Stanford Rep celebrates female ingenuity strikingly combining Euripides’ ‘Hecuba’ and ‘Helen’

By Ande Jacobson

This summer, Stanford Repertory Theater’s festival is aptly entitled Nevertheless They Persisted in tribute to the strength and perseverance of women throughout history striving to overcome oppression. Rush Rehm again helms the live theatrical portion of the festival, directing a work that he and Courtney Walsh (the star of the production) adapted and combined from two of Euripides’ plays, Hecuba and Helen. This new adaptation, Hecuba/Helen, is presented in two acts running approximately two hours including a short intermission. Rehm, a professor of Theater and Classics, has long noted the relevance and value of Greek tragedies, and through a stroke of inspiration pursued combining these two stories of strong women from a time and patriarchal culture when women had no official power. He sees many lessons for today’s societal turmoil in these ancient writings and is excited to bring this adaptation to Stanford Rep audiences. In his program note, Rehm reveals the relevance of Euripides’ writings from a societal perspective:

“Disturbing and terrible, recognizable and even funny, Euripides’ plays have much to offer us – a society that aggressively denies its own obvious limitations and has so little interest in the lessons of the past.”

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Finding happiness where you can

sst-hd-6By Ande Jacobson

Samuel Beckett has been described as an Irish avant-garde novelist, playwright, theatre director, and poet known for his use of dark humor, absurd situations, and extreme precision in his writing. The second stage production of Stanford Summer Theater 2013 is Beckett’s Happy Days, a play that’s billed as a comedy “unparalleled in its comic precision and deep humor.” Some may quibble with that description, but for Beckett aficionados this is a “not to be missed” production. For those not so enamored, it could make for a very tedious evening. Continue reading