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CLA 133 — Euripides, Our Contemporary: A Stanford Repertory Theater Course

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 5 weeks
Date(s): Jun 27—Aug 8
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Jul 17
Unit: 1
Tuition: $365
Instructor(s): Rush Rehm
Status: Closed
Please Note: Class sessions: 5 Wednesdays, June 27, July 11, July 18, Aug. 1, and Aug. 8, 7 – 8:50 pm; Preview performance: Wednesday, July 25, 8 pm; Symposium: Saturday, Aug. 4, 8:45 am – 5:15 pm; Optional film series: Mondays, July 9 – Aug. 13, 7 pm
Summer
On-campus
Wednesdays
7:00—8:50 pm
Date(s)
Jun 27—Aug 8
5 weeks
Drop By
Jul 17
1 Unit
Fees
$365
Instructor(s):
Rush Rehm
Closed
Please Note: Class sessions: 5 Wednesdays, June 27, July 11, July 18, Aug. 1, and Aug. 8, 7 – 8:50 pm; Preview performance: Wednesday, July 25, 8 pm; Symposium: Saturday, Aug. 4, 8:45 am – 5:15 pm; Optional film series: Mondays, July 9 – Aug. 13, 7 pm
As part of Stanford Repertory Theater’s 20th anniversary Summer Festival, “Nevertheless They Persisted: Euripides’s Hecuba and Helen,” this course will look at Euripides’s plays that deal with female protagonists, especially in relationship to war and violence. Although Euripides wrote and directed his plays in ancient Athens, we keep returning to his tragedies for their uncanny modernity, and the course will focus on this aspect of his work.

Over five sessions, we will read and discuss some of Euripides’s most famous tragedies (Medea, The Trojan Women, Electra), as well as several of his lesser-known works (Andromache, Hecuba, Iphigenia in Aulis, Iphigenia in Tauris, and Helen). In each of these, a tragic heroine “takes on” a world not of her own making. Drawing on a combination of resilience, will power, deception, courage, and endurance, these powerful female characters face the direst of circumstances. However, surrender is not in their vocabulary, or if it is, it comes with such depth of understanding as to constitute its own form of resistance.

Euripides’s tragic heroines are full of surprises, shifting the ground out from under our expectations in the audience. Alive to shifting sympathies and dynamics of power, his plays provoke us by unsettling our expectations and disturbing our comfort level. Part of his genius lies in his daring theatricality, joining tragedy and humor, suffering and escape, irony and heartfelt emotion. We recognize a modern sensibility here, one that justifies considering Euripides very much as our contemporary. Join the conversation with an ancient playwright who is—for better or worse—one of us.

The course will be built around Stanford Repertory Theater’s 20th anniversary season. In addition to five class meetings, students will attend special preview performances of Hecuba and Helen. Students are also encouraged to attend the Festival’s free film series on Monday nights as well as the Stanford Repertory Theater symposium, “The Trojan War, Then and Now.” The course includes a reserved seat at the preview performances (July 25, no substitutions) and a ticket to the symposium (August 4).

Rush Rehm, Professor of Theater & Performance Studies and of Classics, Stanford; Founder and Artistic Director, Stanford Repertory Theater

Rush Rehm received a PhD in drama and humanities from Stanford, and has written several books on Greek tragedy, including Understanding Greek Tragic Theatre, The Play of Space, and Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World. For Stanford Repertory Theater’s 20th anniversary Summer Festival, he is directing his translation and adaptation of Euripides’s Hecuba and Helen.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Euripides/Morwood, Medea, translated by James Morwood, in Euripides Medea and Other Plays (ISBN 978-0192824424)
(Required) Rehm, Understanding Greek Tragic Theatre (ISBN 978-1138812628)
(Required) Euripides/Arrowsmith/Roberts, Hecuba, translated by William Arrowsmith, Andromache, Translated by Deborah Roberts, in University of Chicago series Euripides II (ISBN 978-0226308784)
(Required) Euripides/Vellacott, Trojan Women, Helen, Ion in the Penguin Classics: Euripides, The Bacchae and Other Plays, translated by Philip Vellacott (ISBN 978-0140440447)
(Required) Euripides/Merwin/Dimock, Iphigenia in Aulis, Translated by WS Merwin and George E. Dimock, Jr. in Oxford (ISBN 978-0195077094)