The Bacchae is perhaps the most popular of Euripides’ surviving plays. Directed by Anne Bogart and performed by actors of the SITI company of New York, the performance is full of striking dialogue, frenzied action, and choral songs of great power and beauty. Dionysus is the Greek god of wine, intoxication, ritual madness, and theater. He arrives incognito and in disguise in his birthplace Thebes, to convince the locals on the nature of his true divinity. The play revolves around the confrontation between Dionysus, the smiling, mysterious, soft-spoken and seemingly effeminate god, and Pentheus, the angry, impulsive and inflexible king of Thebes, who is ignorant of himself and his own nature. Dionysus’ cult starts to grow rapidly, and women start engaging in secret rituals involving wine, ecstasy and ritual madness. This prompts Pentheus to imprison Dionysus, but this attempt to control the god results in tragic consequences for Pentheus and his entire family.
Hosted by the Harvard Club of Southern California.