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The Bacchae

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One of the greatest of all Greek dramas, The Bacchae powerfully dramatizes the conflict between the emotional and rational sides of the human psyche. When the people of Thebes deny the existence of the god Dionysos, he punishes them by unleashing the full force of female sexuality, thereby destroying social order and driving them to certain tragedy. By turns savage, comic, and intensely lyrical, The Bacchae, once a war cry for free love, is particularly poignant today in the aftermath of the sexual revolution. François Rochaix, who staged the complete trilogy The Oresteia two seasons ago, returns to bring Euripides’ finest and most provocative play to life.

SYNOPSIS

Dionysos, god of wine and theater, has arrived in his birthplace, the Greek city of Thebes. When he was born, his mother’s sisters refused to believe that he was the son of Zeus, and now he has returned to punish their blasphemy and prove his divinity.

Dionysos whips the Theban women into an orgiastic frenzy and leads them into the mountains, where they worship him with song and dance. Returning to the city, he confronts the young King of Thebes, his cousin Pentheus, who continues to deny the god’s existence, despite the warnings of his grandfather Kadmos and the seer Tiresias. Pentheus imprisons Dionysos, but the god escapes and, luring the king into the mountains to spy on the women’s ecstatic revels, enacts a terrible revenge on Pentheus and all the people of Thebes.

Credits

Creative team

by

Euripides

Translated by

Paul Schmidt

Translated 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

François Rochaix

Directed by

François Rochaix

Swiss theater and opera director François Rochaix is a former Associate Director of the A.R.T. and a former Director of the A.R.T./MXAT Institute for Advanced Theater Training. His directing work at the A.R.T. includes Antigone, The Bacchae, The Wild Duck, Tartuffe, and The Oresteia, as well as Michel Vinaver's Overboard, Agamemnon/The Libation Bearers, and other productions at the Institute. Mr. Rochaix has worked extensively in theaters and opera houses throughout Europe and the U.S. In 1963 he founded the Theatre de l'Atelier in Geneva, where he worked until 1975. He then became the General Director of the Theatre de Carouge through 1981, when he became a freelance director and began his work in opera. His opera credits include Turn of the Screw, Pellas et Mlisande, The Rake's Progress, and Dialogues des Carmelites at the Grand Theatre de Geneve; as well as productions at Scottish Opera, Opera North, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Washington Opera, and Seattle Opera, where his work includes Wagner's complete Ring cycle. Mr. Rochaix's theater credits include Ibsen's A Doll's House in Bergen, Norway; Henry IV Parts 1 & 2 in Geneva, Vitrac's Victor in Moscow, and a Swiss, Norwegian, American, and Russian co-production of The Oresteia in French and Norwegian, presented in Geneva in 1991. Mr. Rochaix served as Artistic Director of La Fête des Vignerons de 1999, the massive Festival of the Winegrowers in Switzerland.

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Set design by

Jean-Claude Maret

Set design by

Jean-Claude Maret

Jean-Claude Maret has been the set designer for François Rochaix's productions of The Bacchae and The Wild Duck at the American Repertory Theater. Mr. Maret lives and works in Geneva as a set designer and costume designer for theater and opera. Since 1967 he has collaborated regularly with Mr. Rochaix for numerous productions at the Grand Théâtre de Genève, including the operas Katya Kabanova, Nabucco, The Rake's Progress, Idomeneo, Death in Venice, and Pelleas and Melisande. Abroad they worked together on productions of The Wild Duck in Oslo, Norway; Carmen and The Meistersinger of Nurenberg for Seattle Opera; La Traviata for Opera North in England; When We Dead Awaken at the National Theatre, Strasbourg; and Tristan and Isolde in Lyon, France. Other works include Joyce's The Exiles for the Comédie Française; Hamlet, The Seagull, and Ghosts at Bergen's National Theatre; and Heiner Müller's Philoctète in Geneva. He has also designed for ballet and film, and is the designer of La Fête des Vignerons de 1999, the massive Festival of the Winegrowers in Switzerland.

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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 by

Christopher Walker

Sound design 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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Movement by

Richard Colton

Richard Colton performed with Twyla Tharp Dance from 1977 to 1988 and was a member of the Joffrey Ballet and American Ballet Theatre. He was a guest performer and teacher with the White Oak Dance Project, directed by Mikhail Baryshnikov, and has staged the works of Twyla Tharp for the Paris Opera Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and Twyla Tharp Dance, where he served as rehearsal director. Mr. Colton appeared in the films Hair and Amadeus, directed by Milos Foreman, the PBS Great Performances presentation of "The Catherine Wheel," and on Broadway in Singing in the Rain. Mr. Colton currently co-directs SPENCER/COLTON, a company of dancers and actors formed in 1989 to perform his work in collaboration with Amy Spencer. The company, based in Boston, has been presented by Jacobs Pillow, Boston Dance Umbrella, the American Repertory Theater Fall Festival, Harvard Summer Dance Performance Series, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, and New York's Dance Theater Workshop. Mr. Colton has choreographed the A.R.T. productions of The Cherry Orchard; Henry V; The Threepenny Opera, directed by Ron Daniels; and Ubu Rock, directed by Andrei Belgrader. Each year since 1989, in collaboration with Amy Spencer, he has created an original dance-theater work with the actors of the American Repertory Theater/Moscow Art Theater Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University. Mr. Colton has choreographed productions for Trinity Repertory Theatre, Boston Conservatory Dance Theatre, and the Boston Ballet. He is currently on the faculty of the Boston Conservatory and co-directs the dance program at Concord Academy.

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Movement by

Amy Spencer

Amy Spencer was a member of Twyla Tharp Dance from 1981 to 1988. During that time she worked on the films Amadeus, Zelig, and "The Catherine Wheel," and appeared on Broadway in Singing in the Rain. She was a collaborator and performer in Martha Clark's Vienna: Lusthaus and Miracolo d'amore at the Public Theater, and has been a guest artist with Pilobolus and the White Oak Dance Project, directed by Mikhail Baryshnikov. Ms. Spencer co-directs, creates work for, and performs in SPENCER/COLTON, a company of dancers and actors based in Boston. The company has been presented by Jacob's Pillow, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Dance Theater Workshop, Boston Dance Umbrella, and Harvard Summer Dance Center. She has choreographed productions for the American Repertory Theater, Trinity Repertory Theatre, and the Boston Ballet. Ms. Spencer has taught movement to actors at N.Y.U. through Playwrights Horizons and taught dance at Barnard College, Sarah Lawrence College and N.Y.U.'s Tisch School of the Arts.

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Chorus Leslie Beatty

Debora Cahn

Gin Hammond

Courtney Rackley

Rachel Warren

Chorus Leader Karen MacDonald
Messenger Dmetrius Conley-Williams
Agave Randy Danson
Kadmos Alvin Epstein
Pentheus Benjamin Evett
Dionysos Michael Edo Keane
Tiresias Will LeBow
Servant Robert Ross
Cowherd Stephen Rowe
Percussionist/Chorus Vessela Stoyanova

Tricia Williams