L to R: Gian Marco Lo Forte, Scott Patton,
Chris Zorker & Rob Laqui

Performance Schedule:
March 29, 2001
The Annex Theatre
Thursday - Sunday 7:30pm
Sunday Matinee at 2:30pm

Playwright: Ellen Stewart-Aeschylus
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

Aeschylus' rarely-performed "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 Repertory.

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.

Meredith Wright   Anca Suiu, Mitsu Sakamoto
& Julia Martin
  Cary Gant
Mitsu Sakamoto   Billy Clark & Federico Restrepo    
SEVEN AGAINST THEBES - Summer Tour 2001 (Carnuntum Archaeological Park - Austria)
Steve Pizzano & Arthur Adair   Stephan Kolbert & Stefano Zazzera
Scott Patton, Gian Marco Lo Forte,
Stephan Kolbert,Joe Kodeih, Mitsu Sakamoto & Billy Clark
2001 page