ancient actors
Greek Tragedy: Final Project
image from Medea: The Musical

General Instructions: These papers should be typed or word processed; they should be clearly and grammatically written and proofread. You may wish to accompany the letters by drawings, sketches, photos, etc. but this is not required. Give these papers to the faculty secretary (Castle basement), who will collect them for me in a special envelope, no later than 4:00 pm on December 23. Do not leave these papers in my office or campus mailbox.

Description of Project: Choose one of the plays studied in the course that you think would be particularly appealing and meaningful to a modern audience. Take the role of producer of a contemporary performance of this play, assuming that money is no object. On December 23, submit a packet of materials about your production, including the following items:

  1. a letter wooing financial backers for your production, explaining why you have chosen this particular play and dealing with such matters as theme and universal meaning. Explain your overall vision for this production and why you think this way of presenting the play will be especially attractive and meaningful for today's audiences.
  2. instructions to the casting supervisor suggesting possible actors (since this is an imaginative exercise, death is no object—you may include both living and deceased actors). Justify your choice of each actor by analyzing the personality, motivations, and characterization of the role you wish him/her to play.
  3. instructions to the director on how to structure the play in order to bring out what you see as the major symbolism and themes of the play.
  4. instructions to the stage manager regarding staging of the play, including the set, the costumes, and any special effects.
  5. a letter to the advertising agency with suggestions on how to publicize the play, stressing its appeal for modern audiences.

There is no maximum limit on the number of pages for this project, but you will need at least 5 single-spaced typed pages to fulfill the assignment, and I would expect that some of your letters or instruction sheets will be longer than one page.

Some Useful Links: two articles speculating about the reasons why Greek tragedies still appeal to modern audiences, and some contemporary productions of Greek tragedies:

December, 1999
Barbara F. McManus
CLS267 Syllabus