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'Directing the Cambridge Greek Play'

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Bring your questions to theatre director and classicist Helen Eastman as she rehearses her second Cambridge Greek Play (Agamemnon, 2010). In a bold move for the Cambridge tradition, Aristophanes’s Frogs will be presented in a double bill with Aeschylus’ Prometheus: come and find out why.

Can humour translate across a language barrier? How do you rehearse a play in an ancient language whose sounds have to be recreated by scholars, and performed with verbal precision, yet emotional power? What special skills do actors need to master? Why did the chorus used to be a problem for the performance of such plays, but now makes Greek drama about performance itself? Why is physical theatre, masks, and above all music crucial to productions of ancient Greek drama?

Helen Eastman trained as a director at LAMDA after graduating from Oxford University in Classics and English. She ran the Onassis Programme at Oxford from 2005-2011 and is Associate Artist of Oxford’s Archive of Performance of Greek and Roman Drama. She is returning to direct the Cambridge Greek play, after directing Agamemnon three years ago. Helen is Artistic Director of Live Canon, for whom she has created theatre and site specific shows, installations and digital performances throughout the UK. She was one of twelve women invited to create work in the Phenomenal People series at the Festival Hall. She has directed theatre, opera and circus, including Fair (Trafalgar Studios and UK tour), Circus Etc (The De La Warr Pavillion), Wild Raspberries (Citizens Theatre, Glasgow), Bug Off (OTC Dublin and tour), Cure at Troy (Delphi International Festival and Tour), Bridgetower (Hackney Empire and Tour), Dido and Aeneas (National Tour for English Touring Opera), Speakout (Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch for English Touring Opera), Splat (Greenwich Theatre), Felt Effects (Theatre503), Hansel and Gretel (Cork Opera House), The Sweet Science of Bruising (National Theatre Studio), Cloudcuckooland, nominated for a Total Theatre Award (National Tour), Agamemnon (Cambridge Arts), Pots and Plays (site specific at Ashmolean Museum), Dear Father Christmas, Where’s Father Christmas, and Bicycle Boy (Oxford Playhouse). She is also a playwright and librettist and has written plays and operas for Oxford Playhouse, The Royal Society, Sheffield Crucible, Queens Hornchurch, Greenwich Theatre, Chester Open Air Season, ETO and the Young Vic.

This talk is part of the Cambridge Classical Reception Seminar Series series.

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