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Issue 9 (2018)

Conversations with Iphigenia

Suhayla El-Bushra is a screenwriter and playwright. Her recent stage work includes Arabian Nights at the Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, The Suicide (National Theatre), The Iphigenia Quartet (The Gate Theatre, London), Pigeons (Royal Court), Cuckoo (Unicorn Theatre) and The Kilburn Passion (Tricycle). She has been a core writer on C4 shows Ackley Bridge and Hollyoaks, and has just made Bush, a short with Film4.

Chris Thorpe is a playwright, and was a founder member of Unlimited Theatre, with whom he still works and tours. His recent work includes Victory Condition (The Royal Court), The Iphigenia Quartet (The Gate Theatre, London), Confirmation (Warwick Arts Centre), and Hannah (Unicorn Theatre). He also plays guitar in Lucy Ellinson’s political noise project #TORYCORE and works with the National Student Drama Festival.

Caroline Bird is a poet and playwright. She has five collections of poetry; her most recent, In These Days of Prohibition (2017), was shortlisted for the 2017 TS Eliot Prize and the 2017 Ted Hughes Award. Her stage work includes The Trojan Women (Gate Theatre), Sixty Six Books (Bush Theatre), The Trial of Dennis the Menace (Purcell Room, Southbank Centre), Chamber Piece (Lyric Hammersmith,) and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Northern Stage.)

Lulu Raczka is a screenwriter and playwright. She has worked in the writer’s room on Riviera (series 2) and Medici: Masters of Florence. Her stage work includes A Girl in School Uniform (Walks Into a Bar) (New Diorama), The Iphigenia Quartet (The Gate Theatre, London), Grey Man (Theatre 503), Some People Talk About Violence (New Diorama/Camden People’s Theatre), and Nothing (Lyric Hammersmith/Warwick Arts Centre/Camden People’s Theatre).

Two roundtable discussions were held at University College London and the University of Bristol in May 2016 with these four playwrights of The Iphigenia Quartet, which was performed at the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill. This feature contains the transcripts of the discussions, together with an introduction by Christine Plastow

photo of the panel for 'Conversations with Iphigenia'

The roundtable discussions brought together practitioners and academics to discuss the writing processes of the individual plays, as well as wider-ranging issues considering theatre translation and adaptation more generally and of Greek tragedy in particular. The first part of each transcript documents the playwrights’ observations about their own creative processes when working on these adaptations. These observations are followed by questions and open discussion, touching on feminist adaptations, political uses for Greek tragedy, the usefulness of the terms ‘translation’ and ‘adaptation’ for various individuals and groups, and the practical issues involved in creating a new work based on classical subject matter, amongst other topics.

Penny Boreham, with Prodromos Tsinikoris, Giles Lewin, and Anastasia Bakogianni

Penny Boreham has been working as a radio producer and broadcaster for the last 30 years. She was on staff with the BBC until 2003 but since then has worked independently for the BBC, the child rights agency ‘Child to Child’, The Open University and numerous other organisations. Her mother named her Penelope because of her love of ‘the Odyssey’ and then read her the Greek myths as a young child. She has loved them ever since. 

Prodromos Tsinikoris was born in Wuppertal, Germany. Today he lives in Athens. He is the co-artistic director of the Experimental Stage-I of the National Theatre and works as a dramaturg, performer and theatre director. 

Giles Lewin is a British violinist and music composer, but also a vocalist who can play the fiddle, vielle, rebec, gittern, shawms, recorder, mandolin, pipe and tabor. He is particularly interested in old musical instruments and styles.

Penny, Prodromos and Giles worked together on a radio programme for the BBC World Service entitled Telling Tales: The Odyssey, which juxtaposed the stories of refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos with Homer's OdysseyAnastasia Bakogianni was academic consultant on the programme; she conducted the following interviews with Penny, Prodromos and Giles for Practitioners' Voices in Classical Reception Studies.