CORVALLIS - The Oregon State University Theatre will bring its 1996-97
season to a rollicking conclusion with an original adaptation of the ancient Greek comedy by Aristophanes called "The Frogs."
Members of the University Theatre faculty and 15 students from across the campus have labored to update and adapt the classic Greek text - retaining the fundamental story and themes of the original while making it more accessible and topical for a contemporary audience.
The play recounts the story of Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and theater, and his slave, Xanthias, as they set out on a trip to the Underworld. While searching for the famous (and recently dead) playwright Euripides, they meet up with a variety of unusual and entertaining characters including the famous Greek hero Heracles, Charon the Ferryman of the River Styx, a chorus of frogs, and a chorus of mystics.
Once in Hades - after bits of silliness and slapstick - Dionysus is chosen to referee a literary contest between Euripides and the older, more conservative Greek playwright, Aeschylus, to determine the world's greatest dramatist.
"Aristophanes, like all Greek comedy of the period, contains a wealth of topical and political references designed to entertain the Athenian society of the time," said director Marion O. Rossi, Jr.
"We've tried to adapt and retain the other traditional elements of Greek comedy including broad physical humor, satire, dance and music, and the bawdy, sometimes crude, jokes characteristic of Aristophannic comedy," he added. "At the same time, we are modernizing it for the audience."
The sets, designed by William Earl; the costumes, by Marie Chesley; and the lighting, by Richard George, also work to blend a variety of period styles, references, and meanings, Rossi pointed out.
"The Frogs" opens in the Withycombe Hall Main Theatre on May 15 and runs May 16-17 and May 22-24. Curtain time for all performances is 8:15 p.m.
Tickets for the production are $7 general admission, $5 for seniors, and $4 for students and may be reserved by calling 541-737-2784 beginning May 12.
The performance on Friday, May 23, will be signed for the hearing impaired and have narrative description for the visually impaired.
The cast of "The Frogs" includes: ANTELOPE:
Dan Fisher, junior in environmental science, Heracles-chorus. BANKS:
Dan Kroon, senior in English, Charon-chorus. CORVALLIS:
Casey Bair, student at CVHS, corpse-chorus; Jared Pieterick, chorus. DAYTON:
Jason Cooper, senior in theatre arts, Xanthias. EUGENE:
Cheryl-Lynn Salamanca, chorus. LAKE OSWEGO: Shannon Freeman, senior in theatre arts, Euripides. NEWBERG:
Kimberly Moore, a 1996 OSU graduate in environmental science, chorus. PORTLAND:
Angie Hughes (97203), senior in theatre arts, chorus leader-maid; Justin Lundy (97229), sophomore in computer engineering, chorus. SALEM:
Nikki Brooks, senior in entomology, chorus leader. SCIO:
Sheryl Parker, senior in theatre arts, Plathane-chorus;
Terry Terrell, master's student in liberal arts, stage manager.
Craig Marianno, graduate student in nuclear engineering, Dionysus.
Nick Levine, sophomore in theatre arts, Aeacus-chorus.
NEW JERSEY BRIDGEWATER: Alice Bauer, tavern-keeper-chorus.
NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA BYRON BAY:
Meredith Hussey, an exchange student in theatre arts, Pluto-chorus.