London, July 5 : The archaeological establishment of Greece has said that chewing gum, high heels, booming amplifiers and other modern plagues are seriously damaging Greece's 2,500-year-old outdoor theatres and should be banned.
Theatres such as Epidavros were built 2,400 years ago for men in leather scandals, who relied on natural acoustics.
But now, according to a report in the Times, as the shows become more elaborate, with bulkier sets, highvolume speakers for acoustic shock effect, and high heels clattering on the ancient marble, experts fear that the ancient theatres are under threat.
The Central Archaeological Council has also taken note of countless wads of used chewing gum that regularly stud the old terraced marble seats, requiring painstaking removal.
"We find ourselves regularly cleaning kilos of chewing gum from the Herod Atticus theatre. It's an amazing and awful situation," said Kathy Paraschi, an architect working on the Parthenon restoration.
Talking about people wearing high heels to the shows held in the theatres, Paraschi said, "Speaking as a woman and an Athenian, I like my fashionable spiky heels. But wearing them to Epidavros is like taking a hammer and splitting the blocks apart."
The Central Archaeological Council is considering a ban on chewing gum and high heels, though the Herod Atticus theatre on the south side of the Acropolis is made of tougher Attic marble and can better stand up to modern footwear fashion.
As if that were not enough, avant-garde directors are being blamed for damaging the sites where ancient writers once performed their plays.
Paraschi complained that many modern directors "don't respect the rules about keeping the theatres safe and clean".
"Despite repeated warnings, stage sets seem to be getting bigger and decibel levels louder. This could inflict damage on the ancient structures," the council said in a recent statement.