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Theatre

Preview: The Bacchae at The Centaur Theatre

Posted by Christine / October 5, 2012

20121005-Bacchae.jpeg Scapegoat Carnivale Theatre is proud to present Euripides' The Bacchae in a new translation from ancient Greek, as part of Centaur Theatre's Brave New Looks. The show opens Friday, October 12th and runs until the 20th of the month.

This dramatic tragedy, directed by Andreas Apergis, boasts a cast of Montreal's top performers including: Alex McCooeye as Dionysus, Brett Watson as Pentheus, France Rolland as Agave as well as Hugo Dann, Karl Graboshas, Jessica Hill, Greg Kramer and Paul Van Dyck.

Translators Joseph Shragge and Andreas Apergis are thrilled to offer this modern-English script, which closely resembles Euripides' original text.

"So much of The Bacchae's appeal comes from its strange eroticism and apocalyptic beauty," said Shragge.

First performed in 405 B.C. after his death in exile, The Bacchae is Euripides' last play and chef d'oeuvre.

"It's always difficult tackling these ancient tales," said McCooeye. "The play was written 2500 years ago, but still has a lasting relevance and can sustain itself with our modern sensibilities."

The Bacchae tells the story of the god Dionysus and his return to Thebes, a place where his mother's shrine burns eternally. The god of wine and revelry is there to avenge the slandering of his mother's name and his only obstacle is the young King Pentheus. Pentheus denies Dionysus' authority as a deity, imprisoning anyone who participates in his rites.

While the tension between god and king seems otherworldly, playing with both psychosexual and metaphysical themes, it is in essence a testament to long-standing values of family pride, loyalty and love. This engaging tale swells to a tragic note, making it truly unforgettable.

"We've used a great number of analogies in discussing Dionysus. He can be perceived as the heartless villain but it isn't a Marvel comic, tie you to the train tracks kind of villain," said McCooeye. "A lot of productions of this play have really camped up the Dionysus performance. Myself, as well as the translators Joseph Shragg and Andreas Apergis were interested in keeping him as grounded and driven as possible."

Brian Lipson's compositions draw from the American Hymnal tradition and will be brought to life by Scapegoat's musical director David Oppenheim as well as singers Jessica Hill, Holly Gauthier-Frankel, Melissa Trottier, Gitanjali Jain and Delphine Bienvenue, and choreographer Leslie Baker.

"Hymns often take the form of call-and-response between the preacher and the congregation. This energetic, intense music fits perfectly into the world of The Bacchae, with its themes of religious fervour and ecstasy," said Oppenheim. "Our composer, Brian Lipson, has infused traditional hymns with a modern sensibility, resulting in truly unique music that's complex but accessible."

Set design by Francis Farley, costume design by Susana Vera, lighting design by Erwann Bernard and sound design by Peter Cerone.

There will be eight shows of The Bacchae, all at 8:30 p.m. except for Sunday, October 14th at 7:30 p.m. and a matinee Tuesday, October 16th at 1:00 p.m.

Regular entry is $25. $18 for students, seniors, and Centaur subscribers. $15 for groups.

The Centaur Theatre is located at 453 St François-Xavier.

To make reservations call: 514-288-3161

More information here.

You may access the facebook event here.

Official press release image.

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