Emory Report
October 3, 2005
Volume 58, Number 6


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October 3 , 2005
Alcestis begins ’05–’06 season’s ‘March Through History’

By Hunter Hanger

Theater Emory (TE) will present Alcestis, the ancient Greek epic by Euripedes, translated and adapted by Ted Hughes, from Oct. 6–16 in the Dobbs Center’s Mary Gray Munroe Theater. This modern retelling finds Queen Alcestis willing to sacrifice herself for the life of the king, only to be rescued from the underworld by the raucous and forceful Heracles.

The production is the first of TE’s 2005–06 season, billed as a “3,000-Year March Through History.” TE and partners like Atlanta’s Out of Hand Theater and New York’s Universes will engage Emory audiences in theatrical time travel from ancient Greek to contemporary American drama through six productions: Alcestis, King Lear, She Stoops to Conquer, The Skin of Our Teeth, Live from the Edge and Eyewitness Blues.

“We invite you to wear your best shoes and join us in a 3,000-year historical march,” said TE Artistic Producing Director Vinnie Murphy, honored this summer as a 2005 Public Broadcasting Atlanta Lexus Leader of the Arts “This season we return to the grand theatrical tradition of large, timely classics. Audiences can travel through the evolution of society and experience period productions rich with costuming, music and vocal styles.”

Out of Hand is collaborating with the production of Alcestis, and Emory alumna and Out Of Hand Co-Producing Artistic Director Ariel de Man will direct. With a large cast of Emory students and professional actors (including Murphy himself), de Man and Out Of Hand colleagues Adam Fristoe and Maia Knispel are working to create “huge, physical scenes.”

“[The partnership of Theater Emory and Out Of Hand] is a great opportunity for all of the students and the audience to experience our style,” de Man said. “It’s a highly physical style of ensemble creation.”

The production’s opening night celebrates the beginning of an international conference at Emory, “Fixed Stars Govern a Life,” investigating the works of Hughes, the late British poet laureate whose papers are housed within the Manuscript, Archives and Rare Book Library (MARBL) of Woodruff Library.

Hughes’ tragi-comic adaptation has inspired the production elements. “In his work, the language is so stark and beautiful, like his poetry,” de Man said. “We have all of these beautiful things happening onstage and also these terrible, vicious things. [The setting] is supposed to be sort of a paradise; there’s no war or poverty, nothing ugly. We wanted it to seem exotic and not only foreign, but also like that paradise.”

Set design for the production is by Bart McGeehon, costume design is by English Toole, lighting design is by Robert Turner and sound design is by Joseph Monaghan.

Performances are
Oct. 6–8 and 13–14 at 7 p.m. in the Munroe Theater. Special environmental re-stagings will be presented in the Schwartz Center’s Emerson Concert Hall, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. General admission tickets are $15; $12 for faculty and staff, non-Emory students and patrons over 65; $6 for Emory students. Oct. 7 is pay-what-you-can night (door sales only). To order tickets or for more information, call 404-727-5050 or visit www.arts.emory.edu.