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The Structure and Performance of Euripides' Helen

  • Date Published: December 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107423329


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About the Authors
  • Using Euripides' play Helen as the main point of reference, C. W. Marshall's detailed study expands our understanding of Athenian tragedy and provides new interpretations of how Euripides created meaning in performance. Marshall focuses on dramatic structure to show how assumptions held by the ancient audience shaped meaning in Helen and to demonstrate how Euripides' play draws extensively on the satyr play Proteus, which was part of Aeschylus' Oresteia. Structure is presented not as a theoretical abstraction, but as a crucial component of the experience of performance, working with music, the chorus and the other plays in the tetralogy. Euripides' Andromeda in particular is shown to have resonances with Helen not previously described. Arguing that the role of the director is key, Marshall shows that the choices that a director can make about role doubling, gestures, blocking, humour, and masks play a crucial part in forming the meaning of Helen.

    • Offers a detailed consideration of the structure of Euripides' Helen, including the chorus and the play's relationship to its sources
    • Explains the practical considerations of staging Helen, with a focus on the choices made by the director
    • Provides new insights into Euripides' Andromeda and gives a methodology for reconstructing the action of a Euripidean tragedy from later sources
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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107423329
    • length: 335 pages
    • dimensions: 245 x 170 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • contains: 7 b/w illus. 4 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Helen and the evidence for performance
    2. Structure
    3. Protean Helen
    4. Chorus and music
    5. Andromeda
    6. Stage directions
    7. Directorial decisions
    8. The mask of beauty.

  • Author

    C. W. Marshall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
    C. W. Marshall is Professor of Greek at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. He is the author of The Stagecraft and Performance of Roman Comedy (2006) and has co-edited several volumes: No Laughing Matter (2012) and Classics and Comics (2011) with George Kovacs and The Wire: Urban Decay and American Television (2009) and Cylons in America (2008) with Tiffany Potter. His many articles and chapters on ancient theatre consider the practical constraints of ancient staging techniques, the nature of masks, and how an ancient audience interprets a play in performance. This work is informed by his practical experience as a director of ancient and modern plays.

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