Each Spring, the Center for Creative Work produces and performs an original translation of Greek tragedy or comedy during the traditional festival time for the Athenian city Dionysia. Review past Dionysia performances below.
Dionysia explored The City At War, "A Possession For All Time" in 2015. Performances of Humanities and the City, Medicine and the City, and Energy and the City were accompanied by panel discussions. An evening of personal stories from UH faculty, students, and special guests kicked off the event.
The 2014 Dionysia theme was A Cheerful Gathering of All the People, an adaptation of Homer's The Odyssey. Banquets prepared by Honors students featured storytelling from Honors College faculty and performances by talented Houston musicians. Trips and performances to food trucks, farmers markets and Khon's completed the festival.
CCW presented Ilium, an adaptation of the Iliad, Homer's classic tale of war and suffering. Jen Sommers, choreographer and director of UH's School of Theatre and Dance, collaborated with music composed and conducted by Moores School of Music vocal performance major Alyssa Weathersby.
- Go behind the scenes with the Ilium tumblr.
- Watch a video diary, "The Making of Dionysia 2013" (in four parts)
Dr. Harvery's modern adaptation of Aristophanes' The Frogs mixed ancient figures with modern issues as the god Dionysus and his slave, Xanthias, try to find a way to save the corrupted and bankrupt modern Greece from falling into the control of foreign nations. Dionysus decides that only a poet can save Greece from its fall and thus decides to plumb the depths of Hades to find Euripides. However a battle of wits and weighing of lines occurs as Aeschylus, crowned the "Best Tragic Poet" in Hades, and Euripides fight for another chance at life. Aaron Landsman (City Council Meeting) directed this black comedy that features both amateur and professional actors from the University of Houston and the Houston community.
Aeschylus' Agamemnon was the play for the 2011 Dionysia. Center for Creative Work students and actors from the community produced the new translation (by Dr. John Harvey) of this bloody, intense play. Dionysia 2011 also expanded into the community with Klytamnestra: The Original Subversive Female, a world premiere opera dance theater based on Harvey's characters and translation, at Divergence Vocal Theater and Brandy Holmes' Yes, Cassandra at the Interstate Fringe Festival in New Orleans.
- Watch the auditions.
- Read an OutSmart article on the collaborative production.
- Check out a Q&A with Misha Penton on Spacetaker.
- Review photos of the production on the Honors flikr account.
The CCW expanded the Dionysia in 2010 to include a scholars' conference, a talk-back with the cast and directors, an Ekphrastic Art exhibit, and a closing reception, in addition to the pre-show Agora and original production of Dionysia 2009. Drs. Armstrong and Harvey created a new translation of Sophocles' Electra, which the CCW staged using a mix of student and professional actors. Katelyn Halpern choreographed the show, and Elliot Cole composed original music. Later that year, Halpern, Harvey, and performers presented at the National Collegiate Honors Council conference in Kansas City, Mo.
- Download the Dionysia 2010 poster.
- Watch the video-diary of Electra.
- Hear a profcast on Electra.
- Check out Electra on stage, at Kohn's and in the Commons.
Dionysia & SURF 2009
The Office of Undergraduate Research funded a 2009 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship for Katelyn Halpern to research the English translations of the three Electra plays: Sophocles' Electra, Euripides' Electra, and Aeschylus' The Libation Bearers. The research poster was presented at Undergraduate Research Day on Oct. 1, 2009.
The CCW inaugurated the Dionysia in 2009 with the production of Euripides’ The Children of Herakles. This little-known play, performed in a new translation by Dr. John Harvey with Dr. Richard Armstrong, explores the role of the City as a protector of the weak. The CCW's production featured original contemporary choreography by Katelyn Halpern, a new musical score by Richard Power, and a pre-show Agora that brought together performers and audience members in a marketplace of art, literature, and philosophy.