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Greek Plays: Ideas?

  • 1.  Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 12 days ago
    I am really starting to hone in on planning for my spring production and I am exploring the idea of doing a Greek show.  I like the idea of incorporating mask into the costuming, plus I think there are so many things that can be done with a Greek chorus.  AND I haven't produced a Greek show before.

    So my question is, what are your favorite Greek play adaptations?  I know Playscripts has Antigone Now, which I am looking into.  Dramatic Publishing also has one.  Has anyone directed either of these?  What are some challenges you faced?

    I love Antigone, but I am also open to others!

    Jennifer Gunther
    Colerain High School
    Cincinnati OH

  • 2.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 7 days ago
    A little of topic but in a few years, you might want to try doing hadestown.   Have no idea how a high school would perform this with going to hell and back.   Maybe a train upstage coming and going but how does eurydice drop tio hell in the finale?  Anyway, fantastic musical and I hope they allow it to be done in schools soon.

    Leon Kaye
    Playwright for the Ages

  • 3.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 6 days ago
    The Anouilh Antigone is for me the most powerful by far.  It "speaks truth to power" in accessible language and explores the world of politics in the argument of the good of the state vs the rights of the individual in a way that I think is particularly important right now.  If theatre is going to provide a place where we can discuss ideas and perhaps find some common ground then we need to accept the challenge of doing literature that will provide that opportunity.

    Nancy Curtis
    Director of Theatre Arts
    Troupe 3178
    Virginia Beach VA

  • 4.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 5 days ago
    I agree, Anouilh's "Antigone" is one of my all time favorite productions I have done with high school. If you want to do a drama there are none better! If you are looking for a larger production, however, and casting more students, "The Trojan Women" translated by Neil Currey is available through Amazon and in the public domain. I have never directed or seen the entire production, but performed pieces and graduate school that were very powerful.  Also, if you like comedy, you might want to take a look at Walter Kerr's translation of The Birds. A comedy of course and very different, but lots of fun.

    Jill Campbell
    Gifted Support Teacher
    State College Area School District
    State College PA

  • 5.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 6 days ago
    My favorite is Too Much Memory - a modern take on Antigone. It may be a bit adult for some school, and I don't know if it has much of an opportunity for a chorus, but it is a powerful take on the story.

    Ken Buswell
    Drama Teacher
    Peachtree City, GA

    Theater kills ignorance

  • 6.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 5 days ago
    About 20 years ago, we produced the Sophocles version in colored togas and paper mache masks.

    I am personally fond of the Fitts and Fitzgerald translation, but there are some others that are also excellent. Good poetry helps.

    We had different actors play Antigone each time she appeared, sharing the same mask. Couldn't do that as easily now.

    It was an excellent production that was well-received by our community.

    Nathan Rosen
    Atholton High School
    theatre teacher/director
    Columbia, MD USA

  • 7.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 5 days ago
    If you want a fun comedy that features A LOT of female performers, try to track down Seven Athenian Women by Liz Shipe.

    Cassy Maxton-Whitacre
    Theatre Department Coordinator
    Fishersville VA

  • 8.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 5 days ago
    I have mentioned in this forum at least once that directing Ian Johnston's translation of Euripides Medea was one of the highlights of my 35 years directing in high school.

    Dr. Johnston allows his translation to be performed by schools at no charge.  You can either copy and paste from an online version, or he will send a word copy you can print for scripts.  He was very supportive of us making a few changes in the chorus lines to make them work rhythmically.

    Antigone speaks to our current political situation.  I think Medea speaks to the reflex to enact revenge, which is also applicable today.

    C. J. Breland
    Retired Theatre Arts Educator
    Asheville NC

  • 9.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 4 days ago
    A few years ago I did two plays - an adaption of Oedipus that I wrote, and then Children of Oedipus by Nelly Cuellar-Garcia from Eldridge Plays.  Each show was 45 min., so it was a good 2 act show.  It gave the audience the backstory of Oedipus (for those who don't know it) and then told the story of the children, including the brothers, and Creon's son.  We did it with makeup instead of masks, and each actor played multiple roles-lead in one, ensemble in the other, so very much like repertory theatre.  We used ramps and stage cubes for the set, and togas for costumes.  It was really cool, and the kids had some fun with interpretative movement.  If you're interested in my version of Oedipus, drop me a message, I'd be glad to let you take a look.  Good luck!

    Marie Miguel
    Chespeake, VA

  • 10.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 4 days ago
    We did Antigone last year, using an adaptation we created during the process.  Basically, we read through every translation I could get my hands on - Heaney, Fitts/Fitzgerald, both Carsons, a bunch of late 19th century ones - it ended up being nearly a dozen, I think.  We'd literally sit around in a circle with everyone looking at a different version and read it aloud that way.  We didn't look at things like the Anouilh that make substantial changes to the structure.  All of these version were ones we could track line-for-line.  And then the students created a very free paraphrase that worked for them, using one of those early public domain translations as our guide.  It was not a quick process, but it worked well.  We got very loose with the Choruses. After talking about how they were basically musical numbers that riffed on the themes of the scene before or after, the students decided to replace them with thematically-appropriate Queen covers on solo voice and piano. Ended up being my favorite thing about the show.   I'd definitely do something like this again, if I had the time to develop it properly.

    Rob Kimbro
    Director of Fine Arts

  • 11.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 3 days ago
    For a good Greek comedy you can't beat Don Zolidis' adaptations of The Birds (Playscripts) and The Frogs (Dramatic). Don wrote The Frogs for my school and we had a great time producing it.
    For drama I like Antigone with the Fagles translation, Medea with the Allistair Elliot translation (the one Diana Rigg did on Broadway). Ian Johnston's translations are very good, too, and they are royalty free for schools, I think. He's at:

    John Perry
    Retired Theatre Teacher

  • 12.  RE: Greek Plays: Ideas?

    Posted 2 days ago
    Well, Mary Zimmerman's METAMORPHOSIS is wonderful but I wouldn't say it's traditional. It's Greek myth, not the classic texts of the Ancient Greek Playwrights.

    Last season, I saw the Shakespeare Theatre Company's production of Ellen McLaughlin's new adaptation of THE ORESTEIA. It's very good. They did not use masks but there's a good amount of Chorus work.

    Sean Baldwin
    Theater Teacher
    Washington Latin Public Charter School
    Washington, DC