Texts for Performance

The performance texts on this page are pdf files: left click to open in a new window or right click to download. (They are not ‘full-length’ plays. Most scripts are around 30 to 40 minutes in performance.)

TRILOGY

Trilogy

Three lost plays for consecutive performance: 1) Aeschylus’ Myrmidons – closely based on  the Iliad, the story of Achilles’ anger against Agamemnon and its result, the death of Patroclus; 2) Sophocles’ Tereus – the story of Prokne’s terrible revenge on her husband,
Tereus, after he raped and mutilated her sister, Philomela; 3) Euripides’ Hypsipyle – the story of Hypsipyle’s release from slavery and reunion with her long lost sons. Combined as a trilogy like this, these plays reflect the very wide range of Greek tragedy as well as some of the differences between the three great tragedians.

EURIPIDES’ OEDIPUS

Euripides’ Oedipus

A challenging monologue. Euripides’ Oedipus (like his Sophoclean counterpart) tries to discover who he is, and what his story is, but he only knows the fragments of the lost play named after him.

MISOUMENOS (THE MAN WHO WAS HATED)

Misoumenos

In antiquity, one of Menander’s most popular plays – the story of Krateia’s great hatred for her ‘owner,’ the soldier, Thrasonides, and of his attempts to get her to marry him. This text also explores the nature of New Comedy, by ‘deconstructing’ it (see the Introduction to the play).

KASSANDRAMA

Kassandrama

The fragments of Euripides’ lost Alexandros and of Ennius’ Alexander (which was  probably based on it) are woven together with compressed extracts from Euripides’ Trojan Women. The reason? Alexandros was the first play of Euripides’ trilogy of 415 BCE which ended with Trojan Women: Alexandros’ other name being Paris, this play deals with an earlier stage of the same story; if the herdsman Alexandros had not been reunited with his parents, Priam and Hecuba, the war would never have happened. His sister, Kassandra,  knew this at the time and warned that it would be better to kill him….

WILL THE REAL PHAIDRA PLEASE… COMMIT SUICIDE

Will the Real Phaidra Please…

Aristophanes mocked Euripides for his portrayals of licentious women. One of these was  Phaidra – from the lost play, Hippolytos. Euripides also wrote a surviving play called Hippolytos with a virtuous Phaidra, possibly in response to the scandal caused by his first version. This text explores what may have been the character and behaviour of the ‘lost Phaidra’ by bracketing the few remaining fragments, along with extracts from Seneca’s Phaedra, with sections of the surviving complete play.

Some writing by students is included in the text.

AT THE ISTHMIAN GAMES

At the Isthmian Games

A satyr play – and one by Aeschylus (whose satyr plays were especially highly regarded in
antiquity). We know very little about ancient satyr plays (only one – late, atypical – example, Euripides’ Cyclops, has survived complete), a fact that means we know less than we might about tragedy as well, since the two genres were intimately related. This performance text, which was written by students, does not foreground the fragmentary nature of its source material but is relatively ‘seamless’ as a reconstruction. To fully understand the process of reconstruction and what was discovered in the process about the nature of (theatrical) satyrs and of the satyr play, it should be read in conjunction with The Satyr-Play-(Like) [go to Ideas].

ORESTES FOR 3 FEMALE VOICES

Orestes for 3 Female Voices

This is an oratorio-style ‘version’ of the Oresteia, not a reconstruction of a lost play. The voices are Kassandra’s, Elektra’s and Klytemaistra’s. Each speaks from within her own time and place, but their monologues are fragmented and interwoven as though the whole story (of Orestes) somehow takes place ‘all at once,’ rather than in linear sequence.

RECOGNIZING PENTHEUS

Recognizing Pentheus

The most powerful recognition scene in Greek tragedy is in Bacchae when Agave is led, step by step, by her father Kadmos to realize that the head she is holding is not that of a young lion but that of Pentheus, her son, whom she has helped, in Maenadic frenzy, to tear to pieces. This text imagines Agave’s fragmented mental states as she returns, painfully, to sanity.

THE FLIGHT OF PEGASOS

The Flight of Pegasos

The Flight of Pegasos incorporates scenes from Aristophanes’ anti-war plays Acharnians and Peace, most of the surviving fragments of Euripides’ lost Bellerophon, and the story of Bellerophon as told by Glaukos in Book 6 of The Iliad. The main point of combining these texts is to explore the differences and the relationship between Attic Tragedy and Attic Old Comedy. In Peace, Trygaios’ flight to Olympos on the back of a dung beetle is an extended parody of Bellerophon’s flight on Pegasos in Euripides’ play, which was made with the intention either of proving the gods’ non-existence or of remonstrating with them for tolerating so much injustice in the world.

2 Responses to Texts for Performance

  1. virginia says:

    I loved this work congratulations (from Brazil)!

  2. Richard says:

    Aye, no bad. Imagine if instead of rolls of nonsense about local Jesus impersonators had been found in the dead sea cave, that a dozen or so lost plays or works of Maths or philosphy had been found? The mind boggles.

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