Women of Trachis

Women of Trachis performer holds mask over face

Women of Trachis

by Sophocles
Translated by C.K. Williams and Gregory W. Dickerson

Directed and adapted by Javen Tanner
 

In September, The Classical Greek Theatre Festival presented by Westminster College will mount and tour a new production of Sophocles’ tragic masterpiece Women of Trachis, a play rarely read and infrequently seen in performance. Here is a brief synopsis of the play’s plot:

Because of her beauty, Deianira, the wife of Herakles,had been sought by many suitors. One of these, the centaur Nessos, was killed by Herakles, who then claimed her as his bride. Years later she and her children are exiles in Trachis because of an act of violence by Herakles. Alone now for over a year, she wonders what has become of Herakles and sends her son Hyllos to find out. News arrives that he has conquered the city of king Eurytas in Euboia, and captives arrive from that sack, including Iole the king’s daughter. Deianeira learns from Lichas that Herakles has sacked the city, not because he had been insulted, but because he wanted the king’s daughter. In jealous despair, she sends Herakles a robe anointed with blood from the centaur’s wound, which turns out not to be the love charm she thought, but an incurable poison. Hyllos brings news of what the robe has done to Herakles, and devastated, Deianeira kills herself with a sword. Herakles is brought onstage in great pain, cursing his wife and asking Hyllos to marry Iole and then to light the funeral pyre that will put him out of his agony. — Storey & Allen

Javen Tanner will direct and adapt the production, featuring an American translation by the poet C.K. Williams and classicist Gregory W. Dickerson. Spencer Brown will create the set design, and costumes will be designed and built by Andrea Davenport. The production will use character and neutral masks, and medieval-inspired costumes and music will further set a unique tone for this Greek classic.

Schedule

Women of Trachis will open at Westminster College and then tour the state of Utah.

Sept. 68, Sept. 1315

7 p.m. Orientation Discussion
7:30 p.m. Performance

Courage Theatre
Westminster College
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Sept. 19

7 p.m. Orientation Discussion
7:30 p.m. Performance

Wildcat Theater
Weber State University
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Sept. 21

7 p.m. Orientation Discussion
7:30 p.m. Performance

Utah Cultural Celebration Center Amphitheater
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Sept. 24

4 p.m. Orientation Discussion
5 p.m. Performance

De Jong Concert Hall
Brigham Young University
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Women of Trachis Performance
Women of Trachis Performance
Women of Trachis Performance

Past Performances

View the Dramturgical information from past performances.

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Mutability, uncertainty, a universe of precipitous change: these themes are at the heart of Sophocles' tragic vision. But nowhere are they elaborated with more urgency than in Women of Trachis. There are no subtle shifts of Fortune's favors in this tragedy, only stunning and total reversals, a relentless spinning of her fickle wheel. Thesis moves to crushing antithesis with an unparalleled violence at the moment of transformation. Thought to have been written about 440 BC, midway through the poet's career, Women of Trachis has long suffered from neglect by scholars despite its sophistication and raw energy. This translation at last rescues the immense lyrical power and tragic grandeur of the play from obscurity, restoring the music of a poetry originally meant to be sung and danced collectively.

By Sophocles, translated by C.K. Williams and Gregory W. Dickerson, adapted and directed by Javen Tanner

September 6–8 and 13–15 at 7:30 p.m.

Free orientation discussion at 7:00 p.m.

Courage Theatre

$18 for adults; $9 for full-time students with ID; Free for Westminster students, staff, and faculty