Ancient Greece – The Birthplace of Western Theatre
In commemorating the spirit of Dionysus, the god of theatre, our homage commences in Greece, the birthplace of Western theatre, where we have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of seeing Greek tragedy in a Greek amphitheatre! Furthermore we explore many of the iconic sites associated with the timeless Ancient Greek texts: Odysseus’ Palace on the island of Ithaca; Delphi, where Oedipus and so many other characters received divine interventions; Agamemnon’s Palace at Mycenae; Ancient Corinth, and idyllic Ancient Epidavros. In short, we contextualise the ancient land and seascapes that gave rise to the impulses of Homer, Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. It’s as if the ancient stones speak to us. And most importantly, Act 1 also includes a visit to the Theatre of Dionysus on the Acropolis and 5 productions from the Athens & Epidaurus Festival – a perfect start to seeing the world and seeing world theatre.
10 days in Greece including:
- 6 nights in Athens
- 1 night of seaside indulgence in rural Epidavros
- 3 nights of Odyssean intrigue on the Island of Ithaca
- 5 productions from the Athens & Epidaurus Festival
- 6 guided tours to Ancient sites: The Acropolis (including the Theatre of Dionysis and the Odeon of Herodes Atticus); The Acropolis Museum; The Theatre Museum and the National Theatre of Greece; Delphi and the Theatre of Apollo; Corinth; Mycenae; Nafplio; The Ancient Theatre, The Little Ancient Theatre and Asclepeios’ Healing Sanctuary at Epidavros; Homer’s Walk to The School of Homer and the Palace of Odysseus.
Act 1 Scene 1: Ancient Greece – The Birthplace of Western Theatre
The Setting: Athens & Epidaurus Festival
The Athens & Epidaurus Festival offers a beguiling variety of theatre, dance, visual art and music. For the theatre lover, productions can range from Ancient Greek texts to contemporary and experimental offerings, as well as European classics by writers such as Schiller, Shakespeare, Moliere, Ibsen, Ionesco and more. The productions are quite remarkable. While most works are presented in Greek, in some instances they are performed in their original language with Greek surtitles.
For us, as English speaking theatre lovers, we will be joining the minority of theatre enthusiasts who even consider seeing a play presented in a foreign language. In order to derive the greatest pleasure from the plays, for those of us who can’t speak Greek, we will play-read and familiarize ourselves with the text in English beforehand. In some instances it will even be possible to have English e-versions of the text for mobile devices that we can actually take to the theatre with us.
Act 1 Scene 2: Into the Depths of the Ancient Landscape
The Setting: The Majestic Peloponnese Mountains
Away from the summer heat and busy-ness of urban Athens we traverse modern day suburbs (developed over historic locations such as Thebes and Eleusis) into the relative cool of the Peloponnese Mountains. At Mount Parnassus we visit the archeological site of Delphi and the Theatre of Apollo – God of music, sun and light, truth and prophecy, healing, oracles, art, poetry, knowledge and more!
With The Delphic Oracle so often referenced in Greek tragedy, this excursion provides the perfect context for Greek texts such as Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus; Aeschylus’ The Eumenides; Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis and Aeschylus’ Agamemnon.
Our continuing explorations into this ancient landscape and the historic sites at Corinth, Nafplio, Epidavros and Agamemnon’s Palace at Mycenae, further enhances our appreciation of the significance of place in ancient texts and re-ignites our sense of wonder at Ancient Greek achievement.
Act 1 Scene 3: Ithaca – A Metaphorical Homecoming
The Setting: The Island of Ithaca
For lovers of Ancient Greece, the island of Ithaca can indeed represent a metaphorical homecoming. Homer’s epic tale of Odysseus’ fantastical wanderings and Penelope’s unerring faithfulness are indelibly etched into the Western psyche, and a ‘return’ to Ithaca is something very few non-Ithacans experience.