Actors keep the beat in University Theatre’s contemporary take on Greek classic

February 25, 2014

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Dina Canup

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Department of Theatre and Film Studies
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Athens, Ga. - University Theatre at the University of Georgia presents a contemporary take on the ancient Greek classic tragedy "The Bakkhai" by Euripides, translated by Robert Bagg. Performances will be in the Cellar Theatre March 25-30 at 8 p.m. with a 2:30 p.m. matinee March 30.

Tickets are $12, or $7 for students, and can be purchased at www.drama.uga.edu/box-office, by phone at 706-542-4400, in-person at the Performing Arts Center or Tate Center box office, or at the door before the show.

The original production of "The Bakkhai" in the fifth century B.C. combined drama, dance and music to honor the god Dionysos. The UGA production is directed by Marla Carlson, associate professor in the department of theatre and film studies.

New Orleans-born percussionist and composer Louis Romanos has created an original score for this production, and Carlson has taken on the role of choreographer in addition to that of director.

"Movement structures are developed through rehearsal, with considerable room left for improvisation even within the performance," Carlson said. "Like Dionysos, their rhythms move us as embodied individuals and draw us into a collective response regardless of our rational thought processes."

The play portrays a great democracy torn apart by factional strife and seemingly endless wars. "This production," Carlson said, "draws out the play's powerful resonance with contemporary U.S. culture, which, like the world of this play, seems cleft along religious lines and crazily at war against women." Maddened by the new god Dionysos, the women of Thebes have abandoned the city and are dancing on Mount Cithaeron. The old King Kadmos has abdicated, putting his immature and inexperienced grandson Pentheus on the throne.

"The Bakkhai" is part of University Theatre's Studio Series, which consists of three productions in an intimate and stripped-down format that puts the focus on acting, directing and the script itself. It is also sponsored by the Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts and the department of classics.

There also will be a roundtable discussion on "The Bakkhai" sponsored by the Willson Center and the department of classics on March 21 from 4-5:30 p.m. in Room 248 of the Miller Learning Center, with a reception to follow. Classics scholars Nancy Felson, Christine Albright and Benjamin Wolkow will join Carlson, Romanos and dramaturg Seth Wilson in a discussion of the play's ancient roots and modern resonance.

Cast:

Agave - Jessica Kovalski
Tiresias - Clarissa Raybon
Chorus - Drica Dennis, Hannah Klevesahl, Rebeca Ispas, Dorothy Reeves, Emerald Toller
Dionysos - Cantrell Williams
Kadmos - Wyatt Geist
Pentheus - Isaac Hopkins
Companions to Pentheus -Taylor Brooks, Brandon Brown, Gil Eplan-Frankel, Tano Toussaint

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Note to editors: PR photos are available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ugadtfs/sets/72157641219871935/.

Public affairs directors: Below is a public service announcement.
University Theatre at the University of Georgia presents Greek classic "The Bakkhai" by Euripides, with original music and devised choreography, directed by Marla Carlson. Performances will be in the Cellar Theatre March 25-30 at 8 p.m. with a 2:30 p.m. matinee March 30. Tickets are $12, $7 for students, and can be purchased at http://www.drama.uga.edu/box-office, by phone at 706-542-4400, in-person at the Performing Arts Center or Tate Center box office, or at the door before the show.

 

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