Drama: Greek dramatists earned their keep

In Nuce: Nerd Alert

Poets and playwrights earned their keep in ancient Greece. People didn't impulsively decide to go to the theater on Saturday night: instead, all productions were entries in contests which were part of religious festivals. 

And one good entry per author was not enough. Eschenburg writes about the dramatic competition held during the festival honoring Bacchus at Athens:
The poet who sought the prize must produce four or at least three, forming together one complete fable, each of which might be compared to a single statue belonging to a group. The four dramas must consist of three tragedies and one satyre... On the days of the exhibition, the theater was opened at sunrise, and it seems that the people could sit out all the pieces offered, sometimes to the number of nine tragedies and three satyres. Five judges then decided upon the merits of the competitors and bestowed the prize.
Most plays were performed only once,
...and then only under peculiar circumstances. This may explain the rich abundance of dramatic works among the Greeks. Authors cite at least two hundred tragedies of the first order, and five hundred of the second. The number of inferior merit is still greater. About as many comedies are enumerated. Of all this treasure, ...little remains to us.
All plays included a chorus.
The performances designed for public exhibition were submitted to the first archon. When this magistrate judged them worthy of appearing, he assigned the poet a choir or chorus, an ornament or appendage so essential that no piece could be performed without it. Great pomp attended the choral service, that it might seem worthy of the auspices of a divinity.
Patrons of the arts were honored to sponsor a play.
The expenses were defrayed by the rich citizens to whom the tribes decreed the honor, or assigned the tax. The citizens vied with each other in the splendor and magnificence with which they furnished these theatrical displays, which might serve to promote their private political interests under the name of generosity and patronage.
The playwright was more than a poet and author. 
The labor of the poet was not ended, as in modern times, with furnishing the composition for the use of the declaimers or actors. He was obliged to form his band of speakers, distribute the parts, and make them learn and rehearse. He was also obliged to instruct the chorus how to conform their movements to the voice of the coryphreus. Often the poet became himself an actor, and assumed one of the more difficult parts. 
Aristotle was probably one of the earliest drama critics. There were records
...to signify something like what we should call a literary notice, giving an account of the title and subject of a play; the time of its exhibition, its success, its author, and the actors, etc. Aristotle and the critics of Alexandria composed such notices, which were no doubt accompanied with critical remarks, and the loss of which is a matter of great regret.

 Source: Eschenburg

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