The Classics Take Centerstage: Theatrical Adaptations of Ancient Histories and Myths(Panel)
Charles East (Columbia University)
In celebration of the off-Broadway début of The Tyrannicides, the first ever full theatrical adaptation of the story as told in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War, this roundtable calls for a discussion of theatrical and cinematic (re)tellings of classical histories and myths. As The Tyrannicides makes its audience confront the tragic events that eventually led to the foundation of democracy in the West, a larger history set against a more personal story of romance that dissects homoeroticism and pederasty in ancient Greece, the works in discussion at this roundtable will highlight the enduring relevance of these classical stories to the contemporary circumstances of our present — be it for their social, historical, cultural, or other significance. With a very open definition of what counts as “classical” and “modern,” this roundtable welcomes proposals from scholars who come from a variety of backgrounds and who work with various canons (i.e. both classicists who work primarily with the original tellings of these stories and modernists whose expertise lies more in their (re)tellings). Preference will be given to proposals that highlight specifically some aspect of enduring relevance that make their proposed history’s retelling and commentaries pertinent in debates ongoing in contemporary society. Nonetheless, proposals might also treat the very act of adaption, focusing on the shift in cultural norms from antiquity to the present and the particular challenges of reframing those stories for a contemporary audience.