Thursday, 28 February 2013

Drama: a Dramatisation of The Iliad in Cambridge

Projected words by Keats

We had a fascinating time last week in Cambridge last week at the annual Greek play. This year's production was called 'Achilles: the end of his wrath' and constituted a dramatisation from Homer's Iliad (Books XVI-XXIV).

The performance was in Classical Greek and was produced and directed by Emeritus Professor Patrick Boyde, who has now directed ten of these plays.

The performance took place in the Cambridge University Divinity School Theatre, pictured above. There were not only projected subtitles (for those of us whose Greek is a bit rusty), but also carefully selected images from archaeological artefacts such as figurative pottery, enabling the audience to follow the action a little more easily. The acting was complemented by exquisite music from two accomplished violinists. 

Unlike the levels of gratuitous noise in movies like Troy, you could have heard a pin drop. We were all caught up in the plot and were drawn in not only to the stark horrors of the war, but also to the very real issues facing the gods, the heroes and the humans. And what an experience it was!   

I read a child's version of the Odyssey as a youngster, and have been fascinated by Odysseus and the nature of the Homeric epic ever since. The images below are reconstructions from Nestor's Palace near 'sandy Pylos', which features in the Odyssey. We visited the site a couple of years ago. The image immediately below shows a reconstruction of the palace floor (complete with octopus motif) from the museum, and the lower image shows a reconstruction of the palace itself.    

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