From The Farmville Herald, February 18, 2000
The Hampden-Sydney Department of Fine Arts is proud to present this spring?s production of Sophocles? Philoctetes. This play, featuring a cameo performance by Hampden-Sydney President Samuel V. Wilson as the god Heracles, is being presented as part of the symposium on Immortal Troy. The play is being produced in a world premiere original translation by James Arieti, H-SC Thomason Professor Classics, with an originally composed score by James Kidd, H-SC Barger Professor of Music.
This ancient Greek play was first performed in 409 B.C. at the great Dionysia, the annual athenian play competition. It won first prize on the year it was presented and has remained a literary classic.
Set during the height of the Trojan War, Philoctetes tells of how the fleet of Agamemnon, the leader of the Greek forces at Troy, marooned the cponymous hero on the lonely isle of Lemnos after he suffered a wound. After ten years of ?exile,? as the war still rages on in Troy, it is prophesied that a magic bow in the possession of Philoctetes would bring new strength to the Greek forces.
Now it is the duty of Odysseus, the man who marooned Philoctetes, to travel to Lemnos and to seek the hero out, so that the Greeks may conquer Troy. However, still bitter from his exile. Philoctetes hates Odysseus. Needless to say, Odysseus has a difficult task in recruiting Philoctetes. What ensues is a complex psychological plot as Odysseus and the noble son of Achilles, Neoptolemus, try to trick Philoctetes into returning to the Trojan War. This show is sure to please any audience, whether fully versed in classical theatre or simply seeking an evening of fine dramatic acting set around the Trojan War, one of the most acclaimed and well-known events of the classical age.
The cast and staff for Philoctetes include Hampden-Sydney students and faculty. Set design and technical direction are by Matthew Dubroff, Fine Arts Department; video is by David Ellsworth, Fuqua Media Librarian; lighting design is by Eric Dearing, a Longwood College student. Director Shirley Kagan is in her third year as a professor of theatre at Hampden-Sydney. Her most recent credit is Lend Me a Tenor performed last Fall.
Philoctetes will be performed Feb. 25-26, March 2,3, and 4. All shows will start at 8 p.m. and tickets are $3 general public; $2 faculty/staff; all students free. For reservations or information call 223-7060 or 223-6266.