ΜΕΤΑΓΡΑΦΕΙΝ (Rewrite), is the Hotchkiss Dramatic Association’s winter 2021 production. Using ancient Greek theatre as a starting point, students have adapted works by Aeschylus and Sophocles to speak to contemporary times. The plays are also student-directed, with rehearsals, filming, and editing taking place over Zoom during mid-winter break. Beginning mid March, episodes will be released for on-demand viewing, with the first two performances, Prometheus Doxed, Av.C, and a recorded discussion about Av.C moderated by Yassine Talhaoui, director of diversity and inclusion, now available at this link.
Given the challenges of producing pandemic-era theatre, including cold and inclement weather making a live outdoor performance impossible, the winter production needed an outside-the-box solution. Hotchkiss’s Director of Theatre, Derek Brashears, devised a strategy that turned the limitations of “Zoom theatre” inside out.
Brashears turned to the work of the ancient Greek playwrights and found the fix to H.D.A.’s dilemma. “Greek plays often feature only one or two characters onstage at any given time; all the action takes place offstage. The characters talk, rather than do. Students have adapted the plays so that the characters always know they are speaking directly into a camera, and why – the characters are isolated, and they know it. ” This aspect relates to the collective experience of isolating during the pandemic.
The adaptations were conceived in an episodic structure, again speaking to the pandemic experience of binge-watching television via online streaming services. Each play is its own episode; plays were collaboratively adapted by Brashears and students. Prometheus Bound by Aeschylus is now Prometheus Doxed; Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone by Sophocles are now Oedipus Noir, Oedipus in the Wild, and Av. C.
“Most importantly,” Brashears said, “is that the stories and themes of the shows themselves are very applicable today. We still face ideas of family trauma, political tyranny, and injustices around gender and race. Setting these stories into modern situations took some creativity and a significant amount of work, but upon a deep reading of the messaging, it didn’t take effort. Once a modern setting was found that worked, the scripts wrote themselves.”
While Brashears has overseen the cohesiveness of the project, he was assisted by Luke Gardiner ‘21, an experienced actor, video editor and award-winning filmmaker. A large cohort of student creators who participated as actors, writers, editors, and directors is listed below.
Episodes of ΜΕΤΑΓΡΑΦΕΙΝ (Rewrite) will be released periodically. Please return to this page for updates and bookmark the link provided above. Updates will also be released on H.D.A.’s Instagram page.
Mingxian (Felix) Bao ’21, Jack Basinet ’21, Nate Brockington ’22, Charlie Comfort ’21, Tina Deng ’21, Sophie Flinn ’21 , Luke Gardiner ’21, Max Grossman ’21, Emily Heimer ’21, Keala Henry ’22, Keeilah Jewell ’22, Carter Levine ’22, Ayman Lone ’21, Aster Lee Lufkin ’23, Richardine Mamam Nbiba ’23, Christopher Mitchell ’24, Kate Moran ’23, Tori Murray ’22, Atalia Jae Navarro ’21, Samarth Rastogi ’22, Alex Repikov ’23, Olivia Taylor ’22, Amelia Wang ’21, Phil Warren ’23, Ben Weiss ’21, Mazie Witter ’22, Max Lang (Faculty child)