Saturday, June 29, through Sunday, July 7
Lincoln Park, 11th Avenue and 38th Street, Rock Island IL
A classic Greek tragedy making its first return to the Quad Cities in more than 15 years, Euripides' arresting tale of The Bacchae will be staged by Genesius Guild June 29 through July 7, the outdoor Lincoln Park presentations boasting a cast of 17 and its central characters performing in period-appropriate Greek masks.
Renowned for winning first prize in the City Dionysia festival competition, The Bacchae was written by the Athenian playwright Euripides during his final years in Macedonia at the court of Archelaus I of Macedon. It premiered posthumously at the Theatre of Dionysus in 405 BC as part of a tetralogy that also included Iphigeneia at Aulis and Alemaeon in Corinth, and either Euripides' son or his nephew is presumed to have directed. The tragedy is based on the Greek myth of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agave, and their punishment by the god Dionysus, who is Pentheus's cousin. Dionysus appears at the beginning of the play and proclaims that he has arrived in Thebes to avenge the slander, which has been repeated by his aunts, that he is not the son of Zeus. In response, he intends to introduce Dionysian rites into the city, and intends to demonstrate to King Pentheus, and to all of Thebes, that he was indeed born a god. With vengeful retribution resulting, The Bacchae is considered to be not only one of Euripides' greatest tragedies, but also one of the greatest ever written, modern or ancient. Euripides' masterwork is also distinctive in that its chorus is integrated into the plot as opposed to merely commenting on it, and the god of the tale is not a distant presence, but rather a character – indeed, the protagonist – in the play.
Directing The Bacchae is area-theatre favorite Patti Flahert, a familiar performer on stage who has also directed such previous Genesius Guild productions as A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Comedian, and The Merchant of Venice. Mischa Hooker, a veteran of such Genesius Guild presentations as The Tempest and Much Ado About Nothing, portrays Dionysus, with Pentheus played by Jacob Lund (The Comedy of Errors) and Agave by Susan Perrin-Sallak (Macbeth). Completing Flaherty's ensemble are a blend of Genesius Guild veterans and actors making their first appearances on the Lincoln Park stage: Andrea Braddy, Logan Braun, Guy Cable, Kathy Calder, Jason Dlouhy, Nathan Elgatian, Zoe Grabow, Bob Hanske, Kitty Israel, Bella Kuta, John Donald O'Shea, Liz Sager, Melita Tunnicliff, and Sarah Willie.
Genesius Guild's The Bacchae will be performed in Lincoln Park on Saturdays at Sundays at 8 p.m., and admission to the June 29 through July 7 run is free, though donations are encouraged. For more information, visit Genesius.org.