This week I was excited to see the release of the first film by new company Barefaced Greek – and even more excited to see that the film was the opening speech of Aeschylus’ Agamemnon.
In their own words, Barefaced Greek is “a new initiative to create digital educational resources for the study of Classics and the celebration of Classical Greek drama in performance. We produce exciting and accessible short-films using text from original Greek drama, for an international, online audience. Our aim is to invigorate the online presence of Classical drama and to inspire a love of the Greek world in the Youtube generation.”
Here’s their first film, starring Leon Scott as the watchman, directed by Helen Eastman and produced by Mairin O’Hagan. (You can turn on the English subtitles or, if you prefer, enjoy the Greek without.)
I love this choice of scene, because it brings back so many memories for me. Mairin and I were in the chorus of Helen’s 2010 version of Agamemnon. Here’s Mairin (furthest right) and me (fourth from right) in Agamemnon 2010, directed by Helen Eastman.
I remember so well the attention that Helen put into the opening scene, and the drama of the audience happening to find the watchman on the night that the Trojan War finally ends. His boredom and irritation (and midnight sandwich break) turn so quickly to unbelieving joy – and I think this new version captures that perfectly.
But more than anything else, I love the idea of making high-quality films like this to support learners of Greek. Tragedies are supposed to be performed and watched – reading the words on the page never gives you the full experience. The more immersive our relationship with the text can be, the better.
You can read more about the Cambridge Greek Play’s 2010 version of Agamemnon over here, and you can (and should!) find out more about Barefaced Greek and their upcoming projects on their website or on twitter.