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CANCELED: Bacchae in Relief: Wole Soyinka and the Greeks

Patrice Rankine, University of Richmond

April 9, 2020 · 4:30 pm-6:00 pm · 010 East Pyne

Department of Classics

Mythology and performance have been primary modes of access to the classical past, the 1960s and 1970s being watershed moments on the modern stage. As it pertains to the resonances between classical European performance and that of African peoples, Wole Soyinka served as a mediator, perhaps self-appointed, most prominently in his 1973 Bacchae, an adaptation of Euripides’ play. Soyinka’s essay “The Fourth Stage,” which he later amplified in his 1976 book Myth, Literature, and the African World, provides a template for understanding how he viewed Greek drama and its place in world myth, literature, and performance. Soyinka’s framework contains many hidden challenges, but it also offers a window into contemporary drama and its relationship to the past.

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