archives

Aristophanes

This tag is associated with 4 posts

The Clouds (BBC / The Open University, 1971)

Owing to the characteristically multidisciplinary nature of the The Open University curriculum, plays had been an important part of the very first OU courses in 1971. Take the very first iteration of the Arts Foundation course (A100, which ran 1971-77), the aim of which was to introduce several thousand new students each year to university-level study across a range of subject areas, including art, civilization, culture, drama, history, literature, music, philosophy and poetry. The study resources for ‘Which was Socrates?’, two A100 units on the ancient Greek philosopher which were focused on the extant literary sources upon which a picture of the historical Socrates may be built, included a twenty-five minute television production of scenes from Aristophanes’ ancient Greek comedy Clouds (first performed in 423 BC), a play in which Socrates appears as a character. Continue reading

Greek plays: Lysistrata redux (BBC, 1964)

Although it now seems very likely that no recording of the 1964 BBC production of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata (about which I first blogged a couple of months ago) exists, I have recently come across a copy of the camera script in the Written Archives Centre. The script, based on Patric Dickinson’s translation of the play, informs us that despite the production’s opening shot of a mushroom cloud over the Acropolis this was no political modernization of what is commonly understood to be a feminist and anti-war play. One striking thing about the script is how much sexually explicit reference from the original play is left in, most of which refers to the men’s painfully aroused state, which poses interesting questions about how this may (or much more likely may not) have been represented visually. Even if the production accommodated an awkward tension between what was said and what was seen, the verbal references alone, passim, would surely have been sufficient to attract the attention of Mary Whitehouse who was just at this point beginning her long campaign to Clean Up TV. Continue reading

Greek plays: Lysistrata (BBC, 1964)

My recent foray to the BBC Written Archives Centre to consult materials for my Greeks on screen case study led to the discovery that only two production files were extant for my list of around ten BBC television productions of Greek plays. The two productions for which these (fairly substantial) production files exist are the 1958 Euripidean tragedy Women of Troy and the 1964 Aristophanic comedy Lysistrata. In my last post, I wrote about Women of Troy, and today I tackle Lysistrata. Continue reading

Greeks on screen

One of my first research areas is going to be the production of Greek plays on British television from the 1950s, when the first Greek play appears to have been televised. The first well documented broadcast is a 1958 BBC World Theatre production of Women of Troy. I’ll say much more about Women of Troy in one of my next blog posts. Today my aim is to offer a taster of the range of productions of Greek drama on British television across the half century from the 1950s. Continue reading