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Bakkhai

Monday, 28 May 2018

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On Friday, 15 June a new version of Euripides’ Bakkhai will premiere at Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre, directed and co-produced by Dr Vahri McKenzie. Bakkhai was one of Euripides’ final plays and is concerned with two apparently opposed sides of human nature, the rational and the instinctive. When these collide, in the forms of the rigid young ruler of Thebes, Pentheos, and the beautiful ‘stranger’ Dionysos, tragedy ensues.

The project is a collaboration between Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre and Edith Cowan University, supported by Culture and the Arts (WA). Senior Lecturer Dr McKenzie’s research enquiry responds to the unusual way in which the traditional role of the chorus is incorporated into the story as title characters, the Bakkhai, who are a cult of wild and strange women that accompany Dionysos. This provides an opportunity to explore ensemble building with non-professional performers and to investigate creativity in group contexts. A further line of enquiry will consider gender interpretations in this production that employs gender-blind casting. Traditionally, the Bakkhai are associated with the ‘irrational’ and ‘instinctive’ side of human nature and gendered female, but this production casts men and women as Bakkhai and a woman in the role of the ‘rational’ Pentheos. There is also a gender-diverse creative and production team behind the performers.

The original production has developed a body of work including costumes, masks, sculpture, painting and animations, and a community ensemble of performers including ECU students, graduates and staff brings to life the original text, music and choreography commissioned for the show.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre website.

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