The ordering of material (systasis tōn pragmatōn as Aristotle called it) is central to the dramatist’s art; the interaction of scenes through their sequence is the key to the effect of the play as a whole. Easily said, and very true-but what does it mean in practice? Consider a sequence from Euripides’ Phaethon, a play from which we have only intriguing fragments. Phaethon is the son of Clymene and the Sun, though (as usual) he has a mortal ‘stepfather’, Merops. On his wedding day Clymene persuades Phaethon to go to the Sun and prove his paternity-with catastrophic consequences. At the start of one large fragment of Euripides’ play the smouldering corpse of Phaethon lies on stage, lamented by his guilt-stricken mother. Suddenly she sees Merops approaching with a band of girls, and she and her maids just get off into the palace with the corpse before Merops arrives with the girls (a supplementary chorus) who have come to sing a wedding song for Phaethon. No sooner is this hymeneal over than a servant rushes out with the news that the palace is on fire; and the melancholy truth about Phaethon is soon out. The ironic juxtaposition of guilt and innocence, of macabre calamity and festive sweetness, overtaken in its turn by grief and recrimination, is obvious. It is not typical of Greek tragedy, however, and requires two unusual resources, an exit followed immediately by an independent entry (see p. 51), and a second supplementary chorus. Generally speaking, the continuous presence of the chorus, the resultant continuity of time and unity of place, and the limitation to three actors all conspire to obstruct the rapid variation of scene sequence. Or, since this is a chicken-and-egg matter, the slow pace and sustained concentration of Greek tragedy are reflected in the technical restraints on rapidity and variety. A glancing comparison with almost any other school of drama makes the point. There is no possibility of scenic interweaving like the alternation of the Lear and Gloucester plots in the central parts of King Lear, or of the practicality of Rome with the hot blood of Egypt in Antony and Cleopatra, let alone the triple plaiting in Henry IV Part I of the royal court, the rebel court of the Percys, and the court of misrule in the tavern. Still less is there anything like the rapid cutting and juxtaposition of much of, for instance, Brecht-techniques made commonplace by the film.