Summer is Uptown! With Summer in full swing, take a moment to indulge in a New York City Treat – Theater in the Park! The Classical Theatre of Harlem has delighted us with another sensational re-take on an old classic. This time tackling Greek Tragedy: Euripides “The Bacchae” is about the young God Dionysus returning home to avenge his mother and her honor – no one believed her when she said she was pregnant by Zeus! Even his Aunts and cousin Pentheus – the King of the region slander her in death. King Pentheus bans the worship of the God Dionysus in their land. And so the Greek God returns with a vengeance and along with his followers – they tear apart the city. Dionysus is known for wine making, ritual madness, and religious ecstasy, popularly known as Bacchus! The women of the town including his Aunts are driven mad with ecstasy and take to the woods where they hunt and mate. Most of the action takes place on stage between the two cousins fighting for power.
The Classical Theatre of Harlem’s rendition is electric. This tale of jealousy and vengeance is updated with popular references and pop-culture anecdotes – there’s even time for a selfie or two! Recommended for audiences ages 11 and up – there are a few scenes where sexuality is referenced and gestured. Remember – this is a Greek play about Bacchus – it is spicy. For my 11 year old – we have discussed Greek mythology a great deal this year, and this play was an opportunity for the literature to come alive! You know your child best and what you’re comfortable with. Compared with some of the shows on television (Riverdale I’m looking at you) – this is less overt and more suggestive.
We really enjoyed this play, and it was an excellent evening out! The actors did a great job including the audience in the show as well! And of course every Greek tragedy includes an actual tragedy – this one is staggering.
The Bacchae is performed every evening at 8:30pm at Marcus Garvey Park – except Mondays! Until July 28th. Tickets are free, there is no assigned seating. Bring a park friendly snack and soak in some culture…Uptown.