"Marvel at the stage wall of Orange's Roman theatre" Top 5 Page for this destination Orange Things to Do Tip by CatherineReichardt

Orange Things to Do: 42 reviews and 101 photos


I had long wondered how the audience kept their attention on the stage when they were gazing past the actors into the middle distance beyond, and to experience a Roman theatre the way it would have been when it was operational was an utterly different ? and altogether more atmospheric - experience.

The presence of a postscaenium (stage wall) behind the stage area lends an unexpected sense of intimacy of the theatre, as well as assisting the acoustics. The stage wall also importantly provided a structure that could be used to support both props for the performance and awnings to lend shade for both artists and audience. Interestingly, although stage walls were common features of Roman theatres, Greek theatres tended not to bother with them.

Orange is the only Roman theatre in Europe that has an intact stage wall: there are two others - one at Aspendos in Turkey and another at Bosra in Syria - but obviously these are considerably less accessible for the average tourist.

The wall is very impressive from inside the theatre, but it's only once you see it from outside that you fully appreciate the grand scale on which it was constructed. It is 103m long and 37m high (about 340 x 100 feet in old money) and was splendidly described by Louis XIV - clearly a man with an ear for a soundbite - as, "The finest wall in my kingdom?. And finally having seen it for myself, I'd tend to agree!

Review Helpfulness: 3.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Nov 9, 2011
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