Reflections on Prometheus Bound
Last semester, in the context of the Ancient Greek Mythology and Religion course, Professor Nina Papathanasopoulou and her students studied the mythological figure of Prometheus and his associations with pain, suffering, resistance, martyrdom, progress, and technological advancement through a variety of literary and material sources. To gain a new perspective on this figure, CYA professor Nina Papathanassopoulou took her class to see a performance of Aeschylus’ tragedy Prometheus Bound by the theater company Poreia at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus on September 20, 2021. The production was excellent and the students were fortunate to meet director Aris Biniaris and actor Yannis Stankoglou after the show. Papathanasopoulou then collaborated with 4 of the students, Ava Galbraith, Charlotte Glessner-Fischer, Molly McLeod, and Lauryn West, to write a scholarly review that was recently published in the online academic journal Didaskalia: The Journal for Ancient Performance. The students enthusiastically comment on their experience as spectators of the play and contributors to the review.
For me, seeing Prometheus Bound performed in the Odeon was almost entirely indescribable. The atmosphere was palpably charged, and the performance drew me in from the second the fogs rolled in as Prometheus was dragged onto the stage. Seeing this myth performed live in such a powerful portrayal within the ancient theater brought my perception of the tragic story to a whole new level beyond what I could have learned in the classroom.
Jacqueline Elia – CYA Fall ’21
The experience was life-changing. I have never experienced theatre that way. The setting and acting were truly incredible. The lights casting shadows on the ancient structure, the emotion and soul of the play captivating me so that even when I missed the translation on the screen I could feel what was happening on stage. And the unique feeling that you were seeing something thousands and perhaps millions of people had seen over the years, but this moment it is its own experience that no one else has.
Jessica Hopkins – CYA Fall ’21
The experience was magical! There is no better context for theatre than sitting with the Parthenon above you, and ancient stones around you, as you watch a modern take on an ancient story. I would describe the experience as the definition of bringing art to life and an integral part of helping me understand how history persists and why classical studies remain relevant and influential. Above all the enthusiasm of the actors and vie I loved every minute of it.
Grace Dodd – CYA Fall ’21
This was a marvelous experience and has provided me with valuable academic writing skills. Professor Papathanasopoulou was very encouraging and supportive to help develop the sections of the review I was working on. This experience with her has propelled my exploration of academia as a career choice.
Ava Galbraith – CYA Fall ’21
Collaborating on this play review was an amazing academic, professional, and personal experience through peer review, support and mentorship from Professor Papathanasopoulou, and editing advice from the journal. I am super thankful that I was given this opportunity as it combined attending theatre in an actual ancient theatre and the careful analysis of one director’s interpretation on a play I myself have read multiple times. I cannot wait to go back and see more performances in the Herodes Atticus!
Charlotte Glessner-Fischer – CYA Fall ’21
Nina Papathanasopoulou currently teaches the CYA course Ancient Greek Mythology and Religion. She specializes in Greek drama, mythology, and its reception. Her dissertation and early research focused on Aristophanes and his treatment of space, while her current research explores interpretations of Greek myths by the American dancer and choreographer, Martha Graham. She has published on Martha Graham’s reimagining of the myths of Medea and Ariadne and is currently working on Night Journey, Graham’s take on the myth of Oedipus. Read her full profile on the CYA website