Reproducing Iphigenia at Aulis
Keywords:Jane Lumley, Euiripides, early modern women's drama, greek tragedy, first world war centenary, politics, Lady Jane Grey, gender, performance, Rose Company Theatre, all-female performance, ceremony, sacrifice
Lady Jane Lumley’s Iphigenia at Aulis exemplifies the process of dramatic reproduction in the mid-sixteenth century and in 2014. Lumley’s translation (ca 1554) of Euripides’ tragedy is a text which revivifies the past to confront the emotional consequences of betrayal and loss. In the sixteenth-century context of Lumley’s own family, her translation disturbs and manages the emotional consequences of her father’s involvement in the sacrifice of Lady Jane Grey to fulfil the family’s political ambitions. My historicist approach juxtaposes a consideration of the play's performances in the Rose Company Theatre in 2014. Drawing on interviews with the director and actors and my observation of spectators’ reactions, I discuss the production's testing of the script’s immediacy for audiences in a present which had its own preoccupations with the past; namely, the centenary of the outbreak of World War I.
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