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Saturday, September 23, 2023


Ancient Greece comes to UH

The Honors College and the UH Center for Creative Work’s presentation of Dionysia brings the tastes, philosophies and performances of ancient Greece to life today in the Dudley Recital Hall, Fine Arts Building.

The show will feature a marketplace of ideas called an ‘Agora,’ which will consist of wine tasting, circus performers, a philosopher’s book fair, Greek drama and Greek food.

The event starts at 4:30 p.m. and admission is free. Dionysia will continue at 6 p.m. Thursday in The Honors College Commons with wine and discussion. It will conclude with an encore performance of Euripides’ The Children of Herakles as translated by The Honors College Artist in Residence John Harvey and Richard Armstrong, UH modern and classical languages associate professor.

UH Center for Creative Work is devoted to developing a curriculum for studies in art, dance, theatre, film, music and creative writing.

Dionysia is one fulfillment of this curriculum for the students participating in the play.’

‘I think it’s [the play] has been really successful overall,’ said Katelyn Halpern, hotel and restaurant management senior and choreographer and co-director of Dionysia.

Ancient Greek theater consisted of a chorus that narrated stories with dance and song.

Harvey said that Dionysia will be a return to Greek drama with a modern twist of Halpern’s choreography.

‘The chorus, apart from the individual work, has been really fundamental because you are the individual. Although your voices aren’t doing the same thing, and you are moving as one unit, you have to agree to start or else it will completely fall apart,’ performer Juliet Childers said.

All the characters will be members of the chorus and then step away from the chorus for their individual parts.

The characters will perform with both their minds and their bodies.

‘There is a strong connection between ancient Greek theater and modern choreography. They meet up together. For this to happen, our students and a graduate from Rice University had to work together as a group,’ said Harvey, who also co-directed the performance.

At Dionysia, Harvey and Armstrong’s translation of the The Children of Herakles will show the children of heroic Herakles seek refuge and finally find acceptance in the city of Athens.

‘Athens is really the character with a lot at stake that drives the dramatic action,’ Rice graduate student and performer Elliot Cole said. ‘All of the characters inside are important, but the question is whether the city will maintain its high ideals – which are due process of law, piety to the Gods, protection of refugees – in the face of an enemy who does not have the same ideals.

‘So it’s really our familiar question of how do you fight evil without becoming evil? How do you fight a brute without becoming a brute yourself? And with that story, it’s kind of a familiar story that we can all kind of relate to.’

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