What did the Greeks ever do for us?
They may seem geographically distant and removed from us by a vast expanse of time but the reach of the ancient Greeks is profound. Their tales are often still at the very hearts of the stories we share to this day. We don’t give a second thought to poor Ovid when we say that someone is narcissistic or that they have the Midas-touch – but perhaps we should.
Above and beyond those stories though, the Greeks took the raw ingredients of magic, ritual, religion and ceremony and created something that arrests our attention and changes the way we look at the world to this day – they developed the art-form of drama. Since that time drama has had us laughing and crying in equal measure, sometimes at the same moment. The theatre that the Greeks plucked from the hot Athens air more than two and a half thousand years ago has spawned TV and film but no mere screen can live up to being in the same room at the same time as the living breathing performers. They invented a way to share not just tales but dreams and radical ideas; they gave us a way to look deep into ourselves by pretending that we’re looking at everybody else. It is an art-form which has somehow managed to stay almost the same at heart whilst continually reinventing itself.
With our performance tonight we pay our respects to those ancient ones, but we also are treating some of their material with what we hope is Blue Apple’s trademark affectionate irreverence. We can do this because we know that they were just like us – they were every bit as pompous and absurd and wonderful and virtuous as us. How do we know this? We know because of the stories that tell us and the drama they gave to us.
Writer's introduction to Changes
Ovid began his epic poem Metamorphoses (which in Greek means ‘Transformations’) with the words “Changes of shape, new forms, are the theme which my spirit impels me to recite”.*
The hundreds of stories of transformation that cascaded into his vast narrative came from the rich seams of Greek and Latin literature and mythology. The scale of the work could not have been more ambitious, beginning as it did with Creation and ending in Ovid’s own time. It was scarcely finished when (in 8 AD) the poet was sent into exile, for reasons now unknown; but his tales are embedded in the DNA of European culture, from Chaucer, Shakespeare and Titian to folksong and children’s storybooks.
Shape-shifting lies at the heart of theatre, of acting, and of life itself, as we explore who we are and what we might become. As the boundaries dissolve between humans, animals, trees and stars, these myths reveal our closeness to the rest of the natural world and our shared vulnerabilities and strengths.
Changes takes a handful of Ovid’s immortal tales and holds them up to the particular light that Blue Apple’s inimitable company shines upon the world.
*David Raeburn’s translation for Penguin, 2004
Cast & Crew
Helpline Caller: Chris Pearce
Jupiter: Neil Bennett
Juno: Katie Appleford
Apollo: James Benfield
Minerva: Anna Brisbane
Bacchus: James Ducarreaux
Pan: James Smith
Arachne: Elena Moody
Tourist Guide: Luke Williams
Tourists: Sam Morely, Adam Giles, Ned Whitley, Henry Beddow
Thetis & Peleus
Thetis: Katy Francis
Peleus: James Elsworthy
Echo & Narcissus
Tiresius: Aaron Pressman
Narrator 1: Lucy Parrott
Narrator 2: Polly Troupe
Liriope: Coline Cadoret
Echo: Ros Davies
Narcissus: Lawrie Morris
Midas, The Golden Touch & Asses Ears
Silenus: Tommy Jessop
Servants: Sue Dashper, Katie Cole, Neil White
Midas: Tom Hatchett
Princess: Katy Francis
Butler: Ryan Nicholas
Host: Sam Morley
Rogue Actor: Jack Porter
Hairdresser: Andrew Malster
Dancing Pan: David Hunt
Echo Ensemble & ‘Changes’ Chorus:
Daniel Austin, Dan Chopra, Katie Cole, Sue Dashper, David Hunt, Andrew Malster, Lucy Parrott, Alice Peck, Michelle Pluck, Jack Porter, Lucy Thomas, Polly Troup, Ros Davies, James Elsworthy, Jocelyn Kirby, Bryony Mann, Elena Moody, Chris Pearce, Lawrie Morris, Aaron Pressman, Laura Walton.
Director: Richard Conlon
Choreography: Amanda Watkinson
Lead Rehearsal Assistant: Michelle Pluck
Set Design: Mark Pyke
Costumes: Polly Perry
Puppets: Nigel Luck
Production & Stage Management: Paul Milford
Lighting Design & Operations: Maria Chirca
Live Music: Sarah Scutt
Graphic Design: Richard Williams
Photography: James Yeats-Brown
Printing: Diguru Ltd.
Thursday 15, Friday 16th, and Saturday 17 June 2017
at Theatre Royal Winchester