University of Exeter Press

Acting Greek Tragedy

    • 255 Pages

    Acting Greek Tragedy explores the dynamics of physical interaction and the dramaturgical construction of scenes in ancient Greek tragedy. Ley argues that spatial distinctions between ancient and modern theatres are not significant, as core dramatic energy can be placed successfully in either context.
    Guiding commentary on selected passages from Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides illuminates the problems involved with performing monologue, dialogue, scenes requiring three actors, and scenes with properties. A companion website - - offers recorded illustrations of scenes from the Workshops.
    What the book offers is a practical approach to the preparation of Greek scripts for performance. The translations used have all been tested in workshops, with those of Euripides newly composed for this book.


    The companion website can be found here:





    With a strong interest in the performance of ancient Greek tragedy, Graham Ley’s short text explores the dynamics of physical interaction between performers and of the dramaturgical construction of scenes.



    'this is a valuable book for those who want to understand better the dramaturgy of the Greek text, the intensity and frantic action of tragedy, as well as the movement that is implicit in some of the tragic texts.
    Ley’s approach, as set out in his book, offers student-actors a practical perspective from which to appreciate ancient Greek plays using a range of performance-friendly translations.'
    Angeliki Varakis-Martin, University of Kent

    Studies in Theatre and Performance 36:1, 2016

    ‘[…] the book will be invaluable to anyone considering staging a Greek tragedy’ (Terry Walsh, Classics for All Reviews,, 18.05.15)



    First Workshop: Monologues
    Second Workshop: Dialogues
    Third Workshop: Three-actor Scenes
    Fourth Workshop: Properties
    Last Thoughts: Looking Back, and Forwards
    Notes on the Recordings
    Index of Greek names and characters
    General Index



    Graham Ley is Professor Emeritus of Drama and Theory, University of Exeter. He has taught drama at the University of London and Greek literature in Auckland, New Zealand. He is the author of A Short Introduction to the Ancient Greek Theater (2nd edition, 2006) and The Theatricality of Greek Tragedy (2007).



      • 255 Pages