Theatre students bring a Greek classic to Oakland

By Kevin Romanchik

Oakland University’s Theatre Program and the Department of Art and Art History teamed up this summer from June 20 to July 14 to take students from Theatre 482 and Studio Art 396 classes to Greece for the Classical Theatre Study in Greece program.

Participants were able to perform the very popular and ancient Greek classic tragedy,”Medea,” originally written by Euripides and produced in 431 B.C.

Students performed on the island of Hydra and Spetses in the outdoor amphitheatre. Every student had a role in the play.

The program is a capstone class originally created by in the 70s by Arthur Beer, a professor at University of Detroit Mercy.

OU and Mercy’s partnership began in 2001. The way the program is designed, theatre professors Karen Sheridan, Kerro Knox and Gregory Patterson have been taking students to Greece every other year since then.

Students stated it was a treat to have the chance to perform in a place, where theatre is deeply rooted in the culture.

The audience was packed with native Greeks from the island as well as tourists from around the world.

“It was just so amazing because we got to do the play in the place where it was written. It helped build up some of the dynamics of the show,” Abigail Alexander, senior theatre major said.

Professors Andrea Eis and Knox performed on stage alongside students, while Sheridan directed.

This is the first year since 2001 that the colleges did not partner up through the program— it was also the first year Beer did not attend.

Since all performers were from OU, it was decided to bring the play to campus. “Mede”‘ will be shown in the Varner Studio Theatre Sat., Sept. 10 starting at 2 and 8 p.m.

“I’m really excited for my fellow students to see what we did. Pretty much everything will be the same as it was in Greece,” said Lauren Wainwright, senior Musical Theatre major.

Though the play was originally supposed to stay in Greece, students are excited to bring it back to the states

“We had two performances in Greece and a lot of us wanted to do it again,” Alexander said. “We had a lot of people, friends and family who were interested in what we were doing over there, and they all said they’d love to see it.”

The performance is one hour running with no intermission, admittance is free. All donations collected at the door will be accepted and put towards the student theatre organization “Actors and Techies,” which is raising money to bring students to the American College Theatre Festival in Illinois this January.

Sheridan encourages involvement. “People need to take advantage of theatre because it’s a live experience.”