Saturday, April 29, 2006

The Persians and some news on HBO's Rome

My apologies for this late review, but my weeks only seem to get busier! I saw Aeschylus' The Persians on Sunday at The Shakespeare Theater, and I strongly urge anyone in the D.C. area to go see it should you have the time!

This was a production very aware of itself as something staged. They often showed the musicians on stage, and the cast itself initially enters in modern garb, collectively introducing the play to the audience. They put their Persian robes on over this garb, but often the modern clothing (particularly the ties) are still visible underneath. This constantly reminded the audience that these were modern actors; it also brought home the point that this production spoke to modern times. This was emphasized also by the Herald and Xerxes in modern camouflage and Darius' appearance with along black leather coat.

Additionally, I found the contrast between the initial golden dress of Atossa and her later black garb visually stunning.

I also really want the map they use at the beginning of the production!

As for the play itself, without actually having looked at the complete text of The Persians lately, I can't speak to textual changes. However, I know they cut a lot of the "woe" (kakos) at the end, and I'm kicking myself right now, because I've already forgotten how they ended up translating that word! But, more importantly, they pulled this off very well, driving home the auditory stimulation of the repetition and putting it very well to music.

Lastly, this works so well as a company-oriented production. The chorus was split up into cabinet members with individual lines. Their titles (some of which will seem very familiar) were Chairman, Interior, Navy, Justice, Religion, Army, Treasury, and State. The cast was absolutely solid, and there are definitely some very familiar names for the frequent theatre-goer (even, unexpectedly, some alumni of The Scarlet Pimpernel, on the off chance that any Leaguers are reading this).

Again, I urge anyone in the area to go see this production.

And now for a completely (or not?) different topic--HBO's Rome. Firstly, David Meadows alerted us the other day that HBO's Rome will be out on DVD come August 15! Even more exciting, the second season has started production. From the official site's newsletter:

HBO's epic drama series ROME has begun production on its ten-episode second season, it was announced by Carolyn Strauss, president, HBO Entertainment. Filming of the new episodes will continue at Rome's Cinecitta Studios through next October, with debut set for 2007.

"This exciting series offers a spectacle unlike anything else on TV," noted Strauss. "The new episodes of ROME will go deeper into the intriguing characters and provocative storylines that made the first season a hit with critics and subscribers."

Chronicling the fall of a republic and the rise of an empire, the first season of ROME wrapped last December. TV Guide hailed it as a "feast for the eyes" and a "ripping good story," as well as a "shamelessly enjoyable historical romp," while the Washington Post described the series as "ravishing and wickedly shocking," and "a feast for the senses that includes generous portions of food for thought." In addition, ROME received two Golden Globe® nominations: Best Television Series - Drama and Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama (Polly Walker).

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Philosopher Cats! Of a sort.

So if you enjoy Cats Against Bush (and you should definitely check out the latest post on Rome's anniversary), you'll love Homo Edax's post on his Hellenist cats. Yes, they're Hellenists! That's because cats are smart! :-D

And, um, before I get any attacks from Latin Lovers on this one, I do enjoy Latin immensely too. Honest!

My review of the Shakespeare Theater's production of The Persians is forthcoming. However, I'm getting a little swamped, so please bear with me!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Happy Birthday, Rome!

Today is supposedly Rome's birthday/anniversary/whatever. I am wearing my SPQR shirt from Rome in celebration of this. Unfortunately, absolutely no one has noticed, which is quite disappointing. Of course, to be fair, I haven't actually encountered any Classics people today.

Also, in case the earlier links weren't enough, Mark Goodacre has posted a Gospel of Judas megapost. Thanks to Ross Scaife for the link!

I still can't get over Jesus laughing so much in that gospel! ;-)

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Even More on the Medea Project

I can't believe I spaced on this! I got an e-mail about it from one of my profs a few days ago, but I guess I've had too much else going on. Anyway, for those of you in the D.C. area, Rhodessa Jones, founder of the Medea Project is speaking at the University of Maryland, College Park TOMORROW, April 20th, from 4-6PM. Details are below.

I'm pretty bummed that I probably won't be able to make this, because I have class during part of it. Such is life!

Join us for

...a conversation with Rhodessa Jones...

Join us for an exciting opportunity to learn about the work of Rhodessa Jones, founder of the Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women.

Thursday, April 20th from 4-6 p.m.
Rever Rehearsal Hall, Room 3376
Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
(directly above Department of Theatre)

RHODESSA JONES is Co-Artistic Director of the San Francisco acclaimed performance company Cultural Odyssey and Founder and Director of the award winning Medea Project: Theater for Incarcerated Women.

The Medea Project is a performance workshop designed to achieve personal and social transformation with incarcerated women. Since its beginning in 1989, The Medea Project has become a national and international model for the use of the performing arts as a rehabilitation tool for women in jail. In 2005 Ms. Jones toured South Africa for a series of performances and workshops with women in prisons.

Cultural Odyssey was founded in 1979 with the mission of ‘Arts as Social Activism.’

An actress, teacher, singer, writer, and director, Ms. Jones's solo shows include "Big Butt Girls, Hard Headed Women" based on lives of the women she met while working in prison, and "Hot Flashes, Power Surges and Private Summers," a solo work about menopause. The San Francisco Examiner praised ‘Hot Flashes’ as a ‘frank,’ ‘feisty,’ and ‘fiery’ performance that ‘turns menopause into a bloodline connecting five generations of dynamic women.’ Jones has also performed the role of “Ruby” in August Wilson’s ‘King Hedley II’ at the Lorraine Hansberry Theater and been featured in the Theater on the Square’s production of Eve Ensler’s ‘The Vagina Monologues’ and the Lorraine Hansberry Theater’s production of Regina Taylor’s
‘Urban Zulu Mambo.’

Her most recent directing credits include Sekou Sundiata's "Blessing The Boats", Will Power's "The Gathering" and Deborah Edward's "From Whores to Matriarchs". Ms. Jones is currently a featured artist contributing to Building the Code: Understanding Community Based Arts in America, a research and publication project sponsored by the National Performance Network.

The Medea Project is the subject of the 2001 book by Rena Fraden, Imagining Medea: Rhodessa Jones and the Theater for Incarcerated Women (University of North Carolina Press).

In 2003 Jones was featured on the NPR program ‘Fresh Air’:

Born in Florida to a migrant laborer family, Rhodessa Jones is a proud grandmother of her daughter's girl child Chaz.

Sponsored by: Department of Women's Studies; Visions in Feminism; David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the African Diaspora; Department of Theatre; Department of American Studies; Curriculum Transformation Project; Carceral Studies Working Group

For further information, contact: barkleyb at umd dot edu or 301-405-7710.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Persians and Roman Cheese!

For those of you in the D.C. area (or just curious about The Persians, Homo Edax has posted his review of the Shakespeare Theatre's production. I should be going next weekend and posting my own review as well.

David Meadows has also posted about Stilton and Roman Cheese, which just cracks me up.

My apologies for the slow and not-as-full updates of late, but I'm really attempting to end this semester with a bang. We'll see.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

So there IS hope after all!

Some of you may remember that I originally started this blog as a sort of account of trying to get into grad school for Classics. Clearly, it morphed into a much more generalized Classics blog, because honestly, who just wants to read the whinings of a grad-student-wannabe? Well, except, perhaps, other people trying to get in also.

Anyway, while the fact that I'm a late-comer to Latin and especially Greek in undergrad has hindered me from getting into some PhD programs of my choice (which, honestly, was not a surprise to me at all), starting late is apparently not completely hopeless. I've an offer for the MPhil at Cambridge, which while more reasonable was also a bit beyond my actual expectations.

The main problem now will be scrounging up the money for't. There is, of course, also the fact that it will probably be more affordable to do a post-bac. Decisions, decisions.

However, I still think the moral of the story is to start your languages before the second semester of your junior year in undergrad. The only reason I could fit in an almost decent amount of Latin before graduating was because I defied people in a couple things, and I also decided to stay an extra year as an undergrad. And believe me you, that was not without a few bumps in the road, from which my buttocks are still recovering.

Still, it's nice to finally be seeing the end of this road and the beginning of the next one. And I have 39 days left until graduation. Time sure does fly.

Monday, April 10, 2006


For those who have not heard (I got this one from one of my profs, actually), Judith Weingarten's book The Chronicle of Zenobia: The Rebel Queen has recently been released. It is apparently the first of three historical fiction books on Zenobia. Too bad it's fiction, so I can't use it for my paper! ;-)

Also, yesterday, Elaine Pagels had an Op-Ed piece on the Gospel of Judas.

Granted, the National Geographic site was exciting, but I'm surprised it's caused all this hullabaloo now that even Borders is doing an entire table on it with books for 30% off.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

On Judas and Latin musicals

Ok, in case anyone's actually missed it, here is the link to National Geographic's Lost Gospel of Judas page. It's an excellent site and includes images of the actual document, a transcription, and an English translation. Would that such things were available for other texts!

In much more AMUSING news, there is apparently a Wheelock's Latin Musical of sorts. Really, it's just a bunch of songs about Latin grammar, from what I can tell. That is actually good and probably very useful, but I was hoping for a real story-arched musical. Personally, I think Ecce Romani would make a hilarious musical. We could even do it in Latin!

... hmm. Probably too scary an idea.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Playing catch-up

My apologies again for disappearing. I've been busy lately, and trying really hard to combat senioritis. So far I'm not exactly behind in class work, but I guess it's been cutting down my time here.

Anyway, first, I have a few things from rogueclassicism:
-A Foxtrot comic on the Odyssey. I've actually been listening to The Lord of the Rings on CD lately for class (I've read it a few times already), and it's really a different perspective. It's quite enjoyable, but as usual, it always makes me hungry! Those hobbits sure enjoy their food!
-I can't remember if I mentioned it originally, but there was an Amarna Princess that they've found to be a fake.
-There is also follow up on the suspended Latin teacher. Thankfully, she's been reinstated. Suspending over Pompeiian graffiti is just ludicrous.
-Also a bit on a miniseries called Pompeii.
-And, apparently, HBO's Rome is not doing so well in Italy. This surprises me, because I've had quite a few hits from Italy on this blog with searches concerning Rome. But I guess they're hardly representative of the majority.

Speaking of hits, according to sitemeter (which I haven't been using as much as blogpatrol, but which seems to record more hits), I had my 10000th hit just after my previous post! Blogpatrol, however, is still a bit behind.

And since I'm always collecting bad jokes and amusing comics, here are a few:
-From the LiveJournal Classics community: So like Xenophon, goes into the coffeshop, right, and the Barista says to him, "What can I get for you, sir?" and Xenophon goes, "The latte! The latte!"
and: So Julius Caeser walks into a bar, and says "I'd like a martinus." The bartender says, "Oh, you want a martini." Caeser says angrily, "If I wanted a double, I would have told you."
-From the LiveJournal English majors community: a comic on dissertations. There are a few other amusing things posted on that community right now, actually.

Also, I was watching Stargate SG-1 this weekend, and I realized I've been watching the show on and off since about middle school. Daniel Jackson has always been my favourite character. You sometimes forget (particularly, if you haven't watched the original movie recently), but he was an Egyptology professor (with a good mix of Classics--when they get it right--and other mythology/language). It's really no wonder I decided to go into Classics and still pursue (not really academically) my interests in Egyptology and other mythology. I mean, besides the fact that I was also a Xena addict... Yes, even then I was aware of how completely inaccurate these shows are!

And lastly, don't forget this week is BUY A FRIEND A BOOK WEEK! Wohoo!