The skené (from which the word “scene” derives) was a scene wall construction placed perpendicularly to the cavea.
Initially it was very simple and built from wood. Its original function was only practical, i.e. to provide the actors with a secluded place to prepare without being seen, like a modern curtain (in Greek skené also means “curtain”). It was soon realised that it could offer many possibilities when used as a stage backdrop. It then became increasingly more complex and embellished with columns, niches and pediments.
From 425 BC it was built in stone like a real building.