Reading Greek Tragedy Online
In partnership with Out of Chaos Theatre, the Center for Hellenic Studies and the Kosmos Society are presenting Reading Greek Tragedy Online, a weekly series that brings together actors and researchers to perform and discuss scenes from Greek tragedy.
Artistic Director: Paul O'Mahony (Out of Chaos Theatre)
Host and Faculty Consultant: Joel Christensen (Brandeis University)
Dramaturg: Emma Pauly
Executive Producer: Lanah Koelle (Center for Hellenic Studies)
Producers: Keith DeStone (Center for Hellenic Studies), Hélène Emeriaud, Janet Ozsolak, and Sarah Scott (Kosmos Society)
Poster Artist: John Koelle
Poster Designer: Allie Marbry (Center for Hellenic Studies)
Episodes [back to top]
July 15 Clouds, Aristophanes
with Joel Schlosser (Bryn Mawr College); translation by Ian Johnston
July 22 Alcestis, Euripides
with Maria Xanthou (Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University)
July 29 The Chorus 10am ET
a special edition of RGTO focusing on choral passages and performance
with Anna S. Uhlig (University of California, Davis)
August 5 Antigone, Sophocles
with James Collins (University of Sydney) and participants in the Performing Wisdom Summer Workshop
Links to recordings of previous episodes are below. The full playlist is available on YouTube.
Project Background [back to top]
Reading Greek Tragedy Online was created during the first weeks of the COVID-19 lockdown. The project's intention is to create community during a time of enforced separation, to foster dialogues between actors and academics, and to create an educational resource for a wide range of students. Furthermore, the project aims to explore how we can make theatre online and in different spaces, and to build an international ensemble of performers. The project also works with artists who respond to these scripts in a variety of ways, whether as performers, musicians, directors, or translators. By creating connections between theater practitioners and researchers, the project hopes to yield future productions and new interpretations of tragedy.
So far, more than 35 actors and academics from the UK, US, Mexico, and Greece have participated, and the project intends to work with people across the globe. Our plan is to read all extant Greek tragedies by the end of 2020.
Outreach [back to top]
- encouraging groups to host full readings of tragedies (see Relative Theatrics in Laramie, WY for an example).
- a competition for high school groups to stage scenes from Medea; winners will be featured in one of our episodes.
- run interactive online workshops for Bacchae and Medea, in collaboration with Classics for All.
- hosting Q&A sessions on Zoom for students.
Contributor Biographies [back to top]
Out of Chaos Theatre
Out of Chaos combines creative physical approaches to theatre and rigorous text work which investigates old stories and their enduring relevance to modern audiences. They make work which is exciting, challenging and generous, with a belief in the absolute importance of clear storytelling in creative and surprising forms. Every one of their productions puts the audience at its heart – including them within the action of the play to create truly communal events with the power to move, entertain, edify and enthral. They have toured extensively throughout the UK, Europe, the US and New Zealand, winning multiple awards. Their artistic director is Paul O’Mahony who has twice been a visiting artist at the CHS. He is currently working on an adaptation of the Aeneid, and a musical inspired by the ancient Olympics.
Actors and Panelists
Lucia Athanassaki is Professor of Classical Philology at the University of Crete. She holds a BA from the University of Athens and a PhD from Brown University. She has published extensively on melic poetry, its artistic context and its ideological and political agenda. The focus of her research in recent years is on attitudes to art, lifestyle and leadership in the late 5th century as reflected in Attica drama and prose.
Kareem Badr is an actor, improviser, and teacher based out of Austin, TX. He is a co-owner of The Hideout Theatre, and performs and teaches internationally with his improv troupe PGraph.
James Callàs Ball is a freelance director and actor based in London, England. He is a Junior Associate Director at the Kings Head Theatre and founder of Speechless Theatre Company. He is Associate Director of the three-times Olivier Award nominated production of Amelie the Musical.
Adam Barnard is a writer and director based in London / Brighton, UK. He works in theatre, film and journalism.
Carlos Bellato is a Mexican actor and pianist, born and raised in Baja California Sur. He studied acting at La Casa Del Teatro in Mexico City, and won the Anglo Arts Scholarship for the Midsummer in Oxford program (2019).
Tajh Bellow currently resides in Los Angeles California. As of 2018, he has been a recurring regular on ABC’s General Hospital and has made multiple guest appearances on shows such as Bosch (Amazon), and The Middle (ABC). Calling for Love is a Romantic Comedy which premiered in Canada in June 2020 and will soon announce domestic premier dates. He attended the Midsummer in Oxford program in 2018 which changed his life forever!
Joshua Billings teaches in the Classics Department at Princeton University. His research focuses on Greek tragedy, intellectual history, and classical reception. He has published Genealogy of the Tragic: Greek Tragedy and German Philosophy (Princeton 2014) and is currently finishing a book on Greek drama and early Greek philosophy, which will be published in 2021.
Nichole Bird was a member of the award-winning 2019 production of Unmythable by Out of Chaos, and has extensive credits at Shakespeare’s Globe and throughout the UK.
Vincent Brimble is part of the Olivier Award winning Jacobean Season at the RSC and a regular performer at The Orange Tree Theatre.
Beth Burns is the Artistic Director for Austin Texas’ The Hidden Room Theatre.
Mat Carbon is a Scientific Collaborator of the Département des Sciences de l’Antiquité, Université de Liège, and one of the principal investigators of the Collection of Greek Ritual Norms project. His research and publications focus on the numerous interchanges between epigraphy and religion, in particular the inscriptions called 'ritual norms', documents which notably define rituals of sacrifice and purification in ancient Greek communities. Recent publications include Purity and Purification in the Ancient Greek World (Liège 2018), which he co-edited with S. Peels-Matthey.
Claire Catenaccio is a scholar of ancient drama and its modern reception. She has published on the imagery of dreams in Aeschylus’ Oresteia, on singing heroes in Sophocles’ Trachiniae, and on the transformation of the myth of Orpheus in the Broadway musical Hadestown. As a dramaturg and director, she has worked extensively with modern stagings of ancient texts. She teaches as a member of the faculty at Georgetown University.
Tamieka Chavis is a resident company member with Chesapeake Shakespeare Company playing leading roles in Macbeth and The Tempest. She has been nominated for and awarded numerous awards, including the Daytime Emmy Awards, Indie Series Awards, Broadway World Awards.
Joel Christensen is Associate Professor and Chair in the Department of Classical Studies at Brandeis University. His The Many-Minded Man: the Odyssey, Psychology, and the Therapy of Epic, published by Cornell University Press, will appear in 2020.
Sarah Marie Curry has been an actor and working artist for over a decade. Regional acting credits include: The Last Five Years (Jaime), Fun Home (Alison), Company (Jenny), Into the Woods (Cinderella) to name a few. On stage she has been called “hilarious” “fierce” “truly exceptional” and is a local Austin, Texas award winner for Outstanding Lead Actress in multiple productions over the years.
Tim Delap has performed several times in leading roles at the National Theatre and in the West End. He recently played Rochester in the National Theatre’s critically-acclaimed Jane Eyre.
Danai Epithymiadi studied theater in London and New York and has been working as an actress in Greece since 2012. As part of the chorus in Electra by Euripides, she has toured extensively around Greece. Last July was the first time she played in Epidaurus theater (again as part of the chorus) in Iphigenia in Aulis.
Sarah Finigan has numerous credits at Shakespeare’s Globe. She has toured internationally and throughout the UK.
Liz Fisher is an interdisciplinary theatermaker based in Austin. Her directing work explores applications of mixed realities, immersive theatre strategies, and game mechanics in new play development and reimaginings of classic texts. As a Princess Grace Award winner, she has been a guest artist at universities around the country.
Mariah Gale won the Ian Charleson Award in 2006 and has gone on to play numerous leading roles at the RSC and The Globe. TV credits include Broadchurch, Doctor Who and The Hollow Crown.
Tabatha Gayle is a New York based multi-disciplinary creator and performer who has developed work at various theaters, such as Musical Theater Factory, Ars Nova, and Poetic Theater Productions. As a performer she has appeared off-broadway at venues such as Here Arts Center, New York Musical Festival, Ars Nova, and The Flea.
Tony Jayawardena has numerous credits in leading roles at the RSC and Shakespeare’s Globe. Recently seen in Series 4 of The Crown.
Efimia D. Karakantza is Associate Professor of Ancient Greek Literature, University of Patras, Greece. Her recent focus is on feminist and political readings of ancient Greek literature, mainly the Homeric poems and Greek tragedy (Sophocles in particular). Her book on Oedipus, Who Am I? (Mis)Identity and the Polis in Oedipus Tyrannus, (HSS 86, HUP 2020), explores issues of identity and citizenship in the ancient polis, and her book on Antigone (co-authored with Anastasia Bakogianni) is due soon by Routledge in the series: Gods and Heroes of the Ancient World. She has recently introduced the course “Feminist Criticism and Classics” at her department, one of the few (if not the first) in Greek universities to explore how feminist thought has changed the way we read the classical texts.
Bruce M. King teaches ancients and moderns at the Pierrepont School, at the Gallatin School of individualized Study (NYU), and the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research. His book on the Iliad, Achilles Unheroic, is forthcoming.
Katerina Ladianou studied Greek Philology at the University of Crete (BA and MA) and received her Doctorate Degree at the Ohio State University. Her PhD thesis discussed the feminine voice in Archaic Greek Poetry. She has taught both Greek and Latin at the Ohio State University, University of Patras, University of Crete, and University of Athens. Her scholarly interests include archaic Greek poetry (both epic and lyric), Roman love elegy, performance and gender.
Martin K. Lewis is an actor from and based in NYC. Recent credits include: REGIONAL - Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Miami New Drama, Elm Shakespeare Company. OFF-BROADWAY - New Light Theater Project: & The New York Theater Workshop.
Michael Lumsden is a regular on the BBC’s The Archers, and has worked in UK theatre for over 30 years with a string of credits at The Orange Tree Theatre in London.
Toph Marshall is Professor of Greek at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. His work on tragedy includes books on Euripides’ Helen and Aeschylus’ Libation Bearers. He has also published on Greek and Roman comedy, American comics, Battlestar Galactica, and The Wire.
Anne Mason is an actor, director, and producer in Laramie, WY, as well as the Founder/Producing Artistic Director of Relative Theatrics. A self-proclaimed Greek Mythology Junkie, she is thrilled to expand her knowledge of the Classics by participating in this project.
Robert Matney is an Austin, Texas-based stage and voice actor focused on classical plays and the intersection of live performance and network technology. He is also a Managing Director for Yonder, a software company that analyzes online affinity groups, coordinated propaganda, and the influence mechanics of the internet.
Patrick Walshe McBride studied Oriental Studies with Modern and Medieval Languages at the University of Cambridge before training as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has since worked internationally in theatre, television and film. Credits include Peer Gynt (Barbican), Photograph 51 (Noel Coward), Trouble in Mind (Theatre Royal Bath), Harold and Maude (Charing Cross), Hamlet (Kronborg Castle, Elsinore), The Winter's Tale (Crucible), Dracula (BBC/Netflix), Shakespeare and Hathaway (BBC), Giri/Haji (Netflix/BBC), Pixies (Youtube Red), Backdraft II (Universal) and Lake of the Dead (Pryserfilm).
Ronan Melomo is an Austin, Texas based theatre maker and arts educator. He graduated from NYU & the Stella Adler Studio of Acting with a BFA in acting and has focused much of his career on classical theatre. He hopes to continue his training in graduate school to further his craft and serve as a voice that amplifies underheard voices and uplifts the theatrical community as a whole.
Evelyn Miller just finished playing Bianca in The Taming of the Shrew at Shakespeare’s Globe. Other recent credits include leading roles at the National Theatre and RSC. Evvy is an associate director of Actors From The London Stage.
Robin Mitchell-Boyask is professor of Greek and Roman Classics at Temple University in Philadelphia, and editor of the journal Classical World. Among his publications on Greek literature, he literally wrote the book on the plague and Athenian tragedy: Plague and the Athenian Imagination.
Timothy Moore is the John and Penelope Biggs Distinguished Professor of Classics at Washington University in St. Louis. Moore's current projects include articles on the history and performance of Greek and Roman theater and on Latin meter, and a long-range project on musical theater in ancient Greece and Rome. He also has interests in the history of theatre, especially American musical theatre and Japanese Kyogen comedy.
Richard Neale is associate director of Actor From The London Stage with whom he has toured the US playing leading roles in The Tempest, King Lear and Othello. A director and teacher, Richard has almost 20 years’ experience of performing in the UK.
Brian Arkamian Nelson Jr. is known for NBC's Chicago MED, Chicago P.D. and FOX's A.P.B. Originally from Chicago, he has worked regionally at theaters such as Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Paramount Theatre and Court Theatre. In 2018, Brian spent the summer studying acting at Oxford University with the British American Drama Academy. Brian is currently living and working in LA as an actor.
Anne-Sophie Noel is Associate Professor in Greek at École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. Her paper on “Playing make-believe with objects: counterfactual imagination and psychodrama in Greek tragedy” will appear in the forthcoming volume How to Do the Psychology of the Ancient World, edited by V. Glaveanu, L. Huitink, and I. Sluiter and published by Brill in the series, Euhormos: Greco-Roman Studies in Anchoring Innovation.
Paul O’Mahony is artistic director of Out of Chaos with whom he created the award winning Unmythable. He recently toured the US in their production of Macbeth and is currently working on two productions inspired by ancient culture. He has twice been a visiting artist at the CHS.
Emma Pauly is a Chicago-based dramaturg, classicist, translator and performer specializing in Greek tragedy. Her work centers on performance and reception of tragedy, particularly in the context of queer themes and representation. Their translation of Eurpides' Bacchae has most recently been published in the translation journal The Mercurian.
Amy Pistone is concluding her first year as an Assistant Professor at Gonzaga University. Her research focuses on Greek tragedy, specifically the plays of Sophocles, and she is very interested in public scholarship and contemporary receptions of Greek tragedy in modern society.
Eunice Roberts is Dean of the British American Drama Academy. She has toured extensively in the UK and US, and is also an associate director of Actors From The London Stage. She was in Season 2 of Killing Eve.
Norman Sandridge is Associate Professor of Classics at Howard University and a co-founder of Kallion Leadership. His "Sophocles’ Philoctetes: Causes of and Remedies for Dehumanization in a Leadership Role” has appeared in the SAGE series of business case studies on "Becoming a Leader in the Ancient World."
Joel Alden Schlosser teaches political theory at Bryn Mawr College. Previously, he held the Julian Steward Chair in the Social Sciences at Deep Springs College. He has published numerous essays on ancient political thought, politics and American literature, and pedagogy. He is the author of What Would Socrates Do? Self-examination, civic engagement, and the politics of philosophy (Cambridge, 2014) and Herodotus in the Anthropocene (Chicago, 2020).
Michael Scott is a Professor of Classics at the University of Warwick, UK. He has written extensively on Greek history, society, culture and religion, on the early development of the Silk Roads, and on the reception of the ancient world in the modern. He has been recognised for his teaching with a National Teaching Fellowship and Principal Fellowship of the Higher Education Authority. He is an honorary citizen of Delphi, President of the largest regional branch of the UK Classical Association, and Trustee and Director of the UK charity Classics for All. He has written and presented numerous TV documentaries about the ancient world for BBC and ITV in the UK; Nova, PBS and National Geographic in the US, and SBS in Australia.
Janet Spencer-Turner has numerous credits at the National Theatre, and has toured extensively in the UK and internationally.
René Thornton Jr is a resident company member with Delaware's Resident Ensemble Players. For nearly 14 years he was a resident company member with the American Shakespeare Center where he appeared in 118 productions and completed his goal of performing professionally in all of the plays in Shakespeare’s Folio.
Sara Valentine is a professor and the department chair of theatre at the University of Southern Maine, outside Portland, Maine. She teaches courses in acting, voice/speech, and professional development. She is co-founder of Really Inventive Stuff, a vaudeville-inspired theatre company that creates family programming with symphony orchestras throughout North America.
Noree Victoria is an actor, writer, and the Vice-Chair of New Filmmakers Los Angeles. An alumna of the University of Maryland, BADA, and the New York Conservatory for the Dramatic Arts, she has most recently appeared in Little, American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson, and Queen Sugar.
Erika L. Weiberg will begin a new position as an assistant professor of Classical Studies at Duke University in July. She has published on Greek tragedy and is currently completing a book on the wives of returning veterans in Greek drama. Her research interests center on feminist approaches to antiquity.
Jack Whitam has numerous credits with the RSC and has recently played Macbeth for the Guildford Shakespeare Company.
Argyris Xafis graduated from the National School of Dramatic Arts in Greece, and has performed ancient tragedies numerous times in Epidaurus. He has won several awards for his cinema and stage work and he's also an acting professor at Athens Conservatory Drama School.