Stage management and stage directions
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Stage management and stage directions book
These are the fixtures, so to speak. There may also have been a low, wooden stage-platform in front of the door, but if so, it was easily negotiable, and it was small enough not to encroach on the orchestra circle.3 Various large stage-properties might be brought on-altars, statues, a cave mouth, chariots and so on. There were also two pieces of stage-machinery which, to judge from the parodies in comedy, were especially associated with tragedy. The ekkyklēma (literally ‘something which is rolled out’) was a low platform on wheels which could be extruded from the central doors. On it would be arranged a tableau which the audience is to imagine is still indoors, though as the scene progresses the indoor/outdoor distinction tends to be neglected (for examples of its use see chapter 7 on ‘tableaux’). The other contraption is the mēchanē, some kind of crane which could swing a flying character round into sight and set him down on stage. It is uncertain whether the mēchanē was used in fifth century for divine epiphanies (deus ex machina, see p. 186 n. 20), but it was certainly used for the not very common occasions when someone was meant actually to be flying, e.g. on the winged horse Pegasus.