Brekekekex koax koax – It’s all (Ancient) Greek to me!
On the evening of Wednesday 16th October, Classics students at MPW had the opportunity of attending a trip to the Cambridge Arts Theatre to watch two plays. These plays were performed in the original ancient Greek by members of Cambridge University’s Classics Department. This year, we had the pleasure of watching a double-bill of Prometheus Bound, attributed to Aeschylus, and The Frogs, a comedy by Aristophanes.
Prometheus began first dictating the story of the tortuous punishment of a Titan who defied Zeus and dared to give fire to mortals. As a punishment, Prometheus is chained to a rock and left there to suffer for eternity. The staging for Prometheus was simple yet effective, with actor Henry Jenkinson suspended on a vertical ladder above the stage for the entirety of the play. The music in this play was used to great effect to build suspense and fear within the audience. This tragedy was perhaps more of an intense watch in comparison to the light-hearted Frogs which, I think it is safe to say, was enjoyed far greater!
The Frogs was completely different to the performance before the interval, with a cluttered stage full of people dressed in green and an upbeat chorus. In this play, there were many references to modern day society which added an extra comedic element alongside the original ancient Greek.The Frogs is set against the backdrop of the Greco-Persian wars. Dionysus is accompanied by his hard done-by slave Xanthias to the Underworld where poets Euripides and Aeschylus battle it out to be chosen to lead the people in order to end the wars.
All MPW students were extremely impressed by the flowing ancient Greek dialogue of the actors in both plays as well as their ability to switch genres so rapidly. It was an extremely successful evening which can be recommended to anyone with an interest in the ancient world!