Dionysos is in the details

One of the best parts of the production was how fucking polytheist it was. And I don’t just mean that they kept the hymns to assorted deities in, which not every production does. But the whole thing began with an invocation of the ancestors of the place, going back generation through generation to the Lenape people; Tiresias was dressed as an houngan and at one point Dionysos shouts “àṣẹ!” and instead of setting it beside the streams of Dirke and Ismenos they called on Hudson and the other local Harlem river. I think these flourishes helped bring the audience more fully into the sacred atmosphere of the play; they were also nice parallels to the ceremonies the Athenians conducted during the Dionysia. All it lacked was a parade of war orphans and giant phalloi, culminating in a bull sacrifice and it would have been perfect. 

3 thoughts on “Dionysos is in the details

    1. nope but Dionysos is perfectly capable of inspiring directors, actors, etc. and I think that is what happened. :)


  1. oh, this sounds marvelous! i recently saw the Oresteia in DC, a gift from the ol’ man for my 60th birthday, and it was sublime. i’d so love to see this one, done right too.


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