Ms. Gokturk



Hollywood, Here Come the Maenads


YOUR TASK:  Imagine you are a play director or a filmmaker.  You’ve been looking for material for a new film, and you’ve just stumbled upon The Bacchae, a play you read in high school.  You realize that it’s filled with complex characters, action, and possesses a dark, psychological side; however, you know that the ancient Greek theater style may not appeal to today’s audience, so you need to rework it.


Re-Write a Scene

Working alone (or in pairs), choose a scene from the play that you think would translate well into a modern film or play.  Use the original play as reference, but you may combine and/or omit parts of a section.  Be sure that your scene/s feel/s complete. Your finished scene should be the same number of pages as in the play. Work to develop the theme of opposing forces as Euripides does in each of his scenes.


  1. Choose to write a STAGE PLAY or a movie script in SCREENPLAY FORMAT. Be familiar with the conventions of that style.
  2. Have a title and Character List. Provide a description of the characters: who’s who?
  3. Write a “pitch” which sets up the premise of your remake. Please write a thoughtful and detailed paragraph summary explaining your overall adaptation.  What have you changed and why/how?
  4. Describe your setting.  You need to clearly paint the scene.  What place makes a good fit for the scene?  An urban setting?  A country-western? A suburban high school?  Be VIVID: show us the location. Your scene should not move from this place.  Stay here!
  5. You may NOT eradicate the Chorus, yet it can’t remain in the same format, so how will you change it?  Will its role be broken down into other parts? You might incorporate a gimmick like a news broadcast or a homeless crazy person cautioning the characters… They serve an important purpose: advising, providing back story, enhancing theme/s, and/or questioning and judging character behavior.  If you decide to cut it, its purpose/role needs to be worked in some other way, through the characters’ dialogue, for example.
  6. Rewrite the dialogue to fit the time and place you have selected. The play is graphic, but please be appropriate for a classroom audience. Be faithful to all that is in The Bacchae. Adapt but do not omit.
  7. Be sure to have action directions. Follow the conventions of play or screenplay format depending on your chosen medium.
  8. Incorporate at least TWO literary devices cited on the Aristotle’s Poetics page (plus the add ins) in your packet into your scene and footnote how you used it: anagnorisis, nemesis, peripeteia, hubris, hamartia, tragic hero, dramatic irony, stichomythic dialogue, deus ex machina, etc. Show that you know what these terms mean.
  9. **Extra credit if you act out /film your scene for the class.


Scene Selection Ideas: