Advertisement

Acting Chorus

  • Zachary Dunbar
  • Stephe Harrop
Chapter

Abstract

Possibly the most problematic aspect of acting Greek tragedy, the chorus represents a recurring challenge to contemporary actors and theatre-makers. When staging the chorus, today’s actors are likely to be perplexed by the conundrum of how much ‘like a character’ the chorus is meant to be, especially in relation to the conventions of modern realist theatre. This chapter re-frames this question in terms of contemporary practice, identifying how a range of key international practitioners (Katie Mitchell and Struan Leslie; Włodzimierz Staniewski) have developed differently calibrated combinations of physical and psychological presence, realist characterization, and transformative choreography or musicality. Acting Chorus finally proposes that these alternatives must be uniquely and perpetually negotiated by each group that embarks upon the work of becoming a Greek chorus.

References

  1. Billings, J., Budelmann, F. & Macintosh, F. (eds). 2013, Choruses, Ancient & Modern, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  2. Britton, J. 2013, Encountering Ensemble, Bloomsbury, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Budelmann, F. 2013, ‘Greek Festival Choruses in and out of Context’, in J. Billings, F. Budelmann & F. Macintosh (eds), Choruses, Ancient & Modern, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 81–98.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Calame, C. 1999, ‘Performative Aspects of the Choral Voice in Greek Tragedy: Civic Identity in Performance’, (trans.) Robin Osborne, in S. Goldhill & R. Osborne (eds), Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 125–53.Google Scholar
  5. Cartledge, P. 1997, ‘“Deep Plays”: Theatre as Process in Greek Civic Life’, in P.E. Easterling (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 3–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Cohen, R. 2008, Acting One/Acting Two, McGraw-Hill, Boston.Google Scholar
  7. Cole, E. 2015, ‘The Method Behind the Madness: Katie Mitchell, Stanislavski, and the Classics’, Classical Receptions Journal, vol. 7, no. 3, pp. 400–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dunbar, Z. 2010, ‘Dionysian Reflections upon A Chorus Line’, Studies in Musical Theatre, vol. 4, no. 2, pp. 155–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dunbar, Z. 2013, ‘How Do You Solve a Problem like the Chorus?’ Hammerstein’s Allegro and the Reception of the Greek Chorus on Broadway’, in J. Billings, F. Budelmann & F. Macintosh (eds), Choruses, Ancient & Modern, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 243–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Easterling, P.E. 1997a, ‘Form and Performance’, in P.E. Easterling (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 151–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Easterling, P.E. 1997b, ‘A Show for Dionysus’, in P.E. Easterling (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 36–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Eastman, H. 2013, ‘Chorus in Contemporary British Theatre’, in J. Billings, F. Budelmann & F. Macintosh (eds), Choruses, Ancient & Modern, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 363–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fischer-Lichte, E. 2013, ‘Classical Theatre’, in D. Wiles & C. Dymkowski (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Theatre History, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 73–84.Google Scholar
  14. Fischer-Lichte, E. 2017, Tragedy’s Endurance: Performances of Greek Tragedy and Cultural Identity in Germany Since 1800, Oxford University Press, Oxford.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldhill, S. 2007, How to Stage Greek Tragedy Today, Chicago University Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  16. Grene, D. (trans.). 1994, Sophocles: The Theban Plays, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  17. Hall, E. 2010, Greek Tragedy: Suffering Under the Sun, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  18. Hall, P. 2000, Exposed by the Mask, Oberon Books, London.Google Scholar
  19. Harrop, S. 2018, ‘Athens: A Work-in-Progress’, Kritika Kultura, vol. 30, pp. 129–37.Google Scholar
  20. Haydon, A. 2017, ‘British Auteurship and the Greeks: Katie Mitchell’, in G. Rodosthenous (ed.), Contemporary Adaptations of Greek Tragedy: Auteurship and Directorial Visions, Bloomsbury, London, pp. 73–92.Google Scholar
  21. Henrichs, A. 1995 ‘“Why Should I Dance?”: Choral Self-Referentiality in Greek Tragedy’, Arion, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 56–111.Google Scholar
  22. Kowalzig, B. 2004, ‘Changing Choral Worlds: Song-Dance and Society in Athens and Beyond’, in P. Murray & P. Wilson (eds), Music and the Muses: The Culture of Mousikê in the Classical Athenian City, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 39–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Laera, M. 2013, Reaching Athens: Community, Democracy and Other Mythologies in Adaptations of Greek Tragedy, Peter Lang, Bern.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lecoq, J. 2002 [2000], The Moving Body: Teaching Creative Theatre, Methuen, London.Google Scholar
  25. Leslie, S. 2010, ‘Gesamtkunstwerk: Modern Moves and the Ancient Chorus’, in F. Macintosh (ed.), The Ancient Dancer in the Modern World, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 410–19.Google Scholar
  26. Ley, G. 2014, Acting Greek Tragedy, University of Exeter Press, Exeter.Google Scholar
  27. Schlegel, A. 1894, A Course of Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature, George Bell & Sons, London.Google Scholar
  28. Seaford, R. 2006, Dionysos, Routledge, London and New York.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Shevtsova, M. 2004, Dodin and the Maly Drama Theatre: Process to Performance, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  30. Solga, K. 2008, ‘Body Doubles, Babel’s Voices: Katie Mitchell’s Iphigenia at Aulis and the Theatre of Sacrifice’, Contemporary Theatre Review, vol. 18, no. 2, pp. 146–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Staniewski, W. & Hodge, A. 2003, Hidden Territories: The Theatre of Gardzienice, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  32. Thomaidis, K. 2014, ‘Singing from Stones: Physiovocality and Gardzienice’s Theater of Musicality’, in D. Symonds & M. Taylor (eds), Gestures of Music Theater: The Performativity of Song and Dance, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 242–58.Google Scholar
  33. Wiles, D. 1997, Tragedy in Athens: Performance Space and Theatrical Meaning, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Wiles, D. 2000, Greek Theatre Performance: An Introduction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Wiles, D. 2007, Mask and Performance in Greek Tragedy: From Ancient Festival to Modern Experimentation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  36. Willson, S. & Eastman, H. 2010, ‘Red Ladies: Who are They and What Do They Want?’, in F. Macintosh (ed.), The Ancient Dancer in the Modern World, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 420–30.Google Scholar
  37. Zarifi, Y. 2010, ‘Staniewski’s Secret Alphabet of Gestures: Dance, Body, and Metaphysics’, in F. Macintosh (ed.), The Ancient Dancer in the Modern World, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 389–410.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zachary Dunbar
    • 1
  • Stephe Harrop
    • 2
  1. 1.Victorian College of the ArtsUniversity of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Liverpool Hope UniversityLiverpoolUK

Personalised recommendations