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"[E]xplains how Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles conceived their works in performance and then summarizes everything we know about how their tragedies were actually staged.... [T]ackles the six major problems facing any company performing these works today: the staging space and concept of the play; the use of the chorus; the actor's role in an unfamiliar style of performance; the place of politics in tragedy; the question of translation; and the treatment of gods, monsters, and other strange characters of the ancient world."--From publisher description.
Written by one of the best-known interpreters of classical literature today, Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy presents a revolutionary take on the work of this great classical playwright and on how our understanding of tragedy has been shaped by our literary past. Simon Goldhill sheds new light on Sophocles' distinctive brilliance as a dramatist, illuminating such aspects of his work as his manipulation of irony, his construction of dialogue, and his deployment of the actors and the chorus. Goldhill also investigates how nineteenth-century critics like Hegel, Nietzsche, and Wagner developed a specific understanding of tragedy, one that has shaped our current approach to the genre. Finally, Goldhill addresses one of the foundational questions of literary criticism: how historically self-conscious should a reading of Greek tragedy be? The result is an invigorating and exciting new interpretation of the most canonical of Western authors.
“We can begin with a kiss, though this will not turn out to be a love story, at least not a love story of anything like the usual kind.” So begins A Very Queer Family Indeed, which introduces us to the extraordinary Benson family. Edward White Benson became Archbishop of Canterbury at the height of Queen Victoria’s reign, while his wife, Mary, was renowned for her wit and charm—the prime minister once wondered whether she was “the cleverest woman in England or in Europe.” The couple’s six precocious children included E. F. Benson, celebrated creator of the Mapp and Lucia novels, and Margaret Benson, the first published female Egyptologist. What interests Simon Goldhill most, however, is what went on behind the scenes, which was even more unusual than anyone could imagine. Inveterate writers, the Benson family spun out novels, essays, and thousands of letters that open stunning new perspectives—including what it might mean for an adult to kiss and propose marriage to a twelve-year-old girl, how religion in a family could support or destroy relationships, or how the death of a child could be celebrated. No other family has left such detailed records about their most intimate moments, and in these remarkable accounts, we see how family life and a family’s understanding of itself took shape during a time when psychoanalysis, scientific and historical challenges to religion, and new ways of thinking about society were developing. This is the story of the Bensons, but it is also more than that—it is the story of how society transitioned from the high Victorian period into modernity.
This book contains essays by international experts on Sophocles, asking why he matters, and why he is still read and performed today. His seven surviving tragedies are discussed from a variety of perspectives. A picture emerges of Sophocles' place at the foundations of the tragic tradition and in its perpetual refashioning and renewal.
This book is an advanced critical introduction to Greek tragedy. It is written specifically for the reader who does not know Greek and who may be unfamiliar with the context of the Athenian drama festival but who nevertheless wants to appreciate the plays in all their complexity. Simon Goldhill aims to combine the best contemporary scholarly criticism in classics with a wide knowledge of modern literary studies in other fields. He discusses the masterpieces of Athenian drama in the light of contemporary critical controversies in such a way as to enable the student or scholar not only to understand and appreciate the texts of the most commonly read plays, but also to evaluate and utilize the range of approaches to the problems of ancient drama.
This book offers a provocative and groundbreaking re-appraisal of the demands of acting ancient tragedy, informed by cutting-edge scholarship in the fields of actor training, theatre history, and classical reception. Its interdisciplinary reach means that it is uniquely positioned to identify, interrogate, and de-mystify the clichés which cluster around Greek tragedy, giving acting students, teachers, and theatre-makers the chance to access a vital range of current debates, and modelling ways in which an enhanced understanding of this material can serve as the stimulus for new experiments in the studio or rehearsal room. Two theoretical chapters contend that Aristotelian readings of tragedy, especially when combined with elements of Stanislavski’s (early) actor-training practice, can actually prevent actors from interacting productively with ancient plays and practices. The four chapters which follow (Acting Sound, Acting Myth, Acting Space, and Acting Chorus) examine specific challenges in detail, combining historical summaries with a survey of key modern practitioners, and a sequence of practical exercises.
Oliver Taplin's seminal study was revolutionary in drawing out the significance of stage action in Greek tragedy at a time when plays were often read purely as texts, rather than understood as performances. Professor Taplin explores nine plays, including Aeschylus' agamemnon and Sophocles' Oedipus the King. The details of theatrical techniques and stage directions, used by playwrights to highlight key moments, are drawn out and related to the meaning of each play as a whole. With extensive translated quotations, the essential unity of action and speech in Greek tragedy is demonstrated. Now firmly established as a classic text, Greek Tragedy in Action is even more relevant today, when performances of Greek tragedies and plays inspired by them have had such an extraordinary revival around the world.

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