Seen on the Classicists list:
In June 2012 BFI Southbank are showing a season of screenings of rarely
before seen British television productions of Greek plays and on 22 June an
associated symposium on the theme of Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen will
be held at the University of Westminster.
The BFI season of nine Greek tragedies plus one quasi-satyr play illuminates
the richly interesting variety of ways that British television has
experimented with capturing the force of ancient plays on the small screen
from the late 1950s to 1990. In association with the screenings, there will
be a panel discussion at the BFI with actor and director Fiona Shaw and
Classics scholar Professor Oliver Taplin. Among many other riches, the
season includes a modern Greek Sophocles’ Electra, shown (astonishingly) on
ITV without subtitles in 1962, Patrick Stewart as a half-masked Oedipus in a
1977 Open University production of Oedipus Tyrannus, the three parts of
Peter Hall’s Oresteia trilogy as shown on Channel 4 in 1983 and Fiona Shaw
as a magisterial Clytemnestra in the 1990 BBC Iphigenia at Aulis. For the
full details of the season, which has been curated by Amanda Wrigley, and
online booking facility
(n.b. Booking has been open for just a few days and seats are going fast!)
The associated symposium at the University of Westminster will draw together
the emerging strands of the season of screenings at the BFI through a series
of talks. The symposium will also feature an interview with a practitioner
and a screening of a previously unseen early 1960s BBC Schools programme on
Greek tragedy. The registration fee for the symposium is £5. For a
registration form and instructions please email amandawrigley AT gmail.com.
Dr Lynn Fotheringham of the University of Nottingham who will talk about
issues of authenticity and historicity in the production of Greek tragedies
for television, focusing particularly on the last major production of Greek
tragedy to have been transmitted on British television – Don
Taylor’s Iphigenia at Aulis production of 1990.
Professor Lorna Hardwick of The Open University will talk about the use of
television transmissions for the teaching of drama by The Open University
and how this has developed and changed from 1971 to the present, drawing on
her personal experience working in the Department of Classical Studies
during some of this period.
Dr Tony Keen of The Open University will discuss the extent to which The
Serpent Son, the BBC’s Oresteia trilogy of 1979, had a science fiction
aesthetic. This production of the three plays of Aeschylus featured costumes
designed by Barbara Kidd, who was feted for her work on Doctor Who.
Professor Oliver Taplin of the University of Oxford will offer his thoughts
on the two stage productions of Greek tragedy to have been ‘translated’ to
the television medium: the 1962 ITV production of the Peireikon Theatron
production of Sophocles’ Electra – given in modern Greek, without subtitles!
– and Channel 4’s 1983 version of the 1981 National
Theatre Oresteia trilogy, directed by Peter Hall, on which Professor Taplin
served as academic advisor.
Dr Amanda Wrigley of the University of Westminster will talk about
television’s creative and technological responses to the performance styles
and dramatic conventions of 5th-century Athens, and specifically how ancient
Greek imaginative and performative spaces were constructed in the television
studio with a focus on Alan Bridges’ ‘inside-out’ production of King
Oedipus for the BBC in 1972.