As some of you know, I’ve been in the chorus of the Cambridge Greek Play a couple of times – in Agamemnon in 2010 and in Prometheus/Frogs 2013. I’ve also written before about putting together the Cambridge Greek Play online archive, which I did in the summer of 2015. This year, I had the unique experience of being a co-producer, but having no idea what was going to happen when the actors walked out on stage.
I was around for some of the initial meetings; I organised the auditions for the cast and the interviews for the crew, so I’d met a few of the people involved; I helped organise accommodation for the cast; I went to meetings with the Arts Theatre. I even saw a little bit of the early R&D in March. But because I moved to Exeter just as the main rehearsal period was beginning, I knew very little about what the final production would be like. As I sat down in theatre – surrounded by the cast of 2010, the cast of 2013 and most of Cambridge Classics Faculty – I actually felt really nervous.
I shouldn’t have been worried. The production was absolutely stellar. Evie Butcher was a moving and heartfelt Antigone, and the relationship that she and Kaiti Soultana (Ismene) had was deeply poignant, even in the very first scene. The chorus were phenomenal, particularly in how they changed in tone over the production, slowly drawing back from supporting Creon, but still unable to look Antigone in the eye as she was carried to her death. After the interval, Natasha Cutler played a strong, sexy, authoritative Lysistrata, with a group of mismatched and lively women around her – Myrrhine’s disappearing act was one of my favourite moments.
I am immensely proud of everyone in the cast and crew, and blown away by what they achieved. I have heard nothing but positives from everyone who went to see it, and comments like “this made me completely re-think the role of the chorus in Greek drama” (genuine tweet from a happy audience member) just underline for me why we do this whole thing. (Check out the twitter love @camgreekplay.)
Below is a list of some of my favourite reviews and blogs about the show:
Lysistrata – a view from the surtitle box, by Michael Loy
The Cambridge Greek Play 2016, by Anna Judson
Review: The Cambridge Greek Play 2016, by Frances Myatt for Varsity
Review: The Cambridge Greek Play 2016, by Emily Hinks
The Cambridge Greek Play 2016, by Liz Gloyn
Rehearsal Photos by Anna Watson
My parting words at the after-show party – “See you all in 2019!” – were met with some howls of horror and some knowing grins. I’m sure lots of people can’t imagine going through all of that again in a few year’s time. But I’m sure lots of us will be back again – the Greek Play never quite lets you leave.
Please check out the materials for this show on the Greek Play website. You can also watch the 2013 performances of Prometheus and Frogs in full on YouTube. Eventually there will also be recordings of Antigone and Lysistrata freely available too – I will keep you posted!