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Phaedra

  • Nov 27, 1998 - Jan 14, 1999

  • Loeb Drama Center

  • Run Time: 90 minutes with no intermission

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Racine’s doomed heroine—the legendary Queen of Athens—faces an impossible dilemma: yield to forbidden lust for a boy half her age, or preserve her honor and drown in overwhelming, unfulfilled passion. Neither entirely guilty nor absolutely innocent, Phaedra is trapped in a labyrinth of betrayal and desire that confounds easy moral judgment.

SYNOPSIS

Driven into deep despair, Phaedra confesses to her nurse Enone that she is in love with her stepson, Hippolytus. Word arrives that her long-absent husband, Theseus, king of Athens, has died, and Phaedra reveals her love to Hippolytus. Horrified by her admission, Hippolytus spurns Phaedra. Theseus unexpectedly returns. Fearing Hippolytus will seek retribution against her mistress, Enone secures permission from Phaedra to accuse Hippolytus of raping his stepmother. When confronted by his father Hippolytus denies the charges, but he reveals his own transgression in the form of his love for the captive princess, Aricia. Theseus banishes Hippolytus and calls on Neptune to punish his son. Phaedra wants to clear Hippolytus’s name, but she is sent into a jealous frenzy when she hears that he loves Aricia. After Hippolytus dies in a confrontation with a sea monster sent by Neptune, Phaedra poisons herself. Before dying she confesses her guilt to Theseus.

Credits

Creative team

by

Jean Racine

Translated and adapted by

Paul Schmidt

Translated and adapted by

Paul Schmidt

The late Paul Schmidt (Uncle Vanya translator), whose translations and/or adaptations of Phaedra, The Bacchae and In the Jungle of Cities were staged at the American Repertory Theater in past seasons, was one of the most influential critics, translators, and playwrights of his time. His translations, including plays by Chekhov, Gogol, Genet, Brecht, and Marivaux, have been produced by such directors as Robert Wilson, JoAnne Akalaitis, and Peter Sellars and have won awards in France, Italy, and the United States. His plays have been performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Thalia Theatre in Hamburg, and the Institute for Contemporary Art in London. Dr. Schmidt, who held a Ph.D. in Slavic Literature from Harvard, was a Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Texas and at Wellesley College. He also taught at Harvard, Cornell, and Yale and lectured widely in the United States and abroad. His critical essays appeared in The Nation, The New York Review of Books, and Delos. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, Dr. Schmidt was the author of Meyerhold at Work, and editor of The Complete Works of Arthur Rimbaud and The Collected Works of Velimir Khlebnikov. His collected translations of Chekhov's plays were published in 1997.

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Directed by

Liz Diamond

Directed by

Liz Diamond

Liz Diamond (director of Phaedra) is resident director of Yale Repertory Theatre, where she has staged The Cure at Troy, The Skin of Our Teeth, Mrs. Warren's Profession, School for Wives, and The America Play (also at the Joseph Papp Public Theater), among others. Other credits include Julius Caesar at Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Hypothesis at LaMama, and Imperceptible Mutabilities in the Third Kingdom at BACA Downtown. Her productions have won several Obie and Connecticut Critics Circle awards. Ms. Diamond has served as artistic associate of the Women's Project and as resident director of New Dramatists in New York, and she is on the faculty of the Yale School of Drama.

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Set design by

Riccardo Hernandez

Riccardo Hernandez

Set design by

Riccardo Hernandez

A.R.T.: Over twenty productions, including most recently, Jagged Little PillThe White Card, Arrabal, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess, Prometheus Bound, Best of Both Worlds, The Seagull, Julius Caesar, Britannicus, and Marat/Sade. Broadway: Indecent, The Gin Game; The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess; The People in the Picture; Caroline, or Change, National Theatre London; Elaine Stritch: At Liberty, Old Vic; Topdog/Underdog, Royal Court; Bells Are Ringing; Parade (directed by Hal Prince, Tony, Drama Desk nominations); Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk, The Tempest. Recent productions include: The Skin of Our Teeth, TFANA; The Invisible Hand (Henry Hewes Design Award); Red Speedo (Drama Desk Nomination); Grounded (directed by Julie Taymor). International: Théâtre du Châtelet, Avignon (Cour d’honneur Palais des Papes); Oslo, National Theatre; Abbey Theatre. Recipient, Obie Award for Sustained Excellence in Design. Hernandez is on the faculty at Yale School of Drama.

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Costume design by

Catherine Zuber

Costume design by

Catherine Zuber

Catherine Zuber has created the costumes for Richard II, The Doctor's Dilemma, and over forty other A.R.T. productions including Three Farces and a Funeral, Antigone, Loot, The Idiots Karamazov, Ivanov, Phaedra, The Merchant of Venice, Valparaiso, The Imaginary Invalid, The Taming of the Shrew, Peter Pan and Wendy, The Bacchae, Man and Superman, The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, Woyzeck, The Wild Duck, The Naked Eye, Long Day's Journey Into Night, Tartuffe, Ubu Rock, Waiting for Godot, The Oresteia, Shlemiel the First, Picasso at the Lapin Agile, A Touch of the Poet, What the Butler Saw, The Cherry Orchard, and Orphée. Ms. Zuber's credits include work at Lincoln Center, The Joseph Papp Public Theater, Goodman Theatre, The Guthrie Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, La Jolla Playhouse, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Houston Grand Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera, among others. Her Broadway credits include The Triumph of Love (Connecticut Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk nomination), Ivanov (Drama Desk nomination), The Sound of Music, Twelfth Night, The Red Shoes, London Assurance, The Rose Tattoo, and Philadelphia Here I Come. Ms. Zuber was the recipient of the 1997 Obie Award for sustained achievement in design. She is the costume designer for La Fête des Vignerons de 1999, the massive Festival of the Winegrowers in Vevey, Switzerland.

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Lighting design by

Michael Chybowski

Lighting design by

Michael Chybowski

Lighting designer, Lady with a Lapdog. The American Repertory Theater's resident lighting designer (1997–2001). AntigoneFull Circle, Loot, The Idiots Karamazov, The Master Builder, Phaedra, The Bacchae, In the Jungle of Cities, The Taming of the Shrew, The Imaginary Invalid, and The Wild Duck at the A.R.T. Other: Moby Dick and Other Stories with Laurie Anderson, The Grey Zone (Long Wharf Theatre), Andrei Belgrader's production of Waiting for Godot (Classic Stage Company), Cymbeline (New York Shakespeare Festival, Delacorte Theatre), Playboy of the Western World (Steppenwolf Theatre), and the original production of Wit. For the Mark Morris Dance Group, he has designed over thirty dances, including Four Saints in Three Acts for English National Opera and Falling Down Stairs, which toured the U.S. with cellist Yo Yo Ma. Nominated for an American Theatre Wing design award for his lighting of David Rabe's A Question of Mercy and also for The Grey Zone by Tim Blake Nelson. Received a 1999 Obie Award for Sustained Excellence, the American Theatre Wing Design Award, and the Lucille Lortel Award for 1999.

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Sound design and original music by

Christopher Walker

Sound design and original music by

Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker has composed music and designed sound for We Won't Pay! We Won't Pay!, Phaedra, Beckett Trio: Eh Joe, Ghost Trio, and Nacht und Traüme, and An Evening of Beckett, and designed sound for The King Stag, Loot, The Idiots Karamazov, Ivanov, The Cripple of Inishmaan, Charlie in the House of Rue, The Merchant of Venice, Valparaiso, The Taming of the Shrew, The Bacchae, The Wild Duck, Woyzeck, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Wild Duck, Alice in Bed, Slaughter City, Buried Child, Ubu Rock, The Threepenny Opera, The Accident, Demons, Waiting for Godot, The Oresteia, Hot 'n' Throbbing, The America Play, A Touch of the Poet, The Cherry Orchard, What the Butler Saw, and Those the River Keeps at the A.R.T. Previously he composed music and designed sound for productions at the Intiman Theatre, the Bathhouse Theatre, and the Alice B. Theatre. He also scores for dance and has composed for the Allegro Dance Festival, the Bumbershoot Festival, and On The Boards.

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Theseus, son of Aegeas and king of Athens Jonathan Epstein
Phaedra, wife of Theseus, daughter of Minos and Pasiphae Randy Danson
Hyppolytus, son of Theseus and Antiope, queen of the Amazons Benjamin Evett
Aricia, princess of the royal blood of Athens Caroline Hall
Enone, nurse of Phaedra Karen MacDonald
Theramenes, tutor of Hyppolytus Stephen Rowe
Ismene, friend of Aricia Kelly Mizell
Panope, waiting-woman of Phaedra Emily Vail