Ritual in theatre
DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS AND
present a lecture by:
Ritual in Theatre:
The Case of Birds
by Aristop hanes
Wednesday November 16th, 2005 – 5:30pm
Location: Candler Library Room 114
The much debated topic in classics and theatre studies is still the relationship between Greek religion and theatre. The issue often gets reduced to the search for origins of theatre. Ever since the emergence of the academic disciplines of anthropology, ethnography and archeology, various scholars have postulated that theatre somehow developed out of religious practices. Theory of ritual roots of Athenian drama, supported by the authority of Aristotle, became a cultural commonplace now. Yet not everybody is convinced. Some scholars even argue that religion and theatre are mutually independent, and that the difference between ritual and theatre is as big as between life and description of life, or between the world and thinking about it. But nobody denies that Athenian Theatre of Dionysus was a religious institution.
Today, the complex relations between religion and theatre offer a challenge not only to scholars but also to artists. Everyone who attempts to stage ancient Greek drama is confronted with a dilemma of its religious context and form. The topic is still vivid and its meaning for theatre is basic – it concerns the essence of creativity and artistic practice. I propose to look at ritual in theatre from the perspective of a modern producer of ancient drama. My case study will be BIRDS by Aristophanes directed by me in autumn 2002 in Poland (at the Boguslawski Theatre).
BIRDS was premiered at the City Dionysia of 414 BC. In the fifth century BC plays were performed in Athens at only two periods of the year. Both were religious festivals in honor of the same god: Dionysus. The City Dionysia in March, which took six days, were regarded as more important than the Lenaia in January, lasting four days only. The City Dionysia renewed and confirmed the union between the Athenian polis and Dionysus, the god of wine. As an official state celebration the festival included religious and civil ceremonies, processions, and priestly doings that formed an essential and unique context for the production of Greek drama and which importantly affected the entertainment. Comedies were performed most likely before the contest of tragedies and after the contest of dithyrambs, songs in honor of Dionysus performed by 10 choruses of men and boys, each consisting of 50 dancing singers.
In all probability, comedy developed from the crude revelries during heavy drinking night parties which preceded the xenismós, the ritual reception of the arriving god. These revelries might be performed by ritual dancers who exposed the phalluses, symbols of the specific union with Dionysus. Semos of Delos, Greek antiquarian writing around the year 200 BC, speaks of ithýphalloi, performers with erect phalluses, performing in the orchestra of the theatre. According to Semos ithýphalloi had masks of drunken men, and wore wreaths and colored sleeves. After entering the theatre in silence they recited towards the audience: “Give way, give way! Make room for the god! For the god wants to walk through your midst upright (orthòs) and bursting.” Then Semos describes phallophóroi, „phallus-bearers”, who were not masked, and wore bonnet of tufted thyme and holly with a wreath of ivy and violets over it, wrapped in thick mantles. They entered the theatre marching in step and reciting the hymn to Dionysus, after which they jeered at whoever they chose.
It is possible that the performers with erect phalluses and bearing phalluses contributed to the emergence of the comic actor who had long dangling phallus fixed to his costume. The long phallus, erect in special cases only, was the most conspicuous characteristic of the comic actor in classical Greece. No mythological god or hero was ever provided with huge genitals. According to Aristotle comedy began from the prelude to the phallic songs (phalliká) which were still popular in many cities in his time. Grotesque costumes and masks made the actors look unreal and distant to the audience. Their identity was double: they were both participants in a Dionysian ceremony and characters in a drama. But we must remember that in Greek comedy the chorus, unlike actors, most probably did not wear the phallus.
How far did the religious context of drama determine the interpretation of the plays? Did the spectators perceive the comedy as a ritual? Demosthenes in his speech Against Meidias argued that an attack against the choregos, a wealthy citizen who paid for the production, was a sacrilegious crime. He reminded Athenians that they were commanded to perform “all these dances and hymns for the god not only according to the custom that governs the Dionysia”, but also by the oracles of Delphi and Dodona. In the FROGS by Aristophanes the chorus calls itself “sacred” twice, in the BIRDS the Hoopoe encourages the Nightingale: “loosen the strains of sacred songs” (meaning: sing!), and later the chorus sings: “from my vibrant throat I pour forth / sacred strains of song for Pan” (Pan was a god with a mixed appearance: half man and half goat). And in the final scene Herald introduces the wedding ceremony addressing the chorus: “Now let the divine Muse open her holy lips in auspicious song!”
But the City Dionysia were also important political and competitive events. The chorus in the CLOUDS sings about “the rivalry of melodious choruses”, and Demosthenes in the quoted speech complains about the abuses and corruptions connected with the festival. The distinction between “religious” and “secular” spheres of activity, so natural to us, was not drawn by the Greeks. Neither Greek nor Latin had any term for “religion” or “politics” in our sense of the word. Eusébeia or religio meant reverence, conscientiousness, and diligence towards superiors, commonly but not exclusively the gods. Today we are simply unable to reconstruct the specific character and intensity of religious experience in the fifth century Athenian theatre.
Of course, in the contemporary theatre it is impossible to recreate the religious context of the Athenian Dionysia. Dionysus, however, was also the god of theatre, at least in Athens. In his comedies Aristophanes made explicit theatrical aspects of presentation. He even required from his actors to recognize the presence of the audience. At the beginning of the BIRDS one of the characters turns to the spectators and addresses them directly: “You see, gentlemen of the audience” (literary: “present where there is speaking”). Aristophanes never lets the audience forget that building a bird-city is at the same time creating a theatrical work. I propose to look at BIRDS as metatheatrical ritual in honor of Dionysus, the god of theatre, (that is) a ritual that calls attention to its own artificiality and deceitfulness.
2. BIRDS AS A THEATRICAL RITUAL
Aristophanes never determines exactly the place of the action. The comedy begins “nowhere”, and strictly speaking in “no-place”, outópos. In 1516 Thomas More, in his book UTOPIA, invented the concept “utopia” using the well-known pun. Greek ou–tópos and eu–tópos are pronounced almost the same. The first word means “no-place”, the second – “good place”. “Utopia” is a place which does not exist, but which is good. Such a place could be the Theatre. At the beginning of the performance two figures – guided by two birds, a jackdaw and a crow – have no idea where to proceed and are wandering back and forth. When finally they think they understand the signs given them by the guide birds they describe their location in technical terms: “on stage” and “towards the exit”. Both birds, probably alive, led the actors into the theatre to enable them to use their imagination to create the Utopian world, which may be good, but which has no real place. The comedy tells the story about founding a city among the birds in the air – a brilliant metaphor for artistic creativity.
In the plot of all Aristophanic comedies we can distinguish four main stages: idea, struggle, realization and consequences. In addition to these there are two central rituals in the BIRDS: the sacrifice (which completes the stage of struggle and legitimizes the stage of realization) and the wedding (which consummates the realization and introduces the consequences). I assume that the four stages of the BIRDS’ plot correspond to the stages of the creative process in making a theatre production. While analyzing the BIRDS I will ask two different questions: (1) what are doing the characters in the play and (2) what are doing the artists in the theatre:
First stage: IDEA
- BIRDS: two elderly Athenians escape from the restless, law-suit ridden polis in searching for “a place free from busy-ness”. They meet Tereus the Hoopoe, once a man but now a bird, and ask him about “a nice cushy city, soft as a woolen blanket” where they could curl up. During the conversation one of the Athenians, Peisetaerus, has his great idea: to found a city among the birds.
- THEATRE: the playwright must hit on the idea for the play; the actors have to figure out how to act their characters. During the performance we are witnessing such an act of creative discovery – an actor who plays Peisetaerus hits on his idea in front of the audience and later attempts to script the actions of the other characters. Peisetaerus assumes responsibilities of the playwright.
Second stage: STRUGGLE
- BIRDS: at first the chorus of birds is hostile to the Athenians and threatens to attack them. Peisetaerus struggles hard to make the birds warm to his idea. His name, Peisetaerus, means “Persuader of his Comrades”. Finally, he wins them over, because he decides to change himself into a bird through eating of “little root” (rhizíon), a magical plant that gives the men wings. Then the chorus sings a grandiose account of the origins of the universe, making birds out to be older than gods. The long story leads to the conclusion that, if men honor the Birds as gods, the Birds will bring them health, wealth, happiness and birds’ milk.
- THEATRE: the playwright/director/actor struggles to write a play and raise sufficient funds to stage it, what usually requires the art of persuasion. Then sometimes he enters the stage to act the main character in his play. In the BIRDS Peisetaerus persuades the Birds to transform into gods and act new roles. To win them over he must enter the action himself changed into a bird.
Third stage: REALIZATION
- BIRDS: at first Peisetaerus offers sacrifices to inaugurate the new bird-city. Then he orders the birds to build a wall cutting the Olympian gods from people and from their essential food from men’s sacrifices. An effective method of starving the gods into submission.
- THEATRE: the actors memorize their roles during rehearsals. While studying new roles they learn new ways of living and acquire new value systems. So, they learn new culture. In the BIRDS the Athenian Peisetaerus organizes the bird-city according to the pattern of democratic Athens. Birds are transformed into humans and receive human culture.
Fourth stage: CONSEQUENCES
- BIRDS: The play ends with the defeat of the Olympians by the birds led by Peisetaerus, and glorification of Peisetaerus at his final appearance when he returns from heaven as bridegroom of the Goddess Basileia and is hailed as “highest of the gods”. Peisetaerus begins as a democratic leader but ends up a tyrant. The bird-city is a totalitarian state. Birds do not gain freedom but are domesticated and receive a new lord, a man who imposes on them his own culture with its repressive system which condemns the opponent birds to cannibalistic death through cooking and eating by the loyal birds.
- THEATRE: the world of illusion created by artists on stage refers the audience to the real world. In manipulated characters of the play the spectators may discover themselves and then look at themselves as if through magnifying lens. Poor birds are domesticated to eat their own. At the same time the performance recognizes the magnitude and stresses the limitations of human imagination. The bird-city exists as long only as it is acted and perceived.
Transformation is not only the main theme of the performance but also the essence of theatre – after all the actors have to change into the characters in the play. In my staging of the BIRDS I decided to reveal the theatre building stripped of decorations, and to uncover the naked stage as the universal place for theatrical transformations. With the help of the lights, partly visible, the whole attention of the audience was focused on the actor. The double status of the chorus – birds and men, characters and artists – was signalized by their black swallow-tail coats, worn by musicians in the classical orchestra, with their characteristic long tails bringing to mind the birds’ wings.
3. BLOODY SACRIFICE: THE STATUS OF RITUAL IN THEATRE
Ancient comedies are full of rituals and references to sacrifices. In the BIRDS two main characters enter the theatre carrying essential equipment for sacrifice: basket, pot, skewer, bowl and myrtles. At first these object will be used as weapons in defense against the attack of the Birds, then they will serve in sacrifices for the new bird-gods, and finally they will be applied as kitchen utensils to cook the birds that rebel. This last cannibalistic act subverts the religious meaning of the sacrifice.
The solemn procession and bloody sacrifice, which sanction and legitimize the foundation of the new bird-city, are central events in the play. What is the status of the ritual when performed in the comedy? Is it a parody of the real religious rite only? Or maybe it includes a serious message?
Today anthropologists are moving away from seeking definitions or ultimate meaning of ritual and are now looking at the process of ritualization, instead asking what ritual is, they ask: how people create ritual. Ritual, like theatre, is perceived as a dynamic phenomenon changing in time and space. “Anthropologists characterize ritual by frames that set it apart from the rest of human activity. Frames are made up of locations and orientation, time, and requirements for a specific dress, gesture or speech. Performers and audience must move into a special space, like the sanctuary of Dionysus where Athenian theatre was located. While they are within the ritual frame, appearance, behavior, speech distinguish participants from their regular selves, and those present can interpret actions differently from normal.
Ancient Greeks had two civic modes of approaching the gods: euphemic rituals and aischrologic rituals. The term eufēmía means auspicious speech and could be applied in a range of situations. An individual can use it in conversation to stop someone, for that person’s sake, from articulating an offensive or ill-omened remark in a tense situation. In archaic times it was equated to holy silence. But primary was its use in situations of collective approach to the gods. It framed the prayer. In Aristophanes’ THESMOPHORIAZUSAE the priestess, before ordering the chorus to pray, cries: “Observe ritual silence, ritual silence please!” (literary: “let there be euphemia”). But in the BIRDS Peisetaerus in vain calls for euphemia when he attempts to carry out a sacrifice of the goat uninterrupted: “let there be ritual silence!” Just after that he is interrupted by an intruder, the Oracle Collector. Bloody sacrifice, the most solemn Greek ceremony, turns into a parody of ritual. The Old Comedy was aischrologic.
The Greek term aischrología means „foul language”, „obscenity”, „abuse”. Aischrologic ritual, associated especially with festivals of Dionysus and Demeter, involved insulting members of the community. The frames that define aischrología remove it from normal life in the opposite direction from euphemia, for the latter demands extra control and constraint, while aischrología allows release from normal constraint. Euphemic ritual addresses gods, aischrologic ones demonstrates the presence of gods. Aischrología did not necessary take place in sacred space. The whole city was the space for the mocking “from the wagons” during the Anthesteria, the festival of Dionysus associated with the new wine. Dress reinforced the message. At the Anthesteria some revelers dressed in costumes of satyrs and maenads.
Returning to the BIRDS, I’d like to ask the crucial question: Is possible that the sacrifice of a goat, the central rite in the play, could be the aischrologic ritual only?
Peisetaerus had troubles with sacrificing the goat correctly because he was interrupted by a series of intruders. In the end he butchered the animal. The ritual slaughter was done not in front of the audience, but off-stage, behind the building of skene, in front of the real temple of Dionysus where there was the real altar on which the real sacrificial animals were offered to the god. The death behind the stage building was real and the smell of the dead victims must have lingered during the day of comic performances. In the BIRDS Aristophanes seems to suggest the spectators should recognize the ritual sacrifice as valid in the world of birds and executed correctly. The frames of the ritual were defined by the introductory prayers said by the priest (although chased away) and by the presence of a sacrificial victim as well as by the dresses of some officials participating in the rite. The ritual itself has no strong historical references.
The custom of sacrificing to inaugurate a new city is attested only in myth. Amazons offered sacrifices to their father Ares after establishing a polis on the Acropolis and Kadmos offered to Athena a cow that led him to the site of Thebes, a city that he founded. The bloody sacrifice to inaugurate the new bird-city Cloudcuckooland appears to be invented by Aristophanes. In the BIRDS the sacrificial animal was not the big bull, appropriate for the foundation of the powerful city, and even not the sheep mentioned earlier by the chorus, but the goat, an animal skinny and inferior. Why the goat? We must remember that in Athens this animal was associated with theatre – the word tragedy derives most probably from tragos, a goat. The sacrifice performed in the BIRDS is serious but it invites diverse interpretations. Some scholars imagine that during the Great Dionysia a goat was sacrificed as a prize in dramatic competitions, but scarcity of evidence preclude a strong conclusion.
In comedy – in other words in the obscene, aischrologic context – the religious ritual can be a mocking invention and at the same time it may retain its authority. In the BIRDS there is a serious, euphemic ritual of the goat sacrifice which works on two levels: of the play and of the festival. The ritual maintains its authority in the world of birds and in the theatre. Today, we can observe similar shifts and ambiguities in the sadomasochistic rituals. When masculinity and violence become theatricalized their connections to the real world are inversed and subverted. Torture becomes the source for pleasure. Military dresses are used to raise desire: black, leather trousers, fitting tightly, with big holes on the front and on the back, make strong sexual innuendo. These huge holes bring to mind long dangling phalluses of the ancient comedians. Even though the frames of the sadomasochistic ritual are obscene, aischrologic, the participants behave as if it was a serious, euphemic ritual in a double sense: (1) on the communal level it authorizes their specific sexuality and gives them a group identity, (2) on the individual level it is the source of their peculiar sexual pleasure. In the Polish BIRDS I decided to equip the participants of the bloody sacrifice with sadomasochistic costumes and props to make the audience aware of the ritual’s theatricality and its contemporary message. My long range goal when staging the ancient drama was always to reactivate the old text and situate it in the contexts of its audience today, rather than to reconstruct the performance in the ancient theatre.
4. THE WEDDING IN THE VILLAGE ANOGHEIA ON CRETE: RITUAL AS THE SOURCE OF CULTURE
At the end of August 2002 I witnessed the wedding on Crete, in the large village Anogheia, difficult to reach, built high in the mountains, near the boundaries of Herakleion and Rethymnon. During the Turkish occupation in 19th century, the people of Anogheia played an important role in the struggle for independence, as they did later during the German occupation, when they organized fierce resistance movement against the occupying forces. In retaliation Germans razed Anogheia to the ground and executed many of its inhabitants.
The wedding ceremony started with a dinner. Tables were standing along the main street of the village, stretching for miles. Wedding guests sat on the one side of the street, their cars were parked on the other side. Passing vehicles had to maneuver in the extremely narrow passageway between the parking cars and the guests’ backs. And there were no casualties. Late in the night all guests went down on a small dancing floor amid the buildings. All roofs and balconies were crowded by the spectators. They sat also on chairs around the dancing floor. The singer-violinist and his band took place on the raised stage. The musicians plugged their instruments into the powerful amplifiers and all hell has broken. The amplitude of the sound exceeded the Nine Inch Nails concert.
The bridegroom with his assistants kept delivering plastic bottles with red rakia, a brandy distilled from local fruits. He used to walk along the dancing procession and fed the dancers, one after another, pouring the red liquor directly into their throats, as if he were feeding birds. Both, dancers and spectators were dressed exceptionally elegant. Quite often ladies wore high hill shoes and expensive jewelry. Clothes didn’t interfere with their movements. Dancers were flowing effortlessly without realizing how difficult and complex their steps and gestures were. Many choreographic sequences lasted for twelve metric units. I was told that traditional Cretan dances were rated among most complicated in the whole Greece and that one has to be born on the island to learn them correctly.
When the wedding guests got excited by dancing and rakia there was a time for meat. The bridegroom just threw in the crowd huge pieces of the roasted mutton ribs. Right after grabbing the flying ribs people tore them apart with their bare hands and stuffed meat into their mouths. Still more and more elegant ladies and gentlemen devoured mutton ribs dripping with grease. But the musicians played on and the guests, after refreshing themselves, went back to the dance.
In front of the high stage young men vividly negotiated with the band the next song. Finally, after few unsuccessful attempts, they forced the musicians to play an old, traditional local song. Few people danced. Many cried. Everyone sang. One old man couldn’t hold his emotions and begun to fire his gun in the air. He was immediately disarmed and led out by men in black dresses with characteristic white, small hand-woven scarves around their necks which marked the bridegroom’s family members. Fifteen minutes later the musicians said good night and the feast was over.
Young people dominated the wedding. With their loud and untamed singing they accompanied almost each song. Such a ceremony significantly contributed to the transmission of traditional cultural values to the young generation. Wedding rituals defined and empowered local identity. Joyful participation made people feel proud. For many inhabitants of Anogheia these collective rituals became the main source of their own culture.
Intensity of dancing and singing was contagious, and even the uninitiated spectators, like myself, were affected by the performers’ energy. In 1997 I had very similar inner experience while witnessing ACTION, the last work produced by the legendary Polish theatre director Jerzy Grotowski. It was performed in Wroclaw, not in the theatre but in a beautiful space of the Ossolinski Library. Only fifteen chosen spectators were permitted to watch it. To get inside one had not to buy a ticket but to write a long substantiated application. Grotowski read all these humble requests very carefully before making his final and irrevocable decision. The ACTION wasn’t a regular theatre production; there were neither characters nor dialogues nor monologues. Eight young people in white dresses danced and sang old vibratory songs. We were told by Grotowski that vibrations of these old songs were supposed to stimulate in the performers the inner transformation of their heavy energy into their light energy. I couldn’t figure out what he meant till the performance was over. Then I understood. Suddenly I felt dematerialized, totally. It was the out-of-body experience without leaving the body. I was flying a couple inches above the earth, being just pure energy. And my little car was also dematerialized. While driving home I still felt like flying in the air. I really don’t know how I got back save. Grotowski’s last project was an attempt to reactivate forgotten techniques by which to stimulate inner transformation. He set himself to rediscover the hidden – but still present – sources of the performing arts. His inspiration came from studying the ancient cultural practices. The elementary, archaic energy, which Grotowski was struggling to revive in his performers, can be still experienced in many local rituals of Greek people. The wedding ceremony in Anogheia may be a significant example.
Aristophanes’ BIRDS ends with the splendid wedding. Peisetaerus, the successor of Zeus, brandishes his newly acquired thunderbolt and it seems likely that the thunder machine (bronteîon) sounds from offstage. In the second century AD Iulius Pollux of Naucratis in Egypt, Greek scholar and rhetorician, described bronteîon as “skins stuffed full with pebbles moved down copper sheets”. The last scene celebrates the hero’s triumph as the new ruler of the birdland and the new king of the gods, new Zeus. Peisetaerus incorporates paradoxes of every democracy, not only Athenian:
- the man teaches the birds democracy but remains the only decision-maker;
- persuasion, mastered by Peisetaerus Persuader of the Comrades, is used mainly to manipulate the birds;
- the process of humanization requires birds to devour their own;
- the triumph of a politician manifests itself as the failure of democracy;
- Utopia turns out to be anti-utopia; it intensifies the need for reality.
The happy wedding ceremony that completes the BIRDS is the great triumph of an artist celebrating his masterpiece. The sacred silence, euphemia, is invoked once again, just before a song welcoming the new king and his bride. “Now let the divine Muse open her holy lips in auspicious song!” – shouts Herald. This time nobody interrupts the ritual. The wedding with all due solemnity confirms the new world order and defines new identities for the inhabitants of the bird-city. Birds are transformed into humans. Olympic gods are dethroned.
In the Polish BIRDS the wedding was performed seriously, euphemic. Spectators were invited to interpret the event according to their own individual experiences and preferences. In order to confront the audience with the authentic ritual I attempted to reconstruct on stage the real wedding I witnessed on Crete.
In the BIRDS two central rituals work differently. The sacrifice of a goat is a parody of the bloody offering, and the finale wedding must be serious, because it delivers the happy end. To complicate the matter, from the beginning the interpretative frames are determined by the fact that spectators are watching a comedy. Yet Aristophanes plays with theatrical conventions masterly. A parody of the sacrifice turns out to be a real ritual; the audience can smell the blood coming form the real sacrificial altar in front of the temple of Dionysus. The serious wedding does not establish any new beginning, as a ritual it is vague, with no consequences – there is no future for the characters of the play, when actors tear down their mask the comedy is over.
Rituals performed during the comedy have no status of the real religious ceremony. That’s why artists can modify their script at will. Ritual parallels theatre in having its own semiotic system. It is an importatnt element in the negotiations between artists and spectators, concerning the possible interpretation of the play. In ancient times these negotiations were more complicated because the plays could be performed only in the program of the religious festival in honor of the god. The mask and phallic costume used by actors of the Old Comedy referred also to the ritual. Obscenity and mockery belonged naturally to the cult of Dionysus. The idea of comedy as ritual or ritual in comedy evades clear definition. Wings of birds symbolize also flying of the creative imagination. The play splendidly displays the actors’ skills. Despite the exceptional length of BIRDS and its twenty-two speaking parts, it could be performed by three actors only.
The magic herb that gives men wings and makes them see things invisible to other people works similar to hallucinogenic mushrooms. The plot of the BIRDS may be also interpreted as a metaphor for the hallucinogenic trip (flying away). The story of two idealistic men with the noble intentions who set up to build a new city and change its inhabitants into gods brings also to mind the cultural movement of the sixties and the Summer of Love. Revolution of drugs and free love, like many previous ones, has devoured their own in the end.
The Polish BIRDS could be also interpreted as collective hallucinations. Music for the production was composed and recorded by a brilliant Polish saxophonist and composer, Mikolaj Trzaska, one of the inventors of YASS, improvised trance music. The set was designed by Robert Sochacki, a painter and performer connected with the flourishing clubbing scene in northern Poland. Both YASS and clubbing are urban rituals that revive ecstatic energies of the ancient Dionysia with drugs as stimulants to personal transformations, instead of ancient wine.
Rituals in the theatre work on various communicative levels. The only way to understand this complex mechanism is to stage the ancient drama today.
 Scott Scullion, Nothing to do with Dionysus: tragedy misconceived as ritual, Classical Quarterly 52.1, 2002, s. 102-137; Eli Rozik, The Roots of Theatre. Rethinking ritual and other theories of origin, University of Iowa Press, Iowa City 2002.
 Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, Tragedy and Athenian Religion, Lexington Books, Lanham 2003, s. 78-89, 173-177.
 Athenaios 14.622B-C.
 David Konstan, A City in the Air: Aristophanes’ Birds, „Arethusa” 23, 1990, s. 183-207; Niall W. Slater, Spectator Politics: Metatheatre and Performance in Aristophanes, University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 2002, s. 132-134.
 Eva Stehle, Choral Prayer in Greek Tragedy: Euphemia or Aischrologia?, [w:] Penelope Murray, Peter Wilson (eds.), Music and the Muses: The Culture of „Mousikē” in the Classical City, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2004, s. 124.
 Nan Dunbar (ed.), Aristophanes, Birds, Clarendon Press, Oxford 1995, s. 501-502 (ad 848-9).