The scholarly work of reconstructing vanished theatres is of crucial importance to theatre history. The playhouse provides the physical plant for the drama; therefore its shape exerts enormous influence upon plays written for it. Its size and accommodations for the audience reflect and may even determine the drama's function within a given society. To ignore the physical setting of a play's first production is an error almost as damning for the theatre historian as the practice of the literary scholar who forgets that plays are not written for examination in classes.
☼ Alan Woods is a Teaching Assistant in the Division of Drama, University of Southern California.