About the Dionysia
Each Spring, the Center for Creative Work (CCW) produces and performs an original translation of Greek tragedy or comedy during the traditional festival time for the Athenian City Dionysia. Directors, choreographers, costumers, musicians, and actors from the Honors College and the Houston community combine to create a performance steeped in research and creative development. The future of the Dionysia lies in its ability not only to bring together the UH community, but also to reach out to the city of Houston through performances and conferences.
The Center for Creative Work presented an adaptation of Homer's classic tale of war and suffering, the Iliad, entitled Ilium. Jen Sommers of the School of Theatre and Dance choreographer and director collaborated with music composed and conducted by Moores School of Music vocal performance major Alyssa Weathersby.
Dr. Harvery's modern adaptation of Aristophanes' The Frogs mixes ancient figures with modern issues as the god Dionysus and his slave, Xanthias, try to find a way to save the corrupted and bankrupt modern Greece from falling into the control of foreign nations. Dionysus decides that only a poet can save Greece from its fall and thus decides to plumb the depths of Hades to find Euripides. However a battle of wits and weighing of lines occurs as Aeschylus, crowned the "The Best Tragic Poet" in Hades, and Euripides fight for another chance at life. Aaron Landsman (City Council Meeting) directed this black comedy that features both amateur and professional actors from the University of Houston and in the Houston community.
Aeschylus' Agamemnon was the play for the 2011 Dionysia events. Center for Creative Work students and actors from the community produced the new translation (by Dr. John Harvey) of this bloody, intense play. Dionysia 2011 also expanded into the community with Klytamnestra: The Original Subversive Female a world premiere opera dance theater based on the Dr. Harvey's characters and translation, at Divergence Vocal Theater and Brandy Holmes' Yes, Cassandra at the Interstate Fringe Festival in New Orleans. More about Dionysia 2011
The CCW expanded the Dionysia in 2010 to include a scholars' conference, a talk-back with the cast and directors, an Ekphrastic Art exhibit, and a closing reception in addition to the pre-show Agora and original production of Dionysia 2009. Drs. Armstrong and Harvey created a new translation of Sophocles' Electra, which the CCW staged using a mix of student and professional actors. Katelyn Halpern choreographed the show and Elliot Cole composed original music.
- Download the Dionysia 2010 poster
- View the schedule for "Electra: A Theatre Scholars' Conference on Translation and Production"
- Watch the video-diary of Electra
- Hear a profcast on Electra
Dionysia & SURF 2009
The Office of Undergraduate Research funded a 2009 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) for Katelyn Halpern to research the English translations of the three Electra plays: Sophocles' Electra, Euripides' Electra, and Aeschylus' The Libation Bearers. The research poster was presented at Undergraduate Research Day on October 1, 2009, at 4 p.m., in the Rockwell Pavilion.
The CCW inaugurated the Dionysia in 2009 with the production of Euripides’ The Children of Herakles. This little-known play, performed in a new translation by Dr. John Harvey with Dr. Richard Armstrong, explores the role of the City as a protector of the weak. The CCW's production featured original contemporary choreography by Katelyn Halpern, a new musical score by Richard Power, and a pre-show Agora that brought together performers and audience members in a marketplace of art, literature, and philosophy.
Back to Dionysia