Herakles | Written by Euripides, translated by Ann Carson, directed by Hugh Hanson Website
2009 The Bakkhai

The 39th Annual Classical Greek Theatre Festival

The Bakkhai

Directed by Larry West
Andy Rindlisbach as Dionysus
Ryon Sharette as Pentheus
Gabi Gaston as Agave

Arguably the most horrific, powerful and theatrical of all Greek tragedies, the Bakkhai is perhaps also the most controversial and hotly debated Euripidean tragedy. At its center are the god Dionysus, the god of wine, music, dance, theater and ecstasy, and a chorus of initiates who proclaim his greatness and his gifts. In opposition stands the teen-ager Pentheus, a disturbed and disturbing young tyrant who rejects the god Dionysus and all he stands for. Euripides' plot treats the three confrontations between the two and then follows Pentheus to the mountain where he encounters the maenads and sees what he should not see. Two messenger speeches describe the actions of the offstage maenads, and the final movement of the play shows the audience the macabre results where horror and beauty are bizarrely combined. In the end so many questions remain, especially regarding the ambiguous and paradoxical nature of the god Dionysus.

Click here to see the Study Guide for Bakkhai

Photos by Amy Oakeson