Performances in the 2010s
The Greek Play tradition marches on into the 2010s, going from strength to strength and continuing to draw sizeable audiences.
Greek Play performances of the 2010s (more information found below):
- The Persians (Aeschylus) 2010
- Helen (Euripides) 2011
- Hecuba (Euripides) 2012
- Oedipus at Colonus (Sophocles) 2013
- Wasps (Aristophanes) 2014
- Clouds (Aristophanes) 2015
- Alkestis (Euripides) 2016
- Prometheus Bound (Aeschylus) 2017
- Medea (Euripides) 2018
- Antigone (Sophocles) 2019
2010: Aeschylus - The Persians
The Persians (Persae) is the only surviving Greek tragedy that treats a non-mythical subject. It was first performed in 472 B.C., barely seven years after the final defeat of the Persians, whose overthrow it celebrates.
By setting the scene in Persia, Aeschylus made his countrymen witnesses of the ruin and suffering of their adversaries, and it is easy to imagine the emotions that a performance must have excited in the minds of the Athenian audience, as many of them would have taken an active part in the great events described.
As the drama unfolds one witnesses the Persians receiving, with growing despair, the successive tidings of calamity; with an eye-witness account of the decisive battle of Salamis, the ghost of Dareios rising from the dead and, finally, the defeated Xerxes arriving home to lead the dirge with which the play comes to a close.
The 2010 Greek Play was performed from Wednesday 10 - Friday 11 February 2010. The Thursday performance was preceded by a Guest Lecture, a stimulating discussion of the play from the Greek and Persian perspectives by Simon Goldhill (Cambridge) and Lindsay Allen (King's).
Further details: The Persians
"The Persians made its first appearance in the history of the Greek Play, a daring choice given that Aeschylus’ play has little in the way of dramatic incident and relies heavily on the chorus. Bright costumes, a striking set, evocative music, inventive choreography and some discreet dry ice all contributed to a coherent aesthetic effect. The seamless continuity of the performance and the steady crescendo of emotion leading to the final lament packed a powerful cumulative punch."
Once again the King’s College Greek play has bravely gone where no King’s College Greek play has gone before.
Aeschylus’ Persians is a very early tragedy. It is extremely chorus heavy, even by Aeschylus’ standards. The non-chorus parts are dominated by lengthy speeches and the action is minimal. This is drama as tableau and could have made for a very slow, ponderous production. It certainly means an enormous amount of work, not least in line learning, for the performers and especially the chorus.
However, imaginative direction by Charlotte Domanski and Rosamund Williams transformed the play into an ensemble production that was imaginative, beautiful and thoughtful.
Inevitably the chorus dominated the production. From the start they presented their odes with dramatisations of their words. Their polyphonic chanting was well rehearsed and never dull, with careful breaking into small groups. They dramatised their odes with simple yet effective strategies, such as the rich red silk rippling over chorus corpses, and ensured with their tableaux that there was always something to engage the eye.
The few actors also had to work hard, with lengthy speeches to deliver. Charlotte Maskel’s Atossa was especially effective: dignified yet hurting. The two messengers had magnificent armour and wounds and delivered their speeches dramatically. Darius and Xerxes effectively dominated their scenes.
The whole production gelled.
The set was beautiful: simple, with a dominating empty throne. The music was specially composed by Charlotte Domanski and Mandir Ubhi, with some use of Persian instruments. The music underscored the scenes and emphasised the melancholy exoticism.
The lighting was simple yet effective. The blood red light which bathed the stage at the end summed up the terrible cost of war and set off the finale.
Even the excellent programme deserves comment. It was refreshing to see personal comments from the cast, as well as introductions from the directors, which emphasised the range of skills they had had to call on.
The students of King’s College London are to be congratulated on yet another imaginative and dynamic production in the original Greek. Many thanks to everyone involved, including the many back-stage workers, the business manager and anyone else involved in a team performance.
Aeschylus’ Persians is a set text for the Open University’s Classical World course and quite a few Open University students were in the audience. Perhaps next year’s production could follow this up with Aristophanes’ Clouds or Euripides’ Medea, which are both Open University set texts?
2011: Euripides - Helen
The 2011 Greek Play, Helen, was performed for three nights, from Wednesday 9th to Friday 11th February, 2011.
The Wednesday performance was preceded by a stimulating discussion of the play between Bettany Hughes and Mike Trapp (King's College London). Questions were also taken from the audience.
The play was previewed by an ex-member of the Department, Dr Freida Klotz, in 'The Chronicle of Higher Education' in the United States.
Further details: Helen
Years have passed since the end of the Trojan War and Menelaus, King of Sparta and husband to Helen, is making his slow and painful way home. When his ship is wrecked on the coast of Egypt he stumbles upon what seems to be his wife lingering outside the royal palace. But if this is the real Helen, who was the beautiful woman, stolen by Paris, for whom all Greece took up arms? In Euripides' play, Helen was never unfaithful, she never went to Troy herself - her phantom did - and she is patiently waiting for her husband in Egypt, where she had been supernaturally transported by Hera. So, here, the long struggle of the Greeks against Troy becomes an illusion. At the war's end, the only reward for the Greeks is to recapture only the phantom of what they had perceived as being the real Helen.
This really was an outstanding production. As usual, I have to say that this play was once again a courageous choice for the KCL team but there’s absolutely no ‘side’ to this comment.
Helen is not a tragedy but it’s not a comedy either: it’s a romantic melodrama, a new genre created by Euripides and full of weeping and wailing as well very funny scenes, occasionally rather awkwardly juxtaposed. This means that it’s not often performed, although the Globe staged an excellent production of a Frank McGuiness translation in 2009.
It take s a good production and an excellent cast of actors and chorus to bring out the humour, especially played in Greek, and fortunately this year’s King’s Greek Play team met the brief. They did a magnificent job with Euripides’ rich drama, exploiting both the melodrama and the farce of the laugh-out-loud scenes such as Menelaus’ scantily clad entrance just after Helen has gone off to do a bit of grieving.
The play ebbed and flowed extremely smoothly thanks to an exceptional cast and very well trained chorus. The production also brought out the subtler nuances of Euripides’ drama and this is clearly not an easy thing to do when most of the audience don’t understand the language of the play.
As usual, Euripides gives a new spin on old myth but for once he cannot be accused of being a misogynist, since his Helen is so obviously a woman of wit and grace, as well as exceptional chaste. His take on condescending Athenian attitudes to non-Greeks also takes an unusual twist, with Theonoe a reliable and generous priestess who supports Helen in her bid to reunite with her husband, thus thwarting the more lascivious ambitions of her brother the pharaoh, who quite obviously has to be played for laughs.
Most important of all, Helen is a fast moving and entertaining play with lots of twists in its plot, which is fantastic in every sense. It also comes with several scenes of high farce and hilarious characterisation. Both the melodrama and the farce was brought out by the whole cast but especially by the Dioscuri, Euripides’ usual deus – dei? – ex machina, who pompously proclaimed the highly unbelievable conclusion to the play in well rehearsed unison, popping up unexpectedly on top of the stage. Was this Euripides sending himself up?
The star of the show was of course Georgia Crick Collins as Helen, moving emotionally and believably through her torrents of grief and machinations. As Michael Trapp says in his helpful programme notes, she is the Odysseus of the piece. Georgia not only learnt a huge number of lines: she also delivered them with conviction and really looked the part, moving from grieving refugee in flimsy white to scheming escapee in raven black, leading her less than competent but much loved Menelaus.
Ben Donaldson’s suntanned Menelaus was also excellent, frail on his initial farcical entrance and later magnificent in his gleaming armour.
The chorus too were also magnificent and they seemed to get better and better as the play progressed. Their delivery of the Persephone and Demeter ode was particularly outstanding, while their shipshape formation reflecting the messenger’s escape narrative of the escape of Helen and Menelaus was exquisite.
The whole play was visually very pleasing. The set was a delight to behold: a very Egyptian palace and tomb/altar covered in hieroglyphs for characters to crouch behind. Colour was richly exploited also in the delightful publicity and programme. The latter was as usual extremely helpful, with a succinct synopsis and pertinent guidance. The self-introductions by the cast were illuminating and made a good read, advertising student life at King’s well. Perhaps it would be helpful also to have similar biographical details and photos of the back stage and production teams, without whom of course the play simply could not happen. The problem really is that having such an interesting and readable programme makes one want more!
As usual the surtitles were very helpful in following the details of the dialogue. They kept perfect pace with the action on the stage, though there were occasional jumps and missing commas and apostrophes. Can I volunteer for proof reading duties for next year’s production?
The music this year was pre-recorded and underscored the action beautifully, though smoother fade-outs would have avoided occasional sudden stops.
I came with alumni friends and Open University students. All enjoyed the play thoroughly and the students were greatly surprised to find themselves laughing out loud. They thought it was going to be hard work rather than a piece of witty entertainment!
2012: Euripides - Hecuba
The 2012 Greek Play was Euripides' Hecuba and was directed by Roseanna Long. Performances took place Wednesday 8 February - Friday 10 February at the Greenwood Theatre.
Review by Cathy Mercer, Open University:
This was once again a tremendous production in the very best tradition of King’s Greek plays in the original Greek. The audience sat rapt throughout the passionate tragedy as it unfolded in its ghastly inevitability which, nevertheless, still managed to surprise. Euripides’ Hecuba is a rarely performed play; as of course are most Greek tragedies. It’s one of Euripides’ almost unbearably tragic war plays, with death and disaster piled on top of one another, almost unbelievably, as atrocity follows atrocity. It was a stark contrast to last year’s light and fluffy Helen but the team more than pulled off their challenge.
The production was first class, with excellent acting throughout, fine set, fine specially composed music and striking costumes. All the actors are to be congratulated for their moving performances. The play needs a very strong Hecuba to hold it together and Georgia Pearce more than rose to the challenge. She was excellent throughout, noble and credible, despite playing a character a generation older. And all that line learning! Interestingly we noted that Georgia is not actually a Classics student and in fact this was the case for several of the actors. Isobel Cairns was a credible Polyxena: plaintive yet tragically noble. Ian Wong carried off Talthybius particularly well and his speech was movingly visualised with shadow play enacting the sacrifice of Polyxena. Agamemnon Apostolou’s Odysseus was strikingly fluent and had a fabulous suit of armour.
Perhaps the most difficult part to pull off is the blustering Polymestor. He is an almost comic buffoon who blusters his way through his bullying and posturing but tragically loses his little children and his sight, as he is blinded in revenge for the murder of Polydorus. Darius Sobhani pulled this scene off well, though it was a pity that there was no sign of his children. Helen Ashton as Polydorus’ ghost was also plaintive without being sentimental or mawkish. Anna Rallison’s maid was strong and Georgios Matalliotakis’Agamemnon convinced in his unexpected kindliness towards Hecuba.
The masked chorus were perfectly trained and their polyphonic chanting and singing in minor keys underlined the strong emotions of the tragic unfolding. Their ever screaming faces contrasted well with the more mobile unmasked actors. It was a bit of a shame, however, that their musical accompaniment was at times a little too strong for their voices, and so they could not always be clearly heard.
There are always of course a few whinges but these were very minor. The helpful surtitles seemed to have had an American spell check used on them at times and we spotted the odd typo in the Greek names. A vicar friend remarked that the corpse of Polydorus did not seem heavy enough when ‘he’ was brought in either: corpses of course are a terrible dead weight. Once again this production was an absolute tour de force and every member of the production is to be congratulated.
2013: Sophocles - Oedipus at Colonus
Review by Cathy Mercer, Open University:
The choice of play was courageous. I must admit that I approached this production with some dread, as Oedipus at Colonus is not only lacking in obvious tragic action but is also much longer than most other tragedies, at 1800 lines. However, as on so many other occasions, the King’s College Greek Play surpassed all expectations. It was moving, driven and subtly but not excessively abridged.
This production was outstanding in every sense. The lighting was spot on, the set was muted and understated but served the action well and the musical underscore was subtle but sensitive, right through to the drum roll on Creon’s entry. Even the helpful surtitles were spot on throughout. The cast were consistently outstanding and so it is hard to pick out anyone for praise, since everyone is so deserving of congratulations. It was clear that all cast members had worked extremely hard and their acting and accents were excellent throughout. Akshay Sharan, who took the lead part, told me that they had started rehearsing in October and had had three or four rehearsals each week. His commitment and those of all the cast shone through since, in acting in a language that neither actors nor cast fully understand, the emphasis has to be on meaningful and comprehensible acting.
Akshay Sharan’s Oedipus took a strong lead. Consistently swathed in bandages to emphasise his character’s blindness, this Oedipus held the fire of a frustrated king, right through to his cursing of his son. Tanuj Kumar’s Theseus had suitable stature but his kindness came across well. Shashank Peshawaria’s Creon appropriately spoke ‘hard words softly’ and Rosa Wicks’ Antigone seemed full of pitying care for her poor father. The redeemed Ismene was well portrayed as a feisty fighter by Marie Launay and Ennio D’Amico’s Polynices was suitably cringing and treacherous.
The main characters have parts to play but the messenger has to maintain drama through words which the audience will not fully follow and Anna Rallison brought passionate intensity to her messenger’s speech. A tragic production lives or dies by its chorus and this one was outstanding. We were told at the start that the leader was missing due to illness but the remaining members performed seamlessly and had clearly learnt the leader’s lines. Having an all-female chorus of Theban elders simply emphasised the stature and loyalty of the women in this play. Their delivery was amazingly well synchronised and their singing was moving. The costumes were simple and under-stated but the colours subtly emphasised the status of the characters.
It was interesting to note that the students acting and producing this play came from all parts of the globe, as well as from beyond the confines of the classics department of King’s College. King’s College London is truly a global university and the King’s College Greek Play is a truly unique global event. I took four of my Open University Geek language and literature students and they told me that the production surpassed all their expectations. They told me that they really enjoyed the production and even asked if I could organise a regular trip for future years!
2014: Aristophanes - Wasps
The Greek Play for 2014 was Aristophanes' Wasps, directed by Rosa Wicks. Dr Rosie Wyles was Executive Director. The play was performed on 12, 13 and 14 February, with a pre-show talk by Dr Rosie Wyles on 13 February.
A copy of the programme can be found here, and the script, with transliteration and translation by Rosa Wicks, the student director of the production, can be viewed here.
As part of the events connected to the King's Greek play in 2014, we hosted the panel discussion 'Does Greek drama matter now?' with Natalie Haynes, Tom Holland, Edith Hall and Rosie Wyles, and chaired by Victoria Solomonidis. This event was presented under the auspices of the Greek Presidency of the Council of the European Union (January-June 2014), in cooperation with the Embassy of Greece and the Hellenic Foundation for Culture, UK and was held on 4 February 2014 in the Safra Theatre, King's College London. This event is available to view on YouTube.
Review: Wasps (2014)
Once again, the King’s College Greek Play team are to be congratulated for a lively production in the original language, which succeeded in bringing the drama to life, even for those people who don’t do Greek, with witty surtitles clarifying and even updating the comedy.
Wasps is an excellent choice for a student production, as it is one of Aristophanes’ most performable comedies – fast moving, with lots of small characters, including some very funny non-speaking parts. The dogs were delightful, especially Laurence Hall’s Labes, and my all-time favourite part has to be the Cheese Grater, well played here by Catherine Rhodes. Nonetheless, Ben Foulston and Matthew Partridge are to be congratulated for their lively acting and hard work mastering all their lines as Bdelycleon and Philocleon.
However, a Greek comedy stands and falls on its chorus and these Wasps were delightful - beautifully choreographed, cleverly set, extremely well-rehearsed and wittily characterised as Wise Wasp, Angry Wasp, Quiet Wasp etc. Their pinstripe suits wittily updated and brought out their roles and their stings were extremely effective. Their singing worked well, thanks to Professor Silk’s timeless arrangements, and their parodos and battle with Bdelycleon were especially strong. Michael Silk cleverly used a melodious mix of 30s jazz and more recent songs such as the Beatles’ Hey, Jude to make the play go with a real swing.
Speaking personally, I was especially interested in this production, as I myself had been part of the 1981 Wasps team and the 2014 show certainly lived up to that one. I had a very minor part as the tart with the torch and I was therefore particularly tickled to see that the 2014 flute girl was big and beefy and played with humour by George Ellis!
The set was extremely pretty, set in a somewhat Kentish image of 5th century Athens, with blossoming fruit trees and the green green grass of home. The Wasps set of course needs to be particularly robust, because of Philocleon’s attempts to escape, and this one stayed standing.
From start to finish this was a thoroughly enjoyable staging, with support by an excellent admin and publicity team, complete with honeycomb tickets and posters. The post-play party was also great fun, with fantastic cakes and photos of past productions. The whole team deserve nothing but praise for their flair and team work.
2015: Aristophanes - Clouds
Review by Cathy Mercer, Open University:
This was a delightful production of one of Aristophanes’ less funny comedies. It’s hard to maintain a light touch with this rather harsh caricature of Socrates and Sophists, but this production generally succeeded in doing so, from the ridiculous outfits of Pheidippides – cosy onesie, riding kit and hippomanic images on his phallus - to the cheery music, especially the gentle jazz at the opening.
The production was fast paced and well rehearsed, with helpful and often hilarious surtitles to help along the audience and with delightful references to Kardashian, Farage, Cameron et al to maintain the light tone. Zack McGuiness as Strepsiades, sporting wellies and a convivial estuary accent, set the tone for a desperate romp through sophistry and religion and Marcus Bell’s Socrates managed to con his way through the show, his words carrying well through his shaggy Socratic beard.
The scene change to Thinkery was impressive and the very three-dimensional set offered good angles to the jolly chorus of clouds floating around the stage in support of Socrates. However, I did think the production lost a trick in not making Socrates’ entrance more dramatic: climbing out of a large cardboard box does really not have the same impact as the more traditional swinging him in on a basket in order to better survey the heavens.
The debate between Right and Wrong was well staged, with good use of lounging in sofas, cigarette holders and supporting Right 2 and Wrong 2 to liven up the scene and, no doubt, to cleverly spread the load of line learning. The languid director in his director’s with his hard working assistant, the ever excellent Chorus leader Caitlin MacNamara, made a good job of what is potentially a very tedious scene, especially in view of Aristophanes’ endless gripes at coming third out of the three in the judging.
The programme was as ever excellent, with a helpful synopsis and Professor Silk’s perceptive comments. Thank you, King’s College Greek Play, for letting me take a few extra to help my students who were not able to come on the day!
I took a gang of Open University students along and they all loved it. Those studying Greek enjoyed also recognising a few Greek words and hearing Greek spoken, so rare an opportunity but so necessary, especially in the study of drama. Some of these students come every year to refresh their love of Greek plays and many know no Greek at all, though they still enjoyed the production and have already signed up for next year.
2016: Euripides - Alkestis
The 2016 Greek Play was Euripides' Alkestis, directed by Saara Salem, with executive producer David Bullen. The performance ran from 10-12 February 2016 in the Greenwood Theatre and was preceded by talks from Professor Hugh Bowden (KCL), Professor Edith Hall (KCL), and Dr James Robson (Open University).
In this Athenian tragedy, Apollo tricks the Fates into a deal that allows his friend King Admetus to live beyond his allotted time of death - on one condition: someone must die in his stead. When Pheres, the King's father, refuses, Admetus' wife, Alkestis, volunteers herself. The play begins on the day Alkestis is due to die. What is the King to do? Torn between grief for his wife and anger at his father, Admetus welcomes an unexpected guest into his home - and what happens next, some might say, is exactly what he deserves.
Review: Alkestis (2016)
This is one of Euripides’ earliest surviving plays and rarely performed, as it’s very odd, with a strange juxtaposition of grief and triumph, mourning and partying, a bizarre mosaic of submissive heroines and heroes behaving badly. This production captured this very ambiguity succinctly, with an alluring cocktail party setting going hand-in-hand with deep mourning, successfully translating Euripides’ original ambiguous scene-setting. The cocktail theme was cleverly sustained from start to finish, with even the tickets and fliers looking like cocktail-bottle labels.
This vivid part-setting however brought Euripides’ juxtaposition of joy and grief into even sharper contrast, with Admetus dramatically grieving over the wife he has caused to die as she fades before our very eyes and then arguing with his father over the corpse of his wife. The proliferation of Valentine’s Day roses asked questions as they blazed red along the stage and against the little black numbers of the chorus: blood or romance? Hypocrisy or love? Fashion or funereal garb? How far should devotion and sacrifice go?
Euripides’ original script was severely edited to emphasise the juxtaposition of happiness and sorrow and some of the normal characterisation had been tweaked from the norm to emphasise the tragic themes, for example making the children both girls. The oddity of the ending was also stressed, with the cast daringly following two alternative endings: in the evening shows Heracles restored Alkestis to her husband but, in the afternoon shows, it was Apollo who lurked behind the bridal veil.
The acting was generally excellent, with strong movement and projection, and characterisation was emphasised by high-quality costumes and make-up, particularly Apollo’s divine dresses and the grim grey of Thanatos (Death). The 50s setting was emphasised by the brave medallions of Admetus’ war-hero father, bringing the bravery of another generation.
Throughout gaiety sat uneasily yet poignantly with tragedy, as Heracles blundered into the funeral party groping girls and Thanatos flippantly blew cigarette smoke over the grieving party. Oliver de Montfalcon as Admetus, Catriona Grew as Alkestis and Pietro Fiorentini as Admetus’ Butler delivered their roles particularly strongly.
The production also made very good use of voice-overs and background music to set the scene and sustain the chorus in their strikingly posed tableaux. The quality of music was outstanding and I would have liked less pruning here, especially of some of the best numbers such as the Platters’ Great Pretender.
Lighting was also cleverly used to maintain the fluctuating tone of the production, with dramatic use of black-outs to freeze scenes. Throughout the uncertainty of Euripides’ play came across with a strong punch: is Alkestis’ sacrifice an occasion for joy at the survival of Admetus, a celebration of her bravery? Or should we too be in angry mourning?
2017: Aeschylus - Prometheus Bound
The 2017 Greek Play was Aeschylus' Prometheus Bound, directed by finalist Maria-Pia Aquilina, with executive producer David Bullen. The performance ran from 8-10 February 2017 in the Greenwood Theatre and was preceded by talks from Dr Will Shüler (RHUL), Professor Edith Hall (KCL), and Dr Lucy Jackson (KCL).
A curious and provocative play, it is set in the distant mythological past, in which a tyrannical Zeus has freshly gained control over the cosmos. Prometheus, once a staunch supporter of Zeus, has turned rebel by allying himself with human-kind and preventing their total destruction at the hands of the universe’s new ruler – now he must face his punishment.
Review: Prometheus Bound (2017)
Aeschylus’ play opens with Prometheus being chained to a rock in the Caucasus by Hephaestus, the god of fire. Prometheus is being punished for thwarting Zeus by stealing fire and gifting it to the human race. Hephaestus is reluctant to carry out this terrible punishment but is compelled by the embodiments of Power and Violence. Prometheus is then left to his fate.
A sympathetic chorus of Oceanids enter and remain in attendance thereafter, while Prometheus is visited in his torment by the Titan Oceanus and the human maiden Io. Finally Hermes is sent by Zeus to extract information from Prometheus. When he refuses to co-operate, Prometheus is struck by Zeus’s thunderbolt.
Apart from the chaining-up of Prometheus at the beginning, the play provides for virtually no physical action and confines itself to static, claustrophobic discussion of thoughts and ideas. So it could be seen as something of a challenge to mount a production – especially if one aims to hold an audience’s interest throughout.
Perhaps that is why, of all the major dramatic works of Classical Greece, this one has till now escaped the attentions of KCL Classics Department’s unique annual Greek drama production. It was perceived as a bit difficult.
But director Maria-Pia Aquilina and her team overcame these difficulties and put on a worthy production. It opened with a film montage underlining themes of tyranny, repression, stolen secrets and martyrdom, and drawing parallels with such recent events as the irresistible rise of Donald Trump. After that it was all down to a small company of accomplished actors, a sparse but effective (and effectively lit) set, evocative music and sound design, and the playwright’s message. At times the music was a little loud and made it difficult to hear the Chorus, but this was eventually controlled.
All the actors were splendid but special mention should be made of Annabel Mahoney (a female Prometheus) and Sasha Welm (Io). Each wrung every ounce of drama from her role. Congratulations too to the members of the Chorus, who were indispensable: always on the move, always reflecting on or reacting to Prometheus’ plight.
Surtitles successfully used Alan Sommerstein’s literal yet expressive translation and genuinely helped audience comprehension. The surtitles were mostly well proofread; certainly better than in some previous years’ productions.
Special mention too for the stylish, informative programme, which should be considered an integral part of the production, offering as it does more clues to the play’s modern resonances.
Perhaps it’s a pity the film montage idea was not repeated at the end, to bookend the production and remind us how the play’s themes of dissenting voices and the abuse of power are echoed in today’s world. Or perhaps that would have been heavy-handed, something this production never was.
It was a shame to see that the Friday matinee was devoid of school parties, in the past such an important component of the KCL Greek Play’s audience. Their loss; this was a worthy addition to the King’s tradition. Congratulations to all concerned.
2018: Euripides - Medea
Euripides' brutal tragedy re-imagined in early twentieth century London as a cautionary tale about maligning the marginalised.
A play once used to protest for women's suffrage, this 2018 production celebrated the centenary of that cause's extraordinary first victory in 1918 while a taking hard look at on-going inequality in modern UK.
To mark the sixty-fifth annual Greek Play at King's College London, Medea was performed in a dynamic combination of original Greek and newly commissioned English translation from February 7-9, offering a unique way to experience the visceral thrill of a classic that continues to haunt the imagination.
2019: Sophocles - Antigone
The sixty-sixth annual Greek Play was Sophocles' Antigone, directed by Helena Ramsay (third year BA Classical Studies). Sophocles’ thrilling exploration of resistance and responsibility was brought to life in a daring new production, ancient questions being re-framed for the twenty-first century: when personal values clash with the government, is duty to your beliefs or to the sanctity of the law more important? How acceptable is civil disobedience against an unchecked power? These questions play out in this battle of the individual against the state, staged under the relentless scrutiny of twenty four hour news.
Following the success of 2018’s acclaimed production of Medea, which played to over a thousand audience members across its run, the 2019 Greek Play celebrated another defiant woman of Greek tragedy, once again performed in a combination of ancient Greek and English.