'Girls" Just Wanna Have Fun; "Quixote' Has Border Dreams
Within the next few weeks, two noted playwrights will be taking fresh looks at a pair of classic tales.
Octavio Solis has taken as his inspiration Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote and created Quixote Nuevo, a contemporary take on the tale which runs through Sunday, Oct. 13 at Hartford Stage. The show, which will also play Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company and Houston’s Alley Theatre, is directed by KJ Sanchez.
Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’s inspiration for the world premiere of Girls comes from a Greek classic, Euripides’ The Bacchae; Girls is receiving its world premiere at Yale Repertory Theatre in New Haven, from Friday, Oct. 4 through Saturday, Oct. 26.
“These works are appealing because the plays are so good in spite of being so very old,” says Jacobs-Jenkins. “They also seen actively obsessed with questions of identity and democracy.”
He points out that the Greeks’ idea of democracy was “the bedrock of American self-conception.”
‘We Wanted to Go to the Party’
The playwright, whose The Octoroon and Gloria were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize, says when he teaches classes on adaptations, the era and the genre that goes over best with students is always the Greek classics.
“Perhaps it’s because they’re such stunning examples of economy in storytelling, especially [the plays of] Euripides. They’re so modern it feels like psychology. And this is the last Greek play we have extant. It’s such an amazing piece of writing.”
When considering The Bacchae, Jacobs-Jenkins said he and friend and director Lileana Blain-Cruz asked themselves what they both most responded to.
“We agreed that we wanted to go to the party,” he says, referring to the original character of Dionysus, the spurned son of Zeus, who seeks revenge by driving the women of Thebes into an ecstatic frenzy, much to the horror of their families.