Monthly Archives: June 2014

Everything You Need To Know About Greek Theatre

Dear Friends and Followers,

This is a very presumptuous title and certainly something I can’t deliver in one post, but let me tell you how it came about.

As a result of my offer to have people join me on my next trip to Greece, one dear friend said ‘but I don’t know anything about Greek theatre!’ Well of course I was shocked, not by her lack of knowledge, but by my presumption that everyone does know about Greek theatre! And for this I am deeply sorry. So of course this started me thinking about how I became so enamoured of Greek theatre and how I could perhaps help others to make the journey to Ancient Greek theatre. Now there are many friends who may read this who have much more knowledge of Greek theatre than I, and I’ve never considered myself an expert on the form, just an incurable devotee.

So how did it begin? Many years ago, an Australian actress, Zoe Caldwell, played Medea. Through a curious 6 degrees of separation, Caldwell was someone my sister knew and therefore our family was rubbing elbows with someone famous. Well all of that aside, Caldwell was exalted as a Medea of her time and as a youngster, all of that stuck. In more recent years, well perhaps 10 or so years ago, the Antipodes Festival brought a National Theatre of Greece production to the Princess Theatre in Melbourne and I sat in the gods to watch my first first-hand experience of Greek Theatre and it just happened to be Medea. (And how curious I should be sitting in the gods!) This production (indelibly etched in my memory) was delivered in Greek with English surtitles. Medea was a mesmerising figure in red and I was truly hooked. Never had I been so on the edge of my seat in theatre. How can I account for the chills up the back of the neck, the agony of the drama and the magic of the spoken word?  Well I can’t. And that is the marvel of theatre – any theatre. It’s that thing that makes you love it so much that you are willing to forgive it when it disappoints you and to be ever looking forward to the next thrilling moment that takes you on that magical/transformational journey of the senses and the emotions.  But enough! Back to my journey of Greek theatre and the University of Melbourne where I was graciously accepted as a mature age student to do a Post Grad Dip and then a Research Masters in Theatre Studies. Many of you reading this, know me from those days and even shared those times with me and will possibly remember how obsessed I was with the Greek theatre form. Strangely, to this day, I have never performed in Greek theatre, but I have written about it and I even included the form in my co-authoring contribution to the play Quilting the Armour – The Story of the Kelly Women, which became the basis of my Masters thesis: From Ancient Greece to Glenrowan: History, Theatre and the Modern Community. So you could say that Greek theatre has sort of lived with me for a rather long time. It’s been like an uncoiling serpent, or perhaps it’s more like the self reflexive Ourobous that I discovered at Delphi, i.e. the composite of my inner world of mystical enquiry, the intuitive attunement of an actor/artist, and that of the enquiring academic.  But whatever it is, the Greek form, the Greek texts, the Greek mythology and the very physicality of Ancient Greek theatre, coupled with the mystery and metaphor associated with Ancient Greek place, have been the impulses that have driven me to explore, and adore, this ancient form of theatre. I most certainly do not know everything you need to know about Greek theatre, but if it is something you might like to know more about, perhaps we can start a forum or a google hangout video call where we can discuss it. Alternatively, I’m happy to create posts from time to time about Greek theatre that might whet your appetite to ultimately come to Greece and discover more about it for yourself. So please forgive my assumption that everyone knows about Greek theatre and believe me when I say I’m really happy to share any knowledge that I might have to allow you to savour and enjoy this most ancient form of theatre. Please get back to me with your comments and ideas. You might also get some ideas or questions from visiting http://www.alltheworldsastagetheatretours.com

 

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