A staple of post-war Scottish theatre until today has been the appropriation of classical drama and its resetting in a local context by means of interlingual translation, adaptation and/or re-writing – from Douglas Young’s translations of Aristophanes in the 1950s to David Greig’s version of Euripides’s The Bacchae in 2007. The purposes and meanings of these practices vary; however, most hypertexts (in Genettian terms) tend to appropriate the characters and archetypes of their hypotexts in order to confront contemporary socio-political and ideological issues with both a national and international interest. Remediation here consists essentially of a cultural interpretation, translation and modernization of the classics’ language whereby the original (in most cases mediated by English bridging translations) is used as a template to give birth to a new creation that both reiterates the universality of the source material and introduces more local and specific concerns. Among the most experimental Scottish playwrights, Liz Lochhead and David Greig – current National Makar (or Poet) of Scotland the former, and arguably Scotland’s most international playwright the latter – have put on stage several free adaptations/translations of Euripides and Sophocles’s tragedies. Lochhead reworks Euripides for the Scottish stage in Medea (2000). The classical “template” allows Lochhead to deal with her preferred universal themes from the perspectives lent by the classical authors she translates, thus achieving a compromise between tradition and innovation. Her Medea is a study of female desire but also of the ostracism of minorities and subaltern subjects within an intolerant society, a study with both identifiably Scottish elements (idiomatically and in terms of setting) and universal meanings. David Greig reworks the Oedipus myth in his Oedipus the Visionary (1998), an adaptation of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King to which he adds a postcolonial undertone by representing Oedipus as a guilt-stricken colonizer, the prototype of a rigid Eurocentric perspective – while Laius, Tiresias and the Thebans are the Other (indeed on stage Tiresias is meant to wear a head-dress like that of an Indian holy man). Greig complicates the relationship between colonizer and colonized by ironizing not only Oedipus’s self-sufficiency and self-centredness, which lead him to the final catastrophe, but also Tiresias’s refusal to communicate. The author turns their fixity and closure into a metaphor of polarized and essentialist ideological positions which hinder intercultural exchanges.

Rewriting Greek Tragedy in Contemporary Scottish Theatre: Liz Lochhead’s "Medea" and David Greig’s "Oedipus the Visionary" / Angeletti, Gioia. - STAMPA. - (2016), pp. 237-248.

Rewriting Greek Tragedy in Contemporary Scottish Theatre: Liz Lochhead’s "Medea" and David Greig’s "Oedipus the Visionary"

Gioia Angeletti
2016-01-01

Abstract

A staple of post-war Scottish theatre until today has been the appropriation of classical drama and its resetting in a local context by means of interlingual translation, adaptation and/or re-writing – from Douglas Young’s translations of Aristophanes in the 1950s to David Greig’s version of Euripides’s The Bacchae in 2007. The purposes and meanings of these practices vary; however, most hypertexts (in Genettian terms) tend to appropriate the characters and archetypes of their hypotexts in order to confront contemporary socio-political and ideological issues with both a national and international interest. Remediation here consists essentially of a cultural interpretation, translation and modernization of the classics’ language whereby the original (in most cases mediated by English bridging translations) is used as a template to give birth to a new creation that both reiterates the universality of the source material and introduces more local and specific concerns. Among the most experimental Scottish playwrights, Liz Lochhead and David Greig – current National Makar (or Poet) of Scotland the former, and arguably Scotland’s most international playwright the latter – have put on stage several free adaptations/translations of Euripides and Sophocles’s tragedies. Lochhead reworks Euripides for the Scottish stage in Medea (2000). The classical “template” allows Lochhead to deal with her preferred universal themes from the perspectives lent by the classical authors she translates, thus achieving a compromise between tradition and innovation. Her Medea is a study of female desire but also of the ostracism of minorities and subaltern subjects within an intolerant society, a study with both identifiably Scottish elements (idiomatically and in terms of setting) and universal meanings. David Greig reworks the Oedipus myth in his Oedipus the Visionary (1998), an adaptation of Sophocles’ Oedipus the King to which he adds a postcolonial undertone by representing Oedipus as a guilt-stricken colonizer, the prototype of a rigid Eurocentric perspective – while Laius, Tiresias and the Thebans are the Other (indeed on stage Tiresias is meant to wear a head-dress like that of an Indian holy man). Greig complicates the relationship between colonizer and colonized by ironizing not only Oedipus’s self-sufficiency and self-centredness, which lead him to the final catastrophe, but also Tiresias’s refusal to communicate. The author turns their fixity and closure into a metaphor of polarized and essentialist ideological positions which hinder intercultural exchanges.
9788843075447
Rewriting Greek Tragedy in Contemporary Scottish Theatre: Liz Lochhead’s "Medea" and David Greig’s "Oedipus the Visionary" / Angeletti, Gioia. - STAMPA. - (2016), pp. 237-248.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11381/2815102
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