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Announcing the Catastrophe

 Cours Florent, Classe Libre, october-november 2019 •
 Cours Florent, Classe Libre, october-november 2019 •
 Cours Florent, Classe Libre, october-november 2019 •

Texts by Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Seneca and Jean Racine.

I offered to the 17 students of the 39th Classe Libre a very specific subject matter, which, by its very nature, points a fundamental problem in theater, namely, the opposition between the epic and the dramatic. I speak of the messengers, typical of ancient Greek and Latin tragedies. These characters, halfway between a dramatic and an epic figure, are full of fascinating contradictions for the actor: they are neither protagonist, nor antagonist, nor part of the choir, but without them the action cannot move forward; they are the bearer of a vital message that they would often prefer not to deliver.

He swings between objective reporter and terrified eyewitness. The drama does not affect him (he leaves the stage just as he entered it) but the whole drama is moved forward thanks to him. In short, a fascinating figure to explore on stage!

I selected messenger speeches and monologues from 17 different tragedies, one for each student: Aeschylus’ The Persians and Agamemnon; Sophocles’ Antigone, Electra, Oedipus and The Women of Trachis; Euripides’ Medea, Electra, Hippolyte, Hecube, The Madness of Heracles, Andromache and The Bacchantes; Seneca’s Phaedra, Thyeste and The Trojan Women and Racine’s Phaedra.

"No words could tell what we have seen."
- Euripides, Hercules