Bad News! i was there...

Theatrical legend JoAnne Akalaitis creates a site-specific processional performance exploring the monumental impact of the messenger character from classic drama.



Audiences are split into four groups, each led on a unique a journey through NYU Skirball's lobby, hallways, and out-of-the-way spaces where some of history’s most memorable messengers bring them tidings of bad news — and they do not spare the gory details. Taken from the works of Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles, Racine, and Brecht, tragic monologues are spoken and sung in a harmonious chorus of English, interwoven with Greek, Latin, German, and French, with movement influenced by the Indian Kathakali tradition. All paths lead to the empty stage where the performers tell the battle story from The Persians by Aeschylus, the oldest surviving play in Western Literature.



Created in the spirit of the Greek polis — where audiences came together to witness tragedies that called into question the rationality of mortals and the justice of the gods — Akalaitis draws a parallel between this ancient theatrical device and contemporary media coverage of horrifying events, where eyewitnesses often repeat a heartbreaking refrain of "I was there."

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