September 20, 2015, by Oliver Thomas
Upcoming Classical drama
As a new semester begins, Lynn Fotheringham has been searching out upcoming theatrical productions with a Classical connection.
Contemporary theatre is in the midst of a love affair with Greek tragedy, with both the Almeida Theatre in London (lots of great stuff on their website) and the Classic Stage Company in New York holding festivals this summer. There’s not so much on here in Nottingham, where there was almost too much to see last autumn: Pilot Theatre’s Antigone, the NT Live Medea, Opera North’s Coronation of Poppea…
Across the country
At the Almeida, the Bakkhai has just closed (see my comments on Facebook), but the Oresteia has transferred to the West End (till 7th November – a radical adaptation but I highly recommend it), and the Medea runs from 25th September to 14th November. The Globe’s Oresteia runs till 16th October; I’m going down to London next weekend to see Medea one day and the Oresteia the next – or is it the other way around? Both get another production later in the autumn: Medea at the Gate in London (2nd-28th November) and Oresteia at the Home Theatre, Manchester (23rd October-14th November).
Meanwhile in Stratford the RSC Hecuba has just started, running till 17th October. Birmingham Rep has some interesting new versions of Classical myth coming up, including The Furies on 26th September and Orpheus 28th-31st October. In Manchester, in addition to the Oresteia, there’s Offenbach’s comic opera, Orpheus in the Underworld, at the Lowry from 23rd-25th September (hopefully Opera della Luna will tour this new translation more widely), and another chance to see the Hercules Dance Cabaret at Contact on 29th October.
Closer to home
Here in Nottingham, several cinemas (e.g. Broadway, Savoy) are showing the NT Encore broadcast of Shakespeare’s Roman play, Coriolanus, next Thursday (24th September) – the production, which stars Tom Hiddleston,was originally on at the Donmar Warehouse in 2013/14.
More history of a rather different kind at the Theatre Royal (4th-8th November) as the Horrible Histories team arrive with two different shows: Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders – includes Romans. Most of the performances are matinees or even in the morning, with one of Incredible Invaders on the evening of Wednesday 4th.
Later in November (25th-28th) there’s comedy from amateur company Keyworth Dramatic Society, whose autumn production is the stage-version of Up Pompeii, originally a television series starring Frankie Howerd with strong influence from Plautus. That’s at Grange Hall in Radcliffe on Trent, just ten miles away from the University.
Shakespeare’s Roman plays will be coming back in January, when the Reduced Shakespeare Company come to the Playhouse – although since they’re doing the Complete Works (37 plays in 97 minutes), the amount of time spent on each play will necessarily be limited.
A brief look ahead
Lots to look forward to in spring, with the UCL and KCL Classical Plays in February: KCL have announced Euripides’ Alcestis (10th-12th February) as their production.
Here in Nottingham, it’s March that’s looking more Classical, with the Splendid Productions adaptation of the Odyssey at the Nottingham Arts Theatre on the 10th and Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at the Lace Market Theatre from 16th-19th.
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