Rising from its ashes like the Phoenix of antique fame, the Classical Club meets tonight at 8:15 o'clock in Leverett's Junior Common Room, to hold tryouts for Aristophanes comedy "The Birds," which it will present in Greek in early next spring.
The above classical simile is not quite an accurate description of the Club, since it has functioned quietly and efficiently since the brighter times in 1936 when it presented the "Mostellaria" of Plautus, also in the original tongue, to cheering crowds at the Tercentenary of which this was an official part.
But the regular business of the Club is nothing compared to the activity which fills the year in which the play is given, a terminal cycle which began in 1930 with Plautus "Menaechmi" and continued with the "Philoctetes" of Sophoceles three year later.
Play a Double-edged Satire
All the parts will be taken by members of the Club or other students who know something of the Greek language, and even the music is being written by students in the College.
Members of the Committee who are running the show, headed by Benedict Einarson, instructor of Classics, and President of the Club, explained yesterday why "The Birds" had been chosen. In the first place a Greek play is alternated with a Latin one, and this production has a minimum of long and difficult parts.
It is described as "a double-edged satire" on political Athens and on Utopias" and the classicists, in their eagerness to show that this ancient play is "good theatre," declare that satire of the New Deal can be read into a great deal of it.
They are determined that their production of this hearty comedy will not be an exotic and incomprehensible trick, and great attention is being paid to the staging, masks, costumes and various pieces of "business" which will make the play understandable and enjoyable to those who don't know the language.
The lustiness of the ancient dramatic will have to be toned down in order to harmonize with the more inhibited modern stage, and lest the novel case arise of a play in Greek censored by the local Watch and Ward society. All the obscene paraphernalia will be omitted, but, the officers say, "there will be no departure from strict archaeological exactitude."
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