Saturday, September 27, 2008


Today I ventured up to the University of Utah with my friend, Deborah, to see the yearly Greek play. Every fall the Theater Department has a Greek Theater Festival, the only one in the United States, where students perform a Greek play, usually a tragedy, and for the past two years I have attended. In Ancient Greece, plays were performed at sunrise. Luckily for me, the play was at 9:00 this morning, instead of the traditional 6:00 sunrise performance. (The University used to perform at sunrise, but have changed that tradition in that past couple of years due to weather and attendance issues.)

The Greek play is traditionally performed outside in front of Pioneer Theater where the stage is the arched sidewalk and broad stairs that slope downward toward the grass where the audience spreads out on blankets and lawn chairs with their breakfasts. Last year, my dear friend Deborah was in Euripides' Helen. It was freezing cold that morning, with frost on the grass. The blanket that I brought to sit on was soaked through well before the half way point . The sun was out for most of the performance, but the air was crisp and you could see the breath exhaling from the viewers. As I proudly watched my friend display all her talents and the show was beginning to wrap up, clouds loomed and the last ten minutes were completely encased in an all out blizzard. The audience was freezing, and the minimally clad cast even more so. But it was an experience that I will never forget.

Deborah, Stacey, and Ruth
photo credit Ruth Jones

Today, however, was a beautiful September day, full of light, color, and warmth. Medea was the Greek play this year. Also by Euripides, Medea is about a mother, married to Jason, who along with her two children are banished from Corinth. Jason is getting another wife, the daughter of the King Kreon. Jason sees this as a political move, one that will be beneficial for them all as he gains power by marrying the Princess and thereby makes better prospects for his two sons, even though they are banished. Medea is of course outraged and in her quest for revenge poisons the Princess and King. But in order for her revenge to be completely felt by her husband, she slays her two sons with her bare hands, determined to leave Jason with nothing. It is tragedy at it's finest. They say pictures speak louder than words, so here are some scenes from the play:

"Goddess of Midnight" Medea
Photo Credit: Ruth Jones

"Nurse Fetch Her" Medea Chorus
Photo Credit: Ruth Jones

Ending Scene: Medea at top with two dead sons, Chorus with dragon, Jason in front.
Photo Credit: Ruth Jones

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