Normally, the tragedians of the 5th century B.C. were also the directors of their plays. They were responsible for the scenic presentation of the plays and for teaching the hypocrites and the chorus. In some cases, the poets assigned the direction to the chorodidascalus (teacher) who taught the chorus. This practice was established mainly after the middle of the 4th century B.C., when the plays of the 5th century were presented repeatedly. Then the direction was often assumed by the protagonist, the leading actor of the three hypocrites of the performance.
In comedy, most of the times the poet and the director were different people. Even Aristophanes had assigned the direction of many comedies to a chorodidascalus.
The body and the voice of the hypocrites and of the chorus were the essential tools of those who assumed the direction of the plays. They taught the roles face to face, and there is no evidence that the participants held any text in their hands. During the rehearsals they emphasized on the correct articulation, the right intonation and the appropriate gestures.
Of great importance was the plays’ text which had a kind of incorporated directional instructions: at the moment of action the hypocrites described in words what he was doing or what he was about to do. This is called direction of words. In the text there were also descriptions of the characters’ state of mind, as the use of masks did not allow the hypocrites to show the feelings of the characters they impersonated with facial expressions.
Another directorial tool was the use of the orchestra and the skene, where the plot took place. The orchestra corresponded to an open public space, while the skene to a private building. So, the spectators knew that the characters of the play who went out of the skene usually came from a palace or a house. On the contrary, when someone arrived at the orchestra from the parodoi, that is, the corridors formed between the cavea and the skene, he came from another area.