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Sophocles

This tag is associated with 11 posts

End of part one

Were it not for unforeseen circumstances, today would have marked the halfway point of the Screen Plays research project. We are at the end of the eighteenth month of what was originally a three-year project. But thrillingly my colleague on the project Dr Amanda Wrigley is pregnant with twins, who are due in the middle of February, and so the project will be extended into early 2015. To mark this moment, I thought it might be interesting to detail which of the 150 previous posts have proved to be the most popular with readers. Continue reading

Classics on TV: BFI Southbank programme, 13 June 2012

Tonight sees the second programme in the five-night Screen Plays season Classics on TV: Greek Tragedy on the Small Screen at BFI Southbank. A few tickets are still available for the 6.15pm showing which features Electra (Associated-Rediffusion for ITV, 1962) and Women of Troy (BBC, 1958), followed by a panel discussion with actor and director Fiona Shaw and classical scholar Oliver Taplin of the University of Oxford. You can book via the BFI website. Following the first screening on 7 June we tried an experiment, inviting anyone who was at the screening to contribute their thoughts about the programme on this blog. That experiment was really successful, and so we will continue it for further screenings. Any and all responses would be welcome, however brief – and John Wyver and I will also be offering some further thoughts. Continue reading

Greek plays: Antigone, part 3 of The Theban Plays (BBC, 1986)

This is the last of three posts on The Theban Plays, a trilogy of Sophocles’ tragedies Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone, directed by Don Taylor, which was broadcast on BBC2 over three evenings of one week in September 1986 (and all three are available on YouTube). Antigone is by some degree the most successful production of the three, with strong performances throughout and a thoughtfully designed set which works dynamically with the director’s interpretation of the play. Continue reading

Greek plays: Oedipus at Colonus, part 2 of The Theban Plays (BBC, 1986)

This is the second of three posts on The Theban Plays, a trilogy of Sophocles’ tragedies Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone, directed by Don Taylor, which was broadcast on BBC2 over three evenings of one week in September 1986 (and all three are available on YouTube). Oedipus at Colonus is, in some ways, a play constructed on a more accessible scale than Oedipus the King and this production features some fine performances – notably, from Anthony Quayle as Oedipus and Julliet Stevenson as Antigone. Continue reading

Greek plays: Oedipus the King, part 1 of The Theban Plays (BBC, 1986)

The Theban Plays, a trilogy of Sophocles’ tragedies Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone, was broadcast on BBC2 over three evenings of one week in September 1986 (and all three are available on YouTube). The plays were translated and directed by Don Taylor who would, four years later in 1990, turn to Euripides’ Iphigenia in Aulis which is, to the best of my knowledge, the last Greek tragedy to be produced on British television. My work on these four Don Taylor productions will form the last chapter of my Greeks on Screen case study. In this first post, I tackle Oedipus the King. Continue reading

Greek plays: Philoctetes (BBC Schools, 1961-62)

In 1961 and 1962 Sophocles’ Philoctetes was produced by BBC Schools and transmitted in two parts in a series on ‘Greek Drama’ for Sixth Forms. The series also featured a production of Euripides’ Bacchae and introductions to the two plays by the moral philosopher Bernard Williams. This post offers my thoughts on the first half of Philoctetes which exists in the BBC’s archives. Continue reading

Greek plays: Oedipus the King (BBC / The Open University, 1977)

This post takes as its focus the BBC Television transmission of a production of Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus the King, directed by Richard Callanan, which starred Patrick Stewart in the title role and Rosalie Crutchley as Jocasta. This production was one of sixteen which were co-produced with The Open University to support the work of distance-learning students who were enrolled on its course A307 Drama, but being transmitted on television it will also, of course, have reached a wider public audience in its annual transmissions over the five years of the year-long course’s life from 1977 (albeit one that happened to be watching BBC2 early on Sunday mornings). This blog post is another (small) chapter of my Greeks on Screen case study; but it also marks the first step of my second case study on stage plays produced on television in educational contexts. Continue reading

Greek plays: Sophocles’ Electra (BBC, 1974)

Today I’d like to share some of my impressions of a viewing of Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s production of Sophocles’ Electra, televised on Wednesday 24 October 1974 as the BBC’s Play of the Month. Two years earlier, in November 1972, the BBC had broadcast another Sophoclean play―King Oedipus―in a production by Alan Bridges. Both Electra and King Oedipus used the Penguin translations by E. F. Watling, but in several other respects the productions could not have been more different. When Lindsay-Hogg was offered the chance to direct Electra in 1974, he says he was ‘intrigued […] because I thought that it was a yawn a minute, and I wanted to prove otherwise’. This post contrasts my own response to the production, at several decades’ remove, with contemporary critical accounts and the BBC’s Audience Research Report. Continue reading

Greek Plays: King Oedipus (BBC, 1972)

Sophocles’ King Oedipus was televised in colour as part of BBC1’s Play of the Month series at 9.25pm on Friday 24 November 1972. In this post I discuss my first impressions of the production which I saw at the BFI last month, in advance of a more detailed analysis to follow. Continue reading

Greek plays: Sophocles’ Electra (A-R for ITV, 1962)

At 9.45pm on Wednesday 28 November 1962 the ITV audience witnessed an extraordinary broadcast―a production of Sophocles’ Electra in Greek with no subtitles. But this was no antiquarian exercise in declaiming ancient Greek. Rather, this was a television version of Dimitris Rondiris’ internationally touring stage production with the Peiraïkon Theatron company and, using Ioannis Gryparis’ translation, it was being given in the living language of modern Greek. Here I draw on the extant recording at the BFI together with newspaper articles and reviews in working towards a critical interpretation of this production fifty years after its first broadcast. Continue reading