Workshop on Tragic Choruses .Rush Rehm and Courtney Walsh, Stanford Repertory Theater

 Workshop on Tragic Choruses .
Rush Rehm and Courtney Walsh, Stanford Repertory Theater

Short description
 
Designed for actors, directors, teachers, and students of ancient theater, this four-hour workshop explores various approaches to the Greek tragic chorus from a performance perspective. Conducted in English by Stanford Repertory Theater artists Professor Rush Rehm and actress Courtney Walsh, the workshop will address the following questions: What is a tragic chorus? What does the chorus do? How can we get the most out of the chorus, as artistic interpreters, performers, teachers, and students of Greek tragedy?
 
Rationale
 
We have seen an explosion of interest in ancient tragedy over the past few decades, with long-neglected plays receiving professional and university productions across the globe. In modern Greece, of course, performances of tragedy have been popular for over a century, and have been institutionalized in professional companies, festivals, and theater training programs. Nonetheless, the chorus remains one of the most problematic conventions of ancient drama. Productions tend to homogenize the chorus in predictable ways, or emphasize movement and song at the expense of rich poetic language, or (moving in the opposite direction) reduce the chorus down to a prosaic voice commenting on the action, or simply eliminate the chorus altogether as a kind of theatrical embarrassment. This very difficulty suggests that unlocking the chorus may lie at the heart of what tragedy has to offer the contemporary theater.
 
Pragmatics
 
The workshop will begin with:
  • a brief overview of scholarly and theatrical responses to the chorus
  •  Ideas and suggestions as regards approaching the chorus.
  • A series of vocal and physical warm-ups designed with choral performance in mind.
  • Study and practice on texts of four specific choruses, drawn from Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, and Euripides’ Bacchae.
 
  • Next we will divide the workshop into four groups, each one assigned a chorus to work on collectively. The workshop leaders will move among the groups, offering suggestions, observations, and guidance as necessary. Having developed their own choral approach, each group will present their work to the workshop at large, sharing what they’ve discovered. We will use these presentations as the “raw material” to discuss what directions future work on the tragic chorus might take.
 
 
 
Schedule
 
2 pm: introductions and brief overview of scholarly and theatrical responses to the tragic
chorus
 
2:25 – 2:50 vocal and physical warm up exercises, aimed at ensemble work
 
2:50 – 3:30 brief exploration of the text of specific tragic choruses:
                        Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, from the parodos: the sacrifice of Iphigenia
                        Aeschylus’ Agamemnon, from the first stasimon, “War is the money-                                                    changer of bodies”
                        Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, from the second stasimon, “If someone                                                  moves through the world not fearing Justice …”
                        Euripides’ Bacchae, from the parodos, “Delight in the mountains …”
 
3:30 – 4:00 initial group work
 
4:00 – 4:10 break (coffee, restroom)
 
4:10 – 5:10 group work on individual choruses
 
5:10 –5:50 presentation and discussion of group work
 
5:50 – 6 pm summary and conclusions. Where do we go from here?
 
 
Biography of workshop leaders
 
Artistic Director of Stanford Repertory Theater, Rush Rehm is Professor of Theater and Classics at Stanford University and author of several books on Greek tragedy. He has worked as an actor and director in theaters across the United States; in Greece, he directed The Wanderings of Odysseus at the Michael Cacoyannis foundation, and Clytemnestra: Tangled Justice at Nafplion’s Trianon Theater.
 
Yale-trained Courtney Walsh has acted in television, film, and theater, most recently appearing in the title role of Racine’s Phèdre at San Francisco’s Cutting Ball Theater. A core member of Stanford Repertory Theater, she has played Jocasta in Seneca’s Oedipus, Calypso, Arete, and Cyclops in The Wanderings of Odysseus, Winnie in Happy Days, and has toured Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States in the one-woman show Clytemnestra: Tangled Justice.   
 
Information
Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, 206 Piraeus street, Tavros, 177-78 Tel: 210.3418550 & 210.3418579
Workshop dates:  Monday 17th July 2017, 14:00-18:00 at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation
Participation cost:  €20
Submissions accepted up until 10th July 2017 at theaterlab@mcf.gr (please include name and contact number)