From the stages of Broadway and London to university campuses, Paris, and the bourgeoning theaters of Africa, Greek tragedy remains constantly in production. This global revival, in addition to delighting audiences, has highlighted both the promise and the pitfalls of staging ancient masterpieces in the modern age. Addressing the issues and challenges these performances pose, renowned classicist Simon Goldhill responds here to the growing demand for a comprehensive guide to staging Greek tragedy today.
In crisp and spirited prose, Goldhill explains how Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles conceived their works in performance and then summarizes everything we know about how their tragedies were actually staged. The heart of his book tackles the six major problems facing any company performing these works today: the staging space and concept of the play; the use of the chorus; the actor’s role in an unfamiliar style of performance; the place of politics in tragedy; the question of translation; and the treatment of gods, monsters, and other strange characters of the ancient world. Outlining exactly what makes each of these issues such a pressing difficulty for modern companies, Goldhill provides insightful solutions drawn from his nimble analyses of some of the best recent productions in the United States, Britain, and Continental Europe.
One of the few experts on both Greek tragedy and contemporary performance, Goldhill uses his unique background and prodigious literary skill to illuminate brilliantly what makes tragedy at once so exciting and so tricky to get right. The result will inspire and enlighten all directors and performers—not to mention the growing audiences—of ancient Greek theater.