Department of Theater and Dance


Randy Wyatt, chair

Greek plays were communal events. Remember communal events?

Greek theatre festivals were not just aesthetic events, but religious, political, and societal ones. When Euripides' THE TROJAN WOMEN was mounted, the story of the fall of Troy was well known to the proud Greek audience. But the focus of the play was not on powerful Greek conquerors, but on the Trojans--the losers, and what they had suffered at the brutal hands of Greeks. Euripides was the punk rock atheist of Greek playwrights--asking questions about who Greeks really were and where were the gods in all of this, whether they were really worth adoration considering their actions and inactions. There was also another subtext to be detected, a critique of the then-current Greek invasion of Melos, an innocent neutral city-state that Greece destroyed just because they could. By telling the stories of the downcast women of Troy, Euripides was able to cast light on his audience in several uncomfortable ways simultaneously.

Our communal reality over the past 14 months has been brutally disrupted, in ways most of us have not experienced in our lifetimes. That's not news. During this time, we have seen significant protests against cruelties in our own culture. Do we have the fortitude to see it, to continue to see it, as our context returns to "normal"? Can a Greek play move us to the catharsis we've heard about but haven't experienced communally in so long?

I'm fascinated in how you, the audience, will consume this play--this live performance after months and months of Zoom. Before the pandemic, we were saturated in electronic media, but now after a time where that's literally the only mode that existed for communal storytelling, what power does live performance have in store? And to go back to ancient elements to do this, at this particular moment in history, what power lurks in communal catharsis? I'm ready to know.

I'm particularly proud of my collaborators through this long and somewhat insane process, from our designers to our student actors who auditioned on video last November. Thanks to all for your investment and hard work.

Next time, though, let's do it in Yulman.