Saturday, October 02, 2004

Some Notes on Class Discussion of McLaughlin's "The Persians' performance

  • The costumes of the cast had very anachronistic elements to them-- i.e. the general chorus member with WWII-like clothing, Darius with his Civil War/confederate costume, and the desert camoflage pants of the messenger-- the same pants worn by American troops currently serving in Iraq
  • the four chorus members serve as allegorical roles of Persian society- -- the general, the professor, the judge and the diplomat
  • each chorus member mourns the loss of their own "son" when the messenger delivers the news of who from the Persian army was lost in Greece, which creates personal grief for each personality of the chorus
  • The playwright wrote the script of the play during the United States military invasion of Iraq last March
  • The playwright also refused to set up which side of the play represented the Americans or Iraqis. Despite the fact that the ancient Persian empire was centered upon what is now present-day Iraq, the Persians may also be representative of the United States in the current war
  • Unlike a movie that constricts the focus of the viewer, the theater gives the theatergoer the freedom of sight-- you can look anywhere on stage, even to where the focus is not supposed to be
  • The intimate layout of the Aurora Theater forces the actors/actress to become involved in the audience, ex: they enter/exit the stage through passages between where the audience is seated
  • The actors spitting, screaming, wailing and weeping makes many individuals in the audience very uncomfortable. However, this uncomfort is part of the process of defamiliarization

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