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Year 13 Drama - Euripides' Alcestis at Kings College

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

As part of our Drama and Theatre Studies A-Level, we went to see a performance of a Greek Tragi-Comedy, Alkestis. We went to King’s College in London to watch a variety of students acting in Ancient Greek. This is an opportunity we will never forget: a rare experience we all enjoyed. It also helped our knowledge for our exam because we have to analyse a modern production of an Ancient Greek text.

The tragi-comedy Alkestis is the story of a man who wants to live eternally. Apollo, Greek God of the sun, prevails on the fates to spare Admetus’ life, so he has eternal life. The one condition was that Admetus must find someone who is willing to sacrifice themselves for Alkestis. The only person who steps forward is Alkestis, Admetus’ wife. And so the play begins…

Whilst out in London we got a bus through Fleet Street and admired the wonderful sights of Monument, The River Thames and the Shard. After the adventure of getting there, we had a bite to eat whilst enjoying conversations about theatre and discussing ‘Alkestis’. On the train back we reminisced about the Greek play whilst watching Miss Boddy eat carrots. It was a funny day.

When we arrived at the theatre, it was in the University Campus which was beautiful. We went into the theatre and there was a good sized auditorium and a lareg stage. The seats were comfy and we had an excellent view. The stage was laid out in such a way that everyone could clearly see what was happening and none of the performers were blocked. Also, we were able to see clearly what each student was doing due to the exaggerated, Ancient Greek inspired acting style.

The Director’s vision of Alkestis was a unique and unorthodox approach to Euripides’ original Greek Tragi-Comedy. The vision of the play was interesting and creative yet the execution didn’t live up to her dream. The mixture of Post World-War-2 Britain with contemporary stylistic features sometimes made for clumsy viewing. However, it was suggested to the audience that the themes of Alkestis, such as the will to battle against death, are ‘timeless’ which gave us much food for thought and discussion.

In conclusion, we all had an enjoyable day in London. The contribution of the London sights, good food, and an Ancient Greek play made for an educational and inspirational day out. The play wasn’t as well executed as we might hope to achieve when we are University directors, but it was certainly interesting and has given us lots of exam fodder.

Year 13 Drama Students