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Favorite Greek shows?

  • 1.  Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-05-2020 20:03
    Hi all - While I've worked on a ton of Greek monologues and scenes for festivals, we haven't done a Greek production. And with the lack of funding, a rights-free show that could be done "amphitheater" style might be good (if we are ever allowed). But there are so many! Would love to hear about some good experiences. Cast of 12-18, some good female parts, and looking drama.
    Thank you!

    Nick Hoffa
    Drama Director
    South Pasadena Unified
    South Pasadena CA

  • 2.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-06-2020 09:46

    I did Medea last year and it was fantastic really strong story and you can shrink or expand your chorus of ladies as you need. So many cool things you could do with it. We took it to competition and placed third in the state. 


    W. Riley Braem, M.F.A.
    Director of Theatre
    Theatre Teacher
    Northwest High School
    Clarksville, TN

  • 3.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-06-2020 09:57
    Edited by Ginger Latimer 08-06-2020 09:57
    We  produced Aristophanes play THE BIRDS. It was a perfect fit, and so timely...All about unhappy citizens, corruption in government, and too many taxes. We created abut 40 bird costumes using unitards. It's smart, funny, sarcastic, abd very pointed.
    Good luck.

    Ginger Latimer

    Ginger Latimer
    Performing Arts Chair/ Theatre Director
    Madera CA

  • 4.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-06-2020 11:55
    Edited by John Perry 08-06-2020 11:56
    I'm a big fan of Don Zolidis' The Birds and The Frogs. Both are good adaptations of the originals but you do have to pay royalties. I also like The Children of Hercules adaptation by Phil Willmott. It has a great refugee theme. You can check here:  I have the script he sent me in 2005 when I saw it in London.

    You can get public domain translations at Project Guttenburg but they tend to be stilted since the translations are so old. You could take one and let the cast do a modern adaptation.

    You can also look at Ian Johnston's translations at:  They are not as poetic as some translations but they are royalty free and you can download the scripts from that site.

    I know I don't have to remind you that even though a play was written 2500 years ago, it's the translation that you have to pay for so that the person who put all the work into translating and adapting is paid for their work. Support your theatre artists!

    John Perry
    Retired Theatre Teacher

  • 5.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-06-2020 15:41
    My favorite Greek show is Antigone. I would have to look up the translation I used after reading through several translations to find one I liked and royalties were not expensive.  It definitely has strong women's roles.  I used a cast of 34 but but very flexible casting.

    Carol Hovey
    Livermore CA

  • 6.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-07-2020 09:33
    I'll second the suggestion of Antigone.  We did it a year ago, creating our own adaptation after reading a dozen or so existing translations and adaptations, and it was a fantastic experience.  Ours was a much smaller cast - a core group of three who created the script and played Antigone, Creon, and the Choragos and then about a half-dozen more to round out the cast.  With regard to the choral sections, I told them I was open to creative options, as long as they retained the essence of musical responses to the situations in the scenes.  They came back to me with the idea of doing piano and voice covers of Queen songs, because "Queen has a song for everything".  Turns out they were right.

    Rob Kimbro
    Duchesne Academy

  • 7.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-07-2020 04:48
    Seamus Henely's "Burial at Thebes" is probably the most beautiful and stageable version of Antigone I've ever read.
    It's always been on my short list.

    William Gardiner
    Boston MA

  • 8.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-07-2020 09:24
    How about either Sophocles' or Euripides' Electra? These versions of the story have greater roles for women than Aeschylus' The Libation Bearers, which covers the same plot- the reuniting of Electra and Orestes and the revenge-murder of Clytemnestra and Aegisthus. You should easily be able to find public domain translations of these, and might even be able to adapt them with the students into something more modern but still true to the original structure. 

  • 9.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-08-2020 10:55
    I would recommend Euripides' Trojan Women. It is a show that speaks to us about the price women pay for men's wars. It is placed in a refugee camp where the nobility family of Troy awaits the Greek decisions about where each woman goes. It has arguable the most powerful female monologue that survives translation. It almost entirely a female cast with minimal male characters. Don Zolidis adapted the play to a one-act version of that I directed last February. Zolidis's adaptation moves the drama to a nondescript Middle Eastern country but I played with the idea of sitting it on the southern border. If you want royalty free, there are many translations of Euripides' own but I would suggest reading the Don Taylor translation to help you understand the language and the poetry of the work. The Don Taylor translation was commissioned by the National Theatre of London and I find it a great connection for high school students to understand the references and rhythm of the language.

    Nicholas Osenberg
    Design and Technical Theatre
    Warren Consolidated School
    Royal Oak MI

  • 10.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-09-2020 18:39
    I second TROJAN WOMEN. 
    When I produced it, years ago, the Taliban was ravaging Afghanistan. At the conclusion of the play when the women were led away into slavery, the soldiers had them put on black burkas that covered them from head to toe. The audience went into stunned silence and remained that way for awhile. 
    The show remains a timely and utterly heart-wrenching piece. 

    Nancy L. Bernhard, retired
    Salinas High School

  • 11.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-08-2020 12:25
    We did an interesting play, "We Are Antigone" that gave a modern-day view to the story. It is an all-female cast. Here is the link to info on it.

    Frieda Gebert
    Drama and Speech
    Boyle County Schools (Retired)
    Danville, KY

  • 12.  RE: Favorite Greek shows?

    Posted 08-09-2020 13:45
    Ian Johnston's translation of Euripides' Medea was one of my favorite shows I directed in high school.  I found the script online, and when I contacted Dr. Johnston for permission, he said he does not charge royalties for school performances.

    I double cast the roles of Medea, Nurse, Jason, Creon, and Aegeus, and also split the role of the Messenger between two speakers (total of four with double casting.)  I was afraid to risk someone being ill during performances, since those roles have such a large number of lines, and it ended up working really well as students had to miss rehearsals due to illness.  The chorus played all performances.  

    C. J. Breland
    Retired Theatre Arts Educator
    Asheville NC