Staging the Greeks in the 21st Century: Adaptation, Re-contextualisation, and the Ethics of Directin
Lecture by Avra Sidiropoulou
Part of the Cyprus High Commission - Cultural Section in collaboration with the Centre for Hellenic Studies under the auspices of the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, Euripides L. Evriviades.
This lecture explores the means by which, as intellectual and artistic operations, adaptations of Greek tragedy have been nourishing a chain of arguments on the limits of directorial interpretation and the rights and wrongs of artistic autonomy. Ιt attempts to shed light on the faithfulness Vs freedom binary and examine the relationship between canonical dramatic texts and their revisionist staging, whereby notions of fidelity and betrayal are constantly negotiated and redefined. The tenacious issue of directorial ethics and the tensions that permeate the source-adaptation symbiosis can only serve to remind us that to some extent performances of the classics continue to remain bound to the hierarchies of meaning inherent in any act of reading and of rewriting. Among the issues discussed is whether a director’s insistence on a relentlessly ‘credible’ staging could sometimes compromise the originality and creativity of the 21st century performance, and, ultimately, the significance and viability of the source text across time and space.
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Avra Sidiropoulou is Assistant Professor at the M.A. in Theatre Studies Programme at the Open University of Cyprus, and artistic director of Athens-based Persona Theatre Company. She is the author of two monographs: Directions for Directing. Theatre and Method, published by Routledge (2018) and Authoring Performance: The Director in Contemporary Theatre, published by Palgrave Macmillan (2011). She has also contributed articles and chapters to several international peer-reviewed journals and edited books and she is the co-editor of the international volume Adapting Greek Tragedy. New Contexts for Ancient Texts (forthcoming by Cambridge University Press). Moreover, she has directed, conducted practical workshops and delivered invited lectures in different parts of the globe. She was a Visiting Researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at the City University of New York (Martin E. Segal Theatre Center), as well as at the Universities of Surrey, Leeds and Tokyo (in the last case, as a Japan Foundation Fellow). As a director, she has staged performances (both independently and with Athens-based Persona Theatre Company) internationally. She will be a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Global Shakespeare (Queen Mary University) in London and the Institute for Theatre Studies at Freie University in Berlin. Her current directing project is the multimedia production Phaedra I—at Tristan Bates Theatre in London (https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/phaedra-i)