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Issue 11 (2020)

The Orestes Project

By Jove Theatre Company are a London-based theatre collective making new work out of old stories for politically conscious audiences in the 21st century. Their latest project, The Orestes Project, is a collaboration with Professor Nancy Rabinowitz of Hamilton College, NY, and examines the story of Orestes through lenses of storytelling, queer identity, and cycles of trauma. This conversation with members of the company, held on Monday 21st October 2019, discusses the process of beginning the project, what adaptation means and how it can happen in practice, why the project is urgent for the company, and how being involved in classical reception can influence our understanding of ancient texts.

Nancy Rabinowitz is Professor of Comparative Literature at Hamilton College, New York, and a dramaturg on The Orestes Project. She teaches and publishes on Greek tragedy and modern literature, and is actively involved in various projects teaching and using Classics in prisons.

Marcus Bell is a dancer, choreographer, and member of By Jove. He has performed with Matthew Bourne’s company New Adventures and trained with Ballet Boyz, and is currently studying for a PhD in receptions of the ancient chorus in modern dance at the University of Oxford.

David Bullen is a theatre practitioner, writer, and co-artistic director of By Jove. He holds a PhD on the reception history of Euripides’ Bacchae from Royal Holloway, University of London, where he teaches in the Drama department.

Christine Plastow is a Lecturer in Classical Studies at the Open University, and an associate director of By Jove. Her primary research interests are in Athenian forensic oratory.

Franco Murer

Franco Murer (b. 1952) is a painter and sculptor, who lives and works in his birthplace of Falcade in the Italian Dolomites. Growing up, he learned sculpture and painting alongside his father, the artist Augusto Murer, before studying at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, from which he graduated in 1974. His vast oeuvre includes drawing, painting, and sculptures in different media, including wood and bronze. Much of his work centres on Christian subjects, and examples of his sculptures can be seen in the Vatican – such as his monumental fountain decorated with scenes from the life of St Joseph, dedicated to Pope Benedetto XVI. He also works with classical subjects, and has frequently returned to Greek myth and especially Homer’s Odyssey, interweaving these classical stories and images with the evocative landscapes of his home in the mountains. The Murer family directs the Museo Murer in Falcade, which was built to house a large collection of works by Augusto Murer.

This interview with Jessica Hughes was recorded on 1st November 2020. All photographs are reproduced with the kind permission of Franco and Nadia Murer.

Alessandra Belloni

Alessandra Belloni is an Italian musician, singer, dancer, actress, author, choreographer, teacher and ethnomusicologist. She was born in Rome, and began her career there, appearing alongside Anna Magnani in Franco Zefferelli’s play La Lupa, and working with Federico Fellini on his film Casanova. In 1971 she moved to New York, where she lives and works today. In 1980 she co-founded with John La Barbera the music, folk dance and theatre group I Giullari di Piazza, and for several years has been artist in residence at the Cathedral of St John Divine in New York City. Her theatrical productions include The Voyage of the Black Madonna (1991), Tarantella Spider Dance (2009), and La Cantata dei Pastori. Her best-selling book Healing Journeys with the Black Madonna was published in 2019 with a Foreword by Rev. Dr Matthew Fox. Selected as one of the best percussionists in the world by DRUM! Magazine, Belloni’s work has been acclaimed in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and featured in Modern Drummer and Percussive Notes, amongst other publications. She has appeared in percussion festivals and theatres in Brazil, Argentina, England, Croatia, Poland, France, Italy, Spain, Australia, Korea,  Egypt and Israel, as well as throughout the USA and Hawaii. Belloni is a REMO artist and designer of her signature series of Italian tambourines; she is also author of the book and DVD Rhythm is the Cure, published by Mel Bay.

This interview with Jessica Hughes was recorded on 8th November 2020.