Festival that launched a thousand ships

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It’s been coming together for nearly two years, but the
finished product is now upon us. The Oxford Greek Festival,
brainchild of Avery Willis (DPhil in Classics at Balliol), starts
on the 5 May, and there won’t be a moment’s respite
from all things Greek, whether Classical or Modern. Consisting of plays, lectures, an exhibition, poetry, a debate
and children’s events, the Festival promises to have
something for everyone. Most prominent amongst its productions is
Euripides’ Trojan Women, staged at the Playhouse from the
5-8 May (Wednesday-Saturday, 2nd week). Considered one of the
most effective anti-war plays ever written, it features some of
Euripides’ most heart-rending and harrowing scenes. The
production gives the play a new interpretation with its
Indo-African costumes, music and choreography; by this it is
immediately set apart from what one expects. If the play’s review in last week’s edition of the
Cherwell is to be believed, you should book tickets for this one
straight away. If you want to hear a talk about the play, there
are several, each one examining a different angle; check the
website for times. Other plays include The Three Little Wolves
and the Big Bad Pigat the Old Fire Station, and The Shield at the
Burton-Taylor in third week. As its name proclaims, Three Little
Wolves turn a well-known fairytale on its head, with hilarious
consequences. Kids and adults alike can enjoy watching abused
turn abuser. The Shield is another comedy, translated from
Menander’s play, which is not known to have been performed
in English before. On Sunday 9 (3rd week) at 2.30 at the Oxford Union there are
events concerning the long-running but newly-revived saga of the
Elgin Marbles. First is Parthenon Lost, written by Constantine
Sandis. It takes the form of a Socratic dialogue, and will
explore the questions surrounding the contentious issue, central
to which is “Should we return them?” After that is a
debate on the Marbles, in which Boris Johnson MP and Brian Sewell
will take part. Don’t miss the virtual reassembly of the
Parthenon Marbles, which will be there too. Further one-off
events include a mask workshop at the Playhouse (4pm, 7 May),
exploring the use of the mask in Greek performance. Despite the
promising name, there probably won’t be any making and
decorating of masks, just in case the primary school student in
you was hoping. The Iliadis being performed at New College (8pm,
10 May) but without a cast of thousands – try two men in
US-based Curio Productions’ adaptation. This is but a taster
however, there’s lots more – visit
www.oxfordgreekfestival.com for details on everything that’s
going on.ARCHIVE: 1st week TT 2004 

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