Makena’s Artifact 6

Makena 6

Modern theatres rely on accoustic “clouds” that hang from the rafters, but early Greek theatres had to be built in a way that enhanced sound in an outdoor amphitheater.

OEDIPUS REX (Sophocles):  King Oedipus, aware that a terrible curse has befallen Thebes, begins searching for answers to save his city.  Despite numerous warnings to cease his search, Oedipus pushes onward and finds out more than he was looking for.

When we think of technology and theatre we think of the flashing lights and the blaring sound effects.  So when we think of the ancient Greek theatres we don’t often consider them as being technological.  Yet, their stone ampitheatres were structured in such a way that people at the very top could still hear and understand all that happened upon the stage.  The way the stage was built may not have been the most technical aspect, but it made show like Oedipus Rex popular among the people.

visual aid 6

Odeipus Rex is part of a trilogy and like most productions of that day (around 429 BC) relied on the sun of the day to light the stage.  Most theatres of this time started as little more than a level area at the base of a hillside or cliff, which thanks to natural erosion had been shaped into a semi-circle shape.   By the fourth century these slopes were made of stone seating.  The Greeks’ understanding of acoustics compares closely with the current state of the art.  The mathematics of the construction of these theatres had to be play a large role as a large number of people (around fourteen thousand) would attend the performances.

Technology in the theatre comes in many different forms and has been around since the very beginning.  By the opening day of Oedipus Rex audiences were sitting in stone seats and could hear from the back of the house.  Without the constant updates over time, theatre would not be where it is today.


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