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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Stanford Rep continues its Orson Welles festival with a visit from Mars

War.Frank.Chen-3By Ande Jacobson

Could the earth be overtaken by invaders from Mars? On October 30, 1938 a lot of people thought so when the Mercury Theatre on the Air presented a radio adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel The War of the Worlds. The broadcast took the form of a series of radio news reports, many on location as the invasion was supposedly taking place. Even with the disclaimer at the beginning of the broadcast that what followed was a fictional story, widespread panic ensued, in part because many listeners didn’t tune in at the top of the hour and missed the announcement. They were late because they had been listening to the Charlie McCarthy Show on a rival network, but that was in 1938. In the summer of 2014, Stanford Repertory Theater continues its Orson Welles festival with a must-see, fully staged version of this famous radio play. Continue reading

Stanford Rep sets sail on an imaginative journey

MDR.Frank.Chen-2By Ande Jacobson

Some works are timeless, tackling issues that are relevant throughout the human condition. Stanford Repertory Theater’s current offering fits that bill. In a production that captures the essence of theater and humanity, the company brings the captain and crew of the Pequod to life in an enthralling presentation of Orson Welles’ Moby Dick, Rehearsed. The play sparks the audience’s imagination and stretches the actors physically, musically, and intellectually when spectators and performers alike are drawn together as this classic story unfolds. Continue reading

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