The Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH) (Ty Jones, Producing Artistic Director) proudly kicks off its 20th Anniversary Season with a FREE outdoor production of The Bacchae. Inspired by Bryan Doerries’ new version of Euripides’ classic Greek tragedy and directed by CTH Associate Artistic Director Carl Cofield,
The Bacchae will be performed in the Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park (18 Mt. Morris Park West, enter the park at 124th and 5th Avenue and walk south to the venue) from Saturday, July 6th through Sunday, July 28th (performances are Tuesday through Sunday at 8:30 pm). The Opening is Thursday, July 11th at 8:30 pm.
Back for its seventh summer season of free theater performances, affectionately known as the “Uptown Shakespeare in the Park,” the Classical Theatre of Harlem (CTH), established in 1999, is thrilled to return to Marcus Garvey Park with a work that continues the company’s investigation of the current political and social climate via the Greek classics.
Set in the modern era, Dionysus (God of wine and ecstasy) returns to his hometown in order to clear his mother’s name and punish the insolent city for not allowing its citizens to worship him. The clash between Dionysus, played as a modern-day rock star, and his cousin Pentheus, the uncompromising and moralistic king of the city, examines the consequences of a general public that blindly follows two vastly different leaders. Dionysus represents unbridled freedom and excess while on the other end of the spectrum, Pentheus epitomizes excessive law, order and rigidity. As society slides into fear and tribalism, its citizens’ rationale becomes clouded as they blindly take orders and pick sides rather than seek moderation and rationality.
CTH’s interpretation is a lush and modern version of the classic Greek tragedy that tackles the ills of a culture obsessed with celebrity worship, social media and fear of the other, causing people to lose the ability to see the truth — that people in power are fallible — until it’s far too late.
An updated version that is suitable for older children (10 and up), CTH’s adaptation of The Bacchae accomplishes a fidelity to the original while giving the company the flexibility to showcase the ways in which ancient ideas have taken center stage in the current political and social climate. Calling on the cultural landscape of African American traditions, while adhering to the Greek tragic form, this fresh reimagining of the classic story will captivate, stun and inspire audiences from all backgrounds.