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The Bacchae at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park

Events, Lily's notes, Theater

Euripides’ complex and disturbing ancient play, The Bacchae,  about disrupting the so-called “natural” order in society, personal delusion vs reality,  and the consequences is produced movingly by the Public Theatre in Central Park as the second play for this season of  “Shakespeare in the Park”.

The score is by Philip Glass and  the play is given its bone-chilling, gripping life by a spectacular women’s chorus.  The score and chorus would be reason enough to see the play, and there is a very fine cast and production, as well. Try not to miss this production.

As a reminder if you haven’t read your classics in a while, the Bacchae are women who have entered a state of ecstasy and delusion by following the charismatic, seductive, handsome, pitiless, vengeful, god Dionysus. They destroy society by leaving their so-called natural subservient place in society and going up into the mountains for the “worship” of Dionysus: that is Bacchanalia which are orgies with hideous and murderous details. This is quite something for a summer play in the park.    

Do not miss the excellent notes and explanations in the Playbill about the  Bacchae, Euripides and His Times, and the Royal House of  Thebes, which will make you very appreciative that you are not a relative of the Royal House of  Thebes expected at up-coming  holiday dinners.

We left the park discussing the production and the complex issues raised by the play itself. There is plenty for all points of  view to discuss. That is the mark of a terrific production.

We saw this last night, in the open air of the Delacorte Theater, and as the actors invoked Dionysus, the god of Thunder, we were surrounded by nature’s spectacular lightning and  an approaching intense summer thunder storm.  The audience remained gripped by the play and left the park quickly due to the impending weather. Shortly after the end of the play, this storm hit Manhattan with terrific force, even toppling mature trees  into the streets as on West 88th St,  throwing branches onto the streets, sidewalks and cars,  sent cafe chairs sliding up Columbus Avenue,  and wrecked awnings around the Upper West Side.     

How to get your FREE TICKETS: arrive early in the day and wait on line (BTW: New Yorkers wait “on line”, it is a localism, the rest of you wait “in line”).  Seniors  65 and above have their own line, and there is now a Virtual Line. See the Public’s website for full details.

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