The Method behind the madness: Katie Mitchell, Stanislavski, and the classics

Emma Cole
2014 Classical Receptions Journal  
General rights This document is made available in accordance with publisher policies. Please cite only the published version using the reference above. Full terms of use are available: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/pure/about/ebr-terms The Method Behind the Madness: Katie Mitchell, Stanislavski, and the Classics Abstract Scholars frequently debate the applicability of contemporary theatre theories and acting techniques to Greek tragedy. Evidence both for and against such usage, however, is usually
more » ... wever, is usually drawn from textual analyses which attempt to find support for these readings within the plays. Such arguments neglect the performative dimension of these theories. This article demonstrates an alternative approach by considering a case study of a Stanislavskian-inspired production of a Greek tragedy. Taking Katie Mitchell's 2007 Royal National Theatre production Women of Troy as a paradigmatic example, the article explores the application of a Stanislavskian approach to Euripides' Troades. I argue that Mitchell's production indicates that modern theatre techniques can not only transform Greek tragedy into lucid productions of contemporary relevance, but can also supplement the scholarly analysis of the plays. The Stanislavskian acting techniques are seen to work like a domesticating translation, recreating themes and emotions from the extant tragedy in a powerful way that enhances the performative dimensions of the play and counters the idea of a fixed Euripidean meaning. The article concludes that a performative methodology is essential for reception scholars and performance historians who debate the applicability of a Stanislavskian approach to Greek tragedy.
doi:10.1093/crj/clu022 fatcat:qto3a2saazayfozjaephogrwdm