The 20th century saw ancient Greek drama in performance reach a level of popularity (not only in Europe but world-wide) unparalleled since Athens in the fifth century BC. In the 21st century, performances and adaptations of Greek plays continue to proliferate. Directors turn to them both as ‘timeless classics’ and as opportunities for shocking iconoclasm. They are invoked as celebrations of shared heritage (Greek, other national, European, or human/ global) and as ‘transcending’ political difference but also as engaged theatre serving a wide range of political causes, perhaps especially as giving a voice to groups oppressed on grounds of sex, gender, ethnicity or religion and to victims of violence and war.
There has also been a growing interest in the cognitive and psychological dimensions of Greek tragedy in particular, which has found a prominent place in the growing fields of theatre-in-education and drama therapy. Re-creation of Greek drama runs the gamut of theatrical practice from conservative to radical, from popular cultural traditions to intellectual experimentalism (often combining elements of both). New editions of ancient plays, new online archives, databases, and search engines, and other developments in digital scholarship have combined with advances in methodology to open the way for research into ancient drama and its reception of a depth and diversity hitherto impossible.
This module draws on all these resources and on the constellation of expertise in CAHA and elsewhere in the College of Arts and Law to realise this potential.
Assessment: 4,000-word essay