It’s one thing to read a Greek tragedy to learn what defines the genre but it’s a completely different thing to understand it from the inside out. This week, Bay’s Drama 1B students were asked by teacher Mary Ann Rodgers (herself a professional actor and theater director) to collaboratively adapt the form. Each student had to bring in a story that they wanted to adapt into a Greek tragedy, and then as an entire class of 10-12 students, they had to write a play incorporating all of the elements of a Greek tragedy. One class took the approach of grouping together, as if in a writer’s room, to create their story, while the other class shared documents, each reviewing and adding to each draft.
After the stories were adapted, acting roles were assigned, and the play was directed and rehearsed by the entire class. Every step of the process was a collaborative effort and one the most challenging things was creating a story where the “tragedy” happened off stage. Since the act of killing was traditionally forbidden to be seen by the audience in a Greek tragedy, the class had to get creative with how the characters died off stage and how it was incorporated into the scenes. The classes performed their pieces for other members of the Bay community and, afterward, answered audience members’ questions about their experience.