The UW Undergraduate Theater Society is mounting a production of Sophocles’ Electra beginning on October 22nd, and two of our graduate students, Charles Carver and Anna Simas, consulted as dramaturgs for the production. Carver and Simas both have a personal interest in Greek tragedy, but approach the material from different points of view (military history and feminist theory, respectively), and brought both perspectives to the table as dramaturgs.
Says Carver of his duties toward the actors, “We are helping to better acquaint them with ancient dramatic convention and the context in which the play was originally performed.” Topics included in discussion were funerary rites and mourning, the family and the household in Ancient Greece, warfare, military ethos, and the role of women in both public and private life. “The actors and crew really seemed to connect on a personal level with the characters of the play and their struggles. They were really interested in fleshing out the motivations behind each character’s actions,” says Simas.
The experience was of benefit to classicists and dramatists alike. Both Carver and Simas particularly enjoyed bringing their knowledge of Classics to a lively and receptive audience. “It’s always a rewarding experience when we get to work closely with people who not only care about the material as much as we do, but also bring a fresh perspective to it,” says Carver.
Performances run from October 22nd to November 1st in the Cabaret Theater in Hutchinson Hall. Tickets are available at http://uts-electra.bpt.me/ or http://uwuts.org/, or at the door. There is also a free preview show on October 21st at 7:30 p.m.