Classical Greek drama

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Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:20 am


Present-day remains of the Theatre of Dionysus, Athens.


Imaginative reconstruction of what the Theatre of Dionysus might have looked like in 5th c BC Athens.


Last edited by eddie on Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:39 pm; edited 3 times in total

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:24 am

Thread on Euripides' Medea:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:8RnhsZxw6_AJ:acrosstheuniverse.forumotion.com/t1758-medea-by-euripides+site:acrosstheuniverse.forumotion.com+acrosstheuniverse+%2B+euripides&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&source=www.google.co.uk

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Wed Apr 13, 2011 5:29 am

Thread on Seamus Heany's translation of Sophocles:

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:P2W2w0JME6oJ:acrosstheuniverse.forumotion.com/t1757-burial-at-thebes-seamus-heaney+acrosstheuniverse+%2B+sophocles&cd=5&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&source=www.google.co.uk

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:44 pm

^

Medea thread replicated below in the event of further link expiries:

********************************************************************

Hosni wrote:

Euripides has the opening of the play delivered by two slaves, a Nurse and a Tutor. An important feature of his work is allowing slaves to speak, and speak well. The Nurse and the Tutor provide their perspective on the events in the house they serve. Significantly, both of them condemn Jason. The Nurse, after a few brief moments on stage, is already well-defined as a character. She is loyal to the house and to Medea, but she fears Medea and her violent heart. There are differences of attitude between the two slaves, and these differences seem to break down along the lines of gender: the Nurse seems to be shocked by Jason's behavior, while the Tutor cynically remarks that everyone looks out for himself. The slaves provide an outsider's eye on the action, and they are canny enough to predict events. The Nurse's fears foreshadow the terrible fate of Medea's children. And yet the slaves are completely powerless to alter the course of events.

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:46 pm

Eddie wrote:

The lowly social status of women and slaves in Athenian (so-called) Democracy has been referenced in the 'Oresteia' thread (EDIT: now sadly defunct).

What does Euripides' presentation of Medea's character- she murders her children to avenge Jason's abandonment of her for another woman- tell us about how women were regarded in the 5th c. BC? Or about women in general?

Medea must have represented every male Athenian citizen's worst nightmare: a sorceress and a violent, homicidal, vengeful shrew- the Winnie Mandela of her day.

I've known one or two scary women, but none quite THAT scary.

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:49 pm

Hosni wrote:

Jason's too sexy for his fleece, too sexy for his fleece, too sexy for Greece.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCP8Qb1etxk&feature=related
Pasolini, Maria Callas as Medea, 3/12.


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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 07, 2011 9:50 pm

John McLaughlin wrote:

This is an awful, a terrible, thing to say, but sometimes, Uzi, you're actually funny.

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:28 pm

^^

La Rue's Seamus Heaney/Sophocles thread replicated below in the event of link expiry:

********************************************************************

LaRue wrote:

I thought I'd mention it, as we seem to be on a greek kick. It's Heaney's reworking of Sophocles' 'Antigone'. The story of Oedipus' daughter/half sister. Ew. Anyway, it's fantastic and I saw it performed here in Oxford and beforehand Heaney himself gave a talk. He was fabulous, a real character. The play was good to. Anyone else familiar with it? Or the original for that matter?

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Tue Jun 07, 2011 10:41 pm

John McLaughlin wrote:

Haven't read Heaney's "Antigone," but after what he did to "Beowulf," I'd be very skeptical. I liked the Robert Fitzgerald translation of "Antigone," years ago, and it stood for a lot of what passed for anti-war criticism during the Vietnam war; where is the limit of the state in determining who should be honored, who should be abandoned or deserted, following service or protest?

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  pinhedz on Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:26 am

Sir Tyrone Guthrie adapted the Oresteia Trilogy into a single play called "The House of Atreus."

It was performed by actors wearing ancient-Greek-looking masks. The masks were cool, but the critics thought it was gimmicky.

Unfortunately, there are no good pics of the masks on the web. Just this shot of the playbill (which was actually much bigger):



The big "G" on the playbill stands for "Guthrie," which is the name of the Theatre, in Sir Tyrone's honor.

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  pinhedz on Wed Jun 08, 2011 10:34 am

Off on a brief tangent--the Guthrie Theatre on the bank of the Mississip:


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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:44 pm


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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:47 pm


A blueprint of an Ancient Theatre. Terms are in Greek language and Latin letters.

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:49 pm


Tragic and Comic masks from Hadrian's Villa mosaic.

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Wed Jun 15, 2011 1:52 pm

Wiki:

Scenic elements

There were several scenic elements commonly used in Greek theatre:

mechane, a crane that gave the impression of a flying actor (thus, deus ex machina).

ekkyklêma, a wheeled platform often used to bring dead characters into view for the audience

trap doors, or similar openings in the ground to lift people onto the stage

Pinakes, pictures hung to create scenery

Thyromata, more complex pictures built into the second-level scene (3rd level from ground)

Phallic props were used for satyr plays, symbolizing fertility in honor of Dionysus.

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  Yakima Canutt on Fri Aug 19, 2011 8:00 am




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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:09 am

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, and more – review

Three treatments of the Greek war epic reviewed, including a translation by Stephen Mitchell and an Alice Oswald reworking

Charlotte Higgins
guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 October 2011 22.55 BST


Unsung hero … Madeline Miller shows us another side to Achilles, played by Brad Pitt in Troy (2004). Photograph: The Ronald Grant Archive

In fleshing out the early history of the Homeric heroes Achilles and Patroclus, Madeline Miller is following a tradition almost as old as the Iliad itself. Classical literature is full of the what-ifs and what-nexts of the Homeric stories. Aeschylus's play Agamemnon, for example, is an expansion of the brief account in the Odyssey of the king's murderous homecoming after the war. Euripides's Troiades is a brutal sequel to the stories of the women Helen, Cassandra, Andromache and Hecuba, the four who receive Hector's slaughtered body at the end of the Iliad. The poems have peculiar qualities that invite such expansions. The in-the-moment brightness of the text, the direct swiftness of the narrative, the open-endedness, the spareness: there is space for the imaginative reader to fill with backstory and sequel.


The Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller

The past year has seen an outpouring of such Homeric reimaginings and fillings-out, such as David Malouf's novel The Ransom, based on book 24 of the Iliad; and Zachary Mason's Calvino-esque sequence of riffs on the Odyssey, imagining dozens of counter-fates for its central character. Now Miller, in her page-turning debut novel The Song of Achilles, brings us the boyhoods of Patroclus and Achilles. She is a respectful and clearly loving reader of Homer: nothing strikes a false note in her intricately created world at the court of Achilles' father Peleus, where ordinariness and wonder (centaurs, goddesses) are woven together without jerkiness. She nails her colours to the mast, too: Miller has her Achilles and Patroclus inseparably, gloriously and physically devoted, which certainly makes sense to this reader.

Where I lose her is when, instead of sticking to prequel, she forges on through the parts of the Trojan war described in the Iliad. Alas, the best of writers will stumble in comparison to the master. The scene in which Priam and Achilles meet in book 24 of the poem, the Trojan king stealing silently through the Greek camp to beg the hero for the corpse of his son, is one of the most moving, and dreadfully balanced, passages in all literature. There is no redemption here, nor forgiveness; anger pulsates beneath a surface gentleness. There is something else, too: an acknowledgment of shared suffering and shared humanity. But Miller, having started so well, has Priam say to Achilles, "Thank you for your hospitality", and "I am sorry for your loss". This is the bathetic stuff of the suburban dinner party.

With Chapman and Pope, and in the modern age Robert Fitzgerald and Robert Fagles, there is no shortage of English translations of the Iliad. Stephen Mitchell – who has also translated Gilgamesh, the Bhagavad Gita, the Tao Te Ching and the Book of Job – provides the latest (417pp, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £25). He cites Matthew Arnold's advice to Homeric translators, to be "eminently rapid" and "eminently plain". "My intention," Mitchell writes, "has been to recreate the ancient epic as a contemporary poem."

To make familiar, or to make foreign? That is one of the many dilemmas of the Homeric translator. For my taste, Mitchell's version – while pacy and direct – is overfamiliar. The poems are grand; to use Arnold's description, they have nobility. I dislike Mitchell's technique of sometimes removing the poem's "Homeric epithets". (I mean the stock of often-repeated descriptive phrases, such as the "wine-dark" sea and Achilles "of the swift feet", which were probably used as metrically prefabricated units by the early oral bards who improvised these stories.) These phrases often simply fill out the metre and are irrelevant to the context, he argues. I think they do more than he gives them credit for. And in any event, I missed their delicious archaic tang. To me, they are one of the great pleasures of the poem.

Alice Oswald has stripped down the Iliad more radically, and more successfully, in her 80-page poem Memorial (96pp, Faber, £12.99). It is subtitled: "An Excavation of the Iliad", and described in her author's note as a "reckless dismissal of seven-eighths of the poem". Except it does not feel reckless at all, but precise and scalpel-sharp. The poem begins with a list of those characters killed in the course of the Iliad. This goes on for nearly eight pages. It is a catalogue of death, with the inscribed starkness of a war memorial. Some are just names; some, like Hector, the last name and the endpoint of Achilles' death-rampage, tug the heart.

The poem continues with Oswald wrapping words around each of these deaths; the words are Homer's, but refracted through her own lucent poetic imagination. She stitches into this unadorned fabric some of the glorious similes of Homer: those that imagine a peaceful, pastoral world away from the deathly field of war; or sometimes those that summon up something more dangerous. "Like fire with its loose hair flying rushes through a city / The look of unmasked light shocks everything to rubble / And flames howl through the gaps." As a reading of Homer, its ferocity of intent reminded me of Simone Weil's essay "The Iliad, or the Poem of Force". But it is also an exquisite and brutal thing taken entirely on its own terms. It's a major achievement.

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:08 pm

Clytemnestra gets a makeover

Is Clytemnestra, whose daughter is sacrificed for Troy, finally about to get her revenge? Poet Gwyneth Lewis explains why she reimagined her fate

Gwyneth Lewis

The Guardian, Monday 16 April 2012


Unleash the Furies … Jaye Griffiths as Clytemnestra. Photograph: Kirsten Mcternan

A few years ago I was asked if I would write a new version of the Oresteia, Aeschylus's fifth-century BCE trilogy. I didn't see the point, given that Ted Hughes's 1998 landmark version was so recent. The story goes like this: following his return from the Trojan war, Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, Clytemnestra, for sacrificing their daughter Iphigenia to secure a fair wind for Troy. At the conclusion of the trilogy, the goddess Athena descends and pronounces that children belong more to their fathers than their mothers. The Athenian city-state is declared a place where killing your husband is unacceptable, no matter what the provocation.

This conclusion always seemed to me a fudge – and when the actor Fiona Shaw pointed out that Clytemnestra is the only member of the family (the House of Atreus) whose death is never avenged, I had my subject. I decided to write a new play, for which there is no classical original. Greek theatre was a means of debating the pressing social issues of the day through the vehicle of myth: I thought I'd give Clytemnestra her day in court.

Imagine that your husband is away at war, and imagine hearing that he has allowed your daughter to be killed in order to further his strategic interests. Far from being the manic man-woman of the Oresteia, I wanted to show a Clytemnestra who was grieving and unable to cope. (In my play, she gives in to an impulse to eat some of her daughter's ashes.) I set the play in the near future, after the end of oil. The Trojan campaign is part of a war for food. A slaughterhouse stands at the centre of the Atreus family compound, feeding a community. Outside its perimeter, feral gangs roam the countryside. Securing food supply lines means the difference between death and survival.

I decided to unleash the Furies, goddesses of revenge, with their demands that Iphigenia be avenged. I imagined this vendetta impulse as something like a buzzing fly in the room, an interference in the mind, a constant pressure to behave in a certain way. The Furies are older gods, coming before relatively arriviste Olympians such as Athena; I wanted them to represent the primitive, pre-linguistic part of the brain.

Big decisions are rarely made in one go. Before Clytemnestra resolves to kill her husband, I wanted to show her responding to her Fury's campaign for domination. ("Who'll speak for the dead girls if I don't?" asks the Fury. "The teenagers with skinny shoulders,/ Out in party dresses, no coats,/ The bodies are found on waste ground later,/ Strangled with their own tights.") By means of a series of small steps, Clytemnestra becomes the woman who turns her bedroom into a killing chamber. Along the way, she takes a lover with a grudge against her family. All hell breaks loose.

I resisted including Electra and Cassandra, but found that they lobbied hard for parts and muscled their way in. Cassandra, the Trojan prisoner cursed by Zeus with the gift of foresight and the fate of never being believed, turned out to be a key that unlocked the whole play. She transforms every character she meets and offers an extreme model for moral behaviour: you go to your death with your eyes open. As for Electra, she's a difficult character to like (perhaps because she's right).

The first time I saw actors rehearsing the Furies, bellowing and bullying the other actors on the stage, I was terrified. As a poet, I am used to being uninhibited on the page; but the idea of staging my thoughts in a public space has created an anxiety of a whole different order. As a former television producer, I was determined that music, choreography and design should be part of the conversation, even as the play was being written. Consequently, our Furies sing and move in ways designed to compel – human eloquence expressed at its most basic, physical level. My young grandchildren have been very keen to watch rehearsals, and I've tried to write the story clearly enough for them to follow.

So have I avenged Clytemnestra? No, but I hope that after spending three and a half years in the company of an adultress and husband-killer – a woman who compares the feel of her husband's blood on her face to refreshing spring rain – I have made her a more human character. I expected nightmares when I began writing, but they never came. In fact, the whole experience has reinforced my faith in myth as a tool for thinking about contemporary issues, in this case honour killings and food scarcity.

And I have to say, it's a wonderful feeling, murdering people on stage. It became my sign-off to friends while writing: "Got to go. Have to kill two people by the end of the afternoon." The kids are particularly eager to see the blood. They're right, of course. It's when blood is spilled that a society's sense of justice is made or broken.

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  eddie on Wed May 02, 2012 6:43 pm

Paperback Q&A: Madeline Miller on The Song of Achillles

The author and classicist describes the inspiration behind her Orange prize-shortlisted first novel, which unravels the mysteries of the Iliad

Madeline Miller

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 1 May 2012 12.08 BST


'I love starting my day by reading poetry' ... Madeline Miller. Photograph: Nina Subin

How did you come to write The Song of Achilles?

Almost accidentally. Although I'd always loved writing and Classics, it never crossed my mind to combine the two until my senior year of college. A friend asked me to codirect a production of Troilus and Cressida, Shakespeare's Trojan War play, and the experience was a complete revelation. I realised that I wanted not just to read these ancient texts, but to participate in telling them.


The Song of Achilles
by Madeline Miller

At the same time I found myself fascinated by that terrible moment in the Iliad when Patroclus dies and Achilles is overcome with grief and rage. It was so moving to me, and mysterious too, because Patroclus has been a fairly minor character up to that point. I wanted to understand who he was, and why Achilles was so lost without him. The Song of Achilles was my way of answering that question.

What was most difficult about it?
Finding Patroclus's voice. I originally started off by writing very much in epic mode, but realised about halfway through the process that though the story was epic, Patroclus's vision of the world was essentially lyric. Ancient lyric poetry is the poetry of the personal: of love and friendship, beauty and pleasure. Once I understood that Patroclus saw the world more like Sappho and Catullus than Homer, things began to flow.

What did you most enjoy?
Getting to spend so many years with characters and stories that I loved.

How long did it take?
Ten years in all, from when I first sat down at the computer to when I finished the final draft for the publisher.

What has changed for you since it was first published?
The biggest change is having my writing be public for the first time. Although I've been writing since I was young, I rarely shared it with anyone other than close family or friends. It has been an amazing, humbling experience to connect with readers, both those who love these ancient stories, and those who are coming to them for the first time.

Who's your favourite writer?
So many books and authors have inspired and sustained me over the years, it's impossible to pick just one. Today the ones that spring to mind are David Mitchell, Lorrie Moore, Anne Carson and Virgil. But ask me again tomorrow, and it would be different!

What are your other inspirations?
I love starting my day by reading poetry. The beauty, clarity and precision of favourite poems always clears my mind. Also, walking. I do all my best thinking when I am on the move. There is something about the motion that seems to shake things that are stuck loose again.


Give us a writing tip
Everyone is different, but I think it's so important to give the work room to breathe – to put it aside for a while, and come back to it with a fresh perspective. It really helps me find where the flaws and faultlines are.

What, if anything, would you do differently if you were starting the book again?
I would hesitate to go back and try to untangle the mishmash of experience that produced the book; looking back, it all seems essential, even the blundering and false starts. Actually, especially those!

What are you working on now?
Right now I'm buried in the Odyssey. I have always been fascinated by its female characters, particularly Circe and Penelope, and am very much looking forward to exploring their worlds.

• Madeline Miller was born in Boston and now lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She got an MA in classics and now teaches Greek and Latin to high-school students. The Song of Achilles, her Orange prize-shortlisted first novel, was described in the Guardian as "more poetic than almost all translations of Homer".

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  Yakima Canutt on Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:48 pm




Sleep

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  usero on Sun Feb 24, 2013 8:48 pm

user wrote:

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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  Yakima Canutt on Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:20 pm

user wrote:




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Re: Classical Greek drama

Post  pinhedz on Sat Jul 05, 2014 7:09 am

pinhedz wrote:Sir Tyrone Guthrie adapted the Oresteia Trilogy into a single play called "The House of Atreus."

It was performed by actors wearing ancient-Greek-looking masks.  The masks were cool, but the critics thought it was gimmicky.

Unfortunately, there are no good pics of the masks on the web.  Just this shot of the playbill (which was actually much bigger):



The big "G" on the playbill stands for "Guthrie," which is the name of the Theatre, in Sir Tyrone's honor.

The pinhed said "no pics of the masks on the WEB, but that was then--this is now." What a Face 

Sir tyrone directing:




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