Peter Arnott discusses Greek drama not as an antiquarian study but as a living art form. He removes the plays from the library and places them firmly in the theatre that gave them being. Invoking the practical realities of stagecraft, he illuminates the literary patterns of the plays, the performance disciplines, and the audience responses.
Each component of the productions - audience, chorus, actors, costume, speech - is examined in the context of its own society and of theatre practice in general, with examples from other cultures. Professor Arnott places great emphasis on the practical staging of Greek plays, and how the buildings themselves imposed particular constraints on actors and writers alike. Above all, he sets out to make practical sense of the construction of Greek plays, and their organic relationship to their original setting.
"His best work ... he brings to the texts a sense of vitality and immediacy that will delight and enlighten experts and novices alike ... an invaluable resource ... excellent text for all students ... Highly recommended, indeed a must, for all libraries."
"Rather enjoyable ... will be of use to those involved in theatre, as well as to instructors at various levels and their students. Public and Performance may be recommended as an introduction to the theatricality of ancient plays for non-specialists."
- N. J. Sewell-Rutter, University Oxford, UK, Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2018