In Idomeneus, Roland Schimmepfennig turns to Greek myth to stage a philosophical enquiry into the reasons why humans make life-changing choices, and the different versions of reality which they offer to each other to justify those choices—do we take the path of reason, superstition, or just basic physical instincts? In a form of pathetic fallacy, the Cretan setting reflects the existential and moral dilemmas experienced by its timeless characters. By subverting the Enlightenment interpretation of Idomeneo , with its happy ending, writer Roland Schimmelpfennig asks how the ancient Greek classics can be remade for the alienation of the 21st century. This illustrated talk asks why in Idomeneus he has now turned back in time to ancient Greek myth, and an ancient Greek setting, and how his understanding of the role of the Greek chorus in ancient tragic theatre has informed his own experimental theatre.
Edith Hall is Professor of Classics at King’s College London. Her books include Introducing the Ancient Greeks (2014), Adventures with Iphigenia in Tauris (2013), Greek Tragedy: Suffering under the Sun (2010), and The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer’s Odyssey (2008). A frequent broadcaster on BBC Radio, Edith has acted as consultant for professional theatres including the RSC, Shakespeare’s Globe, the National Theatre, Theaterckombinat, Live Theatre Newcastle, and the Center for Theater Practices in Gardzienice. She is also a judge of the Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation, Chair of the Gilbert Murray Trust, and Consultant Director of the Archive of Performances of Greek & Roman Drama at the University of Oxford. See further www.edithhall.co.uk
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