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What if… You Were an Actor/Actress in Ancient Greece?

Collage: private / based on The Theatre of Epydauros, seen with an actor's point of view (Photo: Andreas Trepte - Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5)

The Ancient Greece (1200 B.C. – 146 B.C.)  is one of the most fascinating civilizations in history. Culture played a big role in its inhabitants’ lives: Going to the theatre, for example, was an educational and political tradition. The majority of the free citizens attended the theatre festivals, and the State even used to pay the entrance for those who couldn’t afford it. Thousands of years later, the plays are still performed all around the world.

In Albis Teatro is a high school theatre group from the southern town of Morón de la Frontera, Spain. Since its foundation in 1999, around two hundred students have acted in In Albis, until reaching the number of 35 that make up the group today. They exclusively perform Greek and Latin Classical theatre, using it as a tool for educational and integrative purposes. To meet the roots of the theatre they’ve performed for years, they took a trip to Greece. More specifically, they spent a week visiting the historical, captivating regions of Attica and the Peloponnese. María from Spain asked them: How would you feel if you were an actor or actresses in ancient times?


Then And Now

Elena is on the verge of crying

View from the top of the ancient city of Mycenae

Elena (17)

I’d be really sad, because women weren’t allowed to be actresses in Ancient Greece. The feminine roles were portrayed by men wearing costumes and masks.


The Dream Role

Ana does Staphyla's characteristic gesture

Temple of Poseidon in the Peloponnese

Ana (20)

I would be inspired by the Ancient Greece, just like the Romans. In fact, I’d love to play my favourite feminine role, which is Staphyla, from Plautus’ play Aulularia. The comedy, also known as The Pot of Gold, was based in what was called the new Greek comedy and has been performed by our group In Albis. I think that Staphyla, the protagonist’s servant, is the funniest character.

Jonathan acts as if he were putting on a mask and then taking it off

Cape Sounion

Jonathan (19)

I’d be part of a Parabasis, which happened when the chorus occupied the stage and deliberately interrupted the play to talk about a relevant matter. I’d love to use that resource to criticize the country’s politics.

Adriana shrugs and laughs

Lion Gate (Mycenae)

Adriana (15)

Well, duh! I’m an actress, I would just act!


Picturing a New Life

Ana has a trident, just like Poseidon did

Cape Sounion

Ana (22)

If I were to act in Ancient Greece, I’d need a routine before performing as a good luck charm. I would definitely have a swim in the Mediterranean Sea to try to visit my favourite God, Poseidon.

Javier and Alejandro fight over who is the best actor

View of the Parthenon from the ancient Agora of Athens

Javier (20) and Alejandro (19)

We would be rivals, of course! We would fight to be the most famous actors in the whole Hellas.


Too Many Spectators!

José is overwhelmed by the spectators he imagines

Streets of Athens

José (15)

Seeing so many people dressed with the traditional Greek attire would make me so excited I would probably pee myself.

Eva is astonished by all the spectators she imagines

Temple of Hephaestus in Athens

Eva (20)

My dream would be to perform in the Theater of Epydaurus. When we visited it, I was shocked how monumental it was. I would be very intimidated, too, because there would be more than 13,000 people watching me.