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  • Writer's pictureCaroline K. Mackenzie

The Cambridge Greek Play 2022

During half-term week, Classics Club had a wonderful day out to Cambridge to see the Cambridge Greek Play, a triennial event which is always a highlight in the calendar.

This year it was a double bill of 'Persians' by Aeschylus followed by 'Cyclops' by Euripides. 'Persians' is the earliest surviving Greek tragedy, first staged in 472 BC, so it was a real privilege to see it performed. It could be described as one long lament so the laughter that came with the next performance, of the 'Cyclops', was the perfect remedy. This was also a very special play as it is the only complete satyr play surviving and was probably produced in 408BC.

'Cyclops' is partly based on Homer's account of Odysseus' adventures on the island of the one-eyed giant, Polyphemus. As Classics Club had just completed reading Homer's Odyssey earlier this year, it was a real treat to see this play and the characters in action.

Not only did this double bill showcase outstanding performances from all the cast, it employed wonderful translations of the original Greek (the translations were displayed on large screens as the performances are entirely in Greek), and there were stunning costumes, make-up and props and terrific music. The afternoon began with an excellent pre-show talk by Prof Rebecca Laemmle & Prof Paul Cartledge, providing much food for thought.

On a personal note, the trip also allowed a quick visit to my alma mater, Pembroke College, which was looking beautiful in the autumn sunshine. It was a school trip to the Cambridge Greek Play which inspired me to apply for Classics at Cambridge. It was great to see from all the school parties at the theatre that the play still inspires and excites so many pupils.

Congratulations to everyone involved in the production and thank you to Classics Club for making the day so special. Looking forward to the 2025 Cambridge Greek Play already!

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