are many stories from Greek history and legend that are suitable for enacting and Greek plays were often based on already well known stories. Some stories you might like to stage are outlined below as well as list of others. There are many more.

The choice of a myth may be suitable material for an assembly presentation. Mythos is an ancient Greek word that means ‘a spoken or written story’; but a myth is more than a story, it usually contains a moral message, often religious or social, and it is this message that might make it appropriate for use in an assembly.

For instance in the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, Theseus battles a supernatural monster, and becomes the saviour of his people. Although, in keeping with the message that pride comes before a fall, when he abandons the person who helped him defeat the monster, he causes the death of his father.

The stories derive from an oral tradition and as a result there are many variations of detail and allows us to edit the more sensitive relationship issues as we wish to suit our audience.

The form of the play is very important but will help the audience understand what is happening.

Once you have chosen your story decide which scenes you will show and what necessary information the chorus present. Death and battles were not shown on the Greek stage because they thought they would look ridiculous, offend good taste or be bad luck. The scenes that are best to show are: filling in the detail of what has gone before, where information is received and reacted to, where something is debated and a decision reached, where critical action that changes everything takes place, where people arrive or depart  and of course the ending happy or sad.

The chorus is very important, they represent a group of people with a common bond, in our Antigone they are the people of Thebes. Only one or two people in the chorus speak at any one time while the others communicate through movements and sounds that they execute together with big slow strong gestures. They can challenge the central characters by asking questions and expressing their own opinions.

Try to keep the central characters to a minimum; over the time of the Greek civilization antagonist and protagonist were introduced to make a maximum of four distinct characters. With costume and masks that identified them as individuals, the chorus was dressed and masked the same as one another.

Improvise the scenes in the story and the chorus reactions and after discussion write down the best bits to create the speeches collectively.

Decide on what the stage pictures are and how to move between them Remember, Big, slow, strong. Imagine performing outdoors on the side of a mountain with twenty thousand people watching (about the amount that would be at a football match).

Perhaps you could add live music or hang a painted sheet from the wall bars in the hall to help the presentation.

Other stories you might like to enact or tell:

  • Persephone (download here)
  • Perseus (download here)
  • Theseus and the Minotaur (download here)
  • Jason and the Golden Fleece
  • Odysseus and his escape from the Cyclops
  • Narcissus and Echo
  • King Midas and the golden touch
  • The Wooden Horse of Troy
  • Pandora’s box
  • Aesops fables



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