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Classics in the Modern WorldA Democratic Turn?$
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Lorna Hardwick and Stephen Harrison

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199673926

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199673926.001.0001

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Aristophanic Performance as an All-inclusive Event

Aristophanic Performance as an All-inclusive Event

Audience Participation and Celebration in the Modern Staging of Aristophanic Comedy

(p.213) 16 Aristophanic Performance as an All-inclusive Event
Classics in the Modern World

Angeliki Varakis

Oxford University Press

In addressing the issue of classical reception in modern performance, this chapter considers the way in which Greek director Karolos Koun has dealt with the systematic opportunities the Aristophanic plays provide for audience participation and improvization. These occur through the comic characters’ frequent aside remarks, the parabasis, and recurrent celebratory rituals. The democratic principle of audience participation, which is inherent in Aristophanic comedy, seems particularly relevant to the entire notion of ‘the democratic turn’ in classical receptions by allowing both performers and audiences to take an active role in the performance experience of re-inventing the classical play. Although some may argue that in Aristophanic comedy many verbal remarks or ancient festive occasions seem far removed from the world of the spectator in order to prompt an exciting audience response, the reality of the performance might suggest otherwise. In the realm of performance, there are many parameters that shape the meaning of the play and the issue of updating topical references may in fact seem irrelevant when it comes to conveying something of Aristophanic comedy’s vitality and cohesive function, which brings people together.

Keywords:   Aristophanes, audience, participation, democratic, celebration

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