Introductions and Translations to the Plays of Sophocles and Euripides
The two volumes of essays and translations of the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides are the accumulation of some twelve years' of producing ancient plays for contemporary audiences and actors. The play-texts themselves, therefore, are intended to be accessible and speakable, in the first instance, and to convey as much of the flavour of the original Greek as any translation is able. They are there to be used. The style, though personal to a degree, is an attempt to maintain the tone and the poetry of tragedy, without dropping into the mock-archaic or turning the texts into self-conscious homilies on contemporary 'issues.'The introductory essays are occasional pieces written with production in mind. Two general themes have emerged: firstly, a development of ideas about the nature of the dramatic genre (and dramatic writing) and stage rhetoric - how is irony achieved? What kinds of irony are there? How do we understand emotional experience in a theatre? Secondly, the significance of emotions and the concept of tragedy in the Greek context, Sophocles and Euripides share, as one might expect, a milieu and some rigid theatrical conventions, but within this context they reveal significant differences in terms of dramatic style and audience orientation.The translations and essays are not presented in the order that they were written. Volume I follows the narrative order of Sophocles' 'Theban Trilogy', and Volume II the chronological order of Euripides' composition. The plays were all produced in Dunedin, New Zealand, in the following order: Oedipus the King 1994 (and 2003), Hippolytus 1995, Bacchae 1997, Antigone 1998, Oedipus at Colonus 2000, Medea 2002, Hecuba 2006.
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