The University Record, October 24, 1994

Aquila Theatre will present Wasps and Philoctetes

By Sage Arron

Two classic plays will be performed later this month by The Aquila Theatre Company of London at the Trueblood Theatre in the Frieze Building.

Aristophanes’ Wasps will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Oct. 26), and Sophocles’ Philoctetes will be performed at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday (Oct. 27). A free symposium, “Interpreting the Classics: Two Approaches to Sophocles’ Philoctetes” will be presented 4– 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, at the Residential College Auditorium.

Wasps, sponsors say, “is a vivacious, musical comedy which celebrates the unbreakable spirit of the individual set against a backdrop of political corruption and legal turmoil. Drawn into the world of an Athenian father, Procleon, and his son, Anticleon, we see a society where democracy is out of control. The people are being bamboozled by dishonest politicians and the law courts are choked by a population addicted to litigation.”

By contrast, the distinctly ancient background and haunting Celtic music of Philoctetes “enshroud a powerful drama in the time and tragedy of the Trojan Wars. Philoctetes himself is a Greek warrior who has sustained a terrible leg injury that has become infected. This malady forces his fellow Greeks to abandon him until a prophecy predicting the outcome of the Trojan Wars forces them to return to their comrade. Thus set is the stage for a compelling story of betrayal, duplicity, moral torment, and reconciliation,” according to the sponsors.

These performances by The Aquila Theatre Company of London mark its eighth tour of the United States. Specializing in presenting productions of classical drama, the company has gained a reputation as one of the United Kingdom’s most innovative theater companies.

London’s The Independent newspaper has described the company’s work as “giving classical drama immediacy and freshness without making unnecessary contextual concessions.” In the New Yorker, Mimi Kramer lauded Aquila as “the classics made relevant with superlative acting and clever staging.” The company has staged productions throughout America, Canada, Europe, London, off-Broadway and in the ancient stadium at Delphi in Greece.

These events are sponsored by the Department of Classical Studies in conjunction with the departments of English, History and Theater & Drama, the Great Books Program, the Honors Program, the Kelsey Museum and the Residential College.

Tickets may be purchased from the Michigan League Ticket Office (764-0450) for $10, general admission, and $7, students.