L to R: Gian Marco Lo Forte, Scott Patton,
& Rob Laqui
March 29, 2001
The Annex Theatre
Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm
Sunday Matinee at 2:30pm
SEVEN AGAINST THEBES
Director: Ellen Stewart
Composers: Genji Ito, Michael Sirotta & Elizabeth Swados
actors include: Arthur Adair*, Imanuele Ancorini, Billy
Clark*, Renouard Cree, Eugene The Poogene, Cary Gant, Mark Dean Gallop,
Denise Greber, Harold Dean James, Onni Johnson*, Stephan W. Kolbert, Rob
Laqui, Gian Marco Lo Forte, Julia Martin*, Mitsu, Matt Ostrow*, Federico
Restrepo*, Anca Suiu*, Valois Mickins* and Stefano Zazzera*
musical director: Michael Sirotta*
musicians:Genji Ito* and Michael Sirotta*
production coordinator: Ozzie Rodriguez*
set and props realization and design: David Adams* and Jun Maeda*
puppet design and construction: Federico Restrepo*
costume design: Selcuk (a member of a La MaMa affiliate in Istanbul)
mask design: Valois Mickins*
shield design: Michael Arian
technical director: Mark Tambella*
stage manager: Raine Bode
* Great Jones Repertory
"Seven Against Thebes" will be staged as a dance-opera by La MaMa founder/artistic
director Ellen Stewart in a new adaptation by her, with music composed by Elizabeth
Swados, Genji Ito and Michael Sirotta, set and props by David Adams and Jun Maeda
and puppets by Federico Restrepo. The production will have its world premiere
run April 27 to May 13 in La MaMa's Annex Theater, performed by The Great Jones
In the play, Polynece and Etokles fight for the throne after the death of their
father, Oedipus, in a struggle that foretells the fall of the House of Cadmus
as had been foretold by the prophet Teirasias. In the tradition of the Great Jones
Repertory, the sung and spoken language of this production will be Ancient Greek.
"Seven Against Thebes" is actually a sequel to Ellen Stewart's "Mythos
Oedipus," which premiered in 1985 in Delphi, Greece and was last performed
in 1996. Ellen Stewart's method in adaptations is to render a play or myth into
a form resembling a film treatment, from which the dialogue is subsequently "retro-translated"
into an ancient language by Elizabeth Swados. For "Seven Against Thebes,"
the original Greek translation is by Georgina Petrousi.
Ellen Stewart's body of work includes numerous folk operas based on European
and Mediterranean myths and legends and she is well-known for her mastery of
the genre of outdoor theater. She is internationally recognized for her stagings
of majestic, multi-arts theater spectacles, many on classical and religious themes.
Her directing record includes "Cotton Club" (La MaMa, three times), "Bamba"
(Argentina, 1984), "Mythos Oedipus (Greece and La MaMa, four times), "Orfei"
(La MaMa, 1975, 1985), "Phaedra Via Hercules," "Dionysus,"
"Romeo and Juliet" (Salzburg, Uruguay, Sarah Lawrence, 1981, 1988, 1991),
"Fedra" (Argentina, 1986), "The Monk & The Hangman's Daughter"
(Florida, Italy, 1986, 1990, 2000), "Prescepio Vivente (The Nativity)"
(Italy, 1990), "Gerusalemme Liberata" (Rome, 1990, 1992), "Cordilera"
(Philippines, 1988), "Ciacinta" (Italy, 1991), "Ecumenical Music
of the World" (Paris, 1992), "Yunus" (Istanbul 1991, La MaMa 1992)
and "Tancredi and Erminia" (La MaMa, 1993).
The Great Jones Repertory is an award-winning ensemble appearing frequently in
epic works at prestigious world theater festivals in Korea, Taiwan, Eastern Europe
and Western Europe. It actually originated in the late 60’s with productions
of the La MaMa Repertory Company and until 1974 was also known as The La MaMa
Repertory Company, The Storytellers. It is well known for “Fragments of
a Greek Trilogy” (Medea, Elektra and The Trojan Women), directed by Andrei
Serban and composed by Elizabeth Swados, which was first presented in 1974 and
revived nine times to-date. With "Seven Against Thebes," The Great
Jones Repertory's body of work will include 19 original works.
The Great Jones Repertory has been acting in ancient languages since 1972 when
"Medea," directed by Andrei Serban and composed by Elizabeth Swados,
was first enacted in a dimly-lit, tight space as a kind of black mass, with its
dialogue a collage of ancient Greek, Latin and other languages. Serban and Swados
reached back to the primal experiences of the Greeks and Seneca through the sounds
of the ancient texts. By perfecting the sounds of the language, the ensemble conveyed
primal emotions that are seldom experienced by modern audiences. "Medea"
was performed in Lebanon, in the Palace of Dionysius amid the ruins of Baalbeck,
in 1972. Ellen Stewart returned to that majestic location for a theater conference
last month to renew relationships there. Now she reflects that the magnificent
ruins had the most important influence on the evolution of La MaMa, saying: "From
then on, we thought 'spatial.'" The experience catalyzed her search for a
larger space to house the subsequent Greek tragedies envisioned by Andrei Serban.
She found the theater whch is now La MaMa's Annex Theater at 66 East Fourth Street
and began renovating it with the support of the Ford Foundation, which was then
headed by McNeil Lowry. "The Trojan Women" was created for that space
in 1974 and was performed with "Electra" and "Medea." With
this production "Fragments of a Greek Trilogy," the most enduring symbol
of La MaMa's brand of theater, was born.
This production is supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts
and the Peg Santvoord Foundation.
The source of this production, Aeschylus' "The Seven Against Thebes,"
was produced in 467 BC. and based on a Theban legend concerning the conflict between
the two sons of Oedipus, Eteocles and Polynices, for the throne of Thebes. It
was the third play of a trilogy, of which the first two, now lost, were "Laius"
and "Oedipus." The tragedy depicts the ill-fated expedition against
the city of Thebes undertaken by seven chieftains and their followers under the
leadership of Adrastus, king of Argos, and Polynices, the son of Oedipus, the
former king of Thebes. Euripides also wrote a version of the story.
Anca Suiu, Mitsu Sakamoto
& Julia Martin
Billy Clark & Federico Restrepo
AGAINST THEBES - Summer Tour 2001 (Carnuntum Archaeological Park - Austria)
& Arthur Adair
Stephan Kolbert & Stefano
Gian Marco Lo Forte,
Stephan Kolbert,Joe Kodeih, Mitsu Sakamoto & Billy