We have still to consider a group of people who give the drama its meaning, and without whom poet, producer and actors would be useless — the audience. Ancient literature gives many fascinating snippets of information about them, and anyone who has sat among a modern Greek audience will realize how little they have altered over the centuries. The Greeks of to-day go to the theatre with an enthusiasm and lack of reserve that the English keep for football matches. Far less theatrically sophisticated than their Western counterparts, they create an atmosphere of intense excitement, of willing response, which makes the performance a living thing and not a dull repetition. Emotions lie near the surface in Mediterranean countries, and the audience is not afraid to show when it is touched or amused. Sudden turns of plot are greeted with excited gasps; fine speeches and bravura pieces of acting arouse bursts of applause. The theatre is never ashamed to be theatrical. In the intervals the merits of the play, acting and setting are keenly discussed in a spirit of high critical appreciation.
KeywordsWestern Counterpart Lower Tier Football Match Ancient Literature Incense Smoke
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