Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Myths on Stage: Time and Place

Red Tape Theatre held our "Myths on Stage" panel on May 16, 2010. Chicago artists who'd recently directed, dramaturged or adapted fresh adaptations of Greek myths shared their stories.

Jeremy Menekseoglu, Artistic Director of Dream Theatre, was relieved by the lack of "columns and togas" in the featured productions. Dream's Electra (running through June 6), the centerpiece of their Agon Trilogy, aims to break audience barriers the instant the door opens. A death-day party kicks off for the late king Agamemnon, with the king's head as a centerpeace. Jeremy added that audiences come to Greek tragedy's "knowing how it will end." Dream's adaptations find the surprises before the endings and examine the characters psychology through a modern lens.

Time and Place was universal for The State Theatre's mash-up of AjaxAntigone. They were very specific for Cory Tamler's Effie which set Iphigenia in a post-apocolyptic U.S.A. and for Thomas Murray's production of Bryan Friel's Living Quarters: after Hippolytus set in modern Ireland.

The State Theatre's dramaturge, Sarah Sapperstein, stated that Greek myths offer us countless ways to retell them for our own use and relevance. Tamler's Effie shifted the focus of Iphigenia from the father to the daughter. Friel's Living Quarters uses the Hippolytus myth as an entry point, focusing on the families attempts to heal in the aftermath. The same story can be told through a new perspective, whether to focus on politics, gender, family or passion.

Electra runs at Dream Theatre through June 6.

Red Tape's The Love of the Nightingale is Jeff Recommended.
We run through May 29.
Get your tickets through our website.

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