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, morally ambiguous characters, opposing forces, lots of 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. Use the play as INSPIRATION. 


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.


Choose to write a STAGE PLAY or a movie/television script in SCREENPLAY FORMAT.. Be familiar with the conventions of that style. Use the models as reference.


Stage Play Pros

You are already familiar with the format!


Stage Play Cons

You are limited to ONE SETTING. On stage.


The audience cannot get up close and personal with the actors because they can only see from their seats.



Movie Script Pros

You can use camera angles to get up close to the characters and move angles.


You can move setting easily with cuts.


Easier to use special effects.


Movie Script Cons

You may not be familiar with the format, and it is very different than a play.




  1. Have a title and Character List. Provide a description of the characters: who’s who?
  2. PITCH PARAGRAPH. 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?
  3. SET UP PARAGRAPH: 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!
  4. CHORUS MUST REMAIN. 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.
  5. DIALOGUE. 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.
  6. ACTION DIRECTIONS A MUST. Be sure to have action directions. Follow the conventions of play or screenplay format depending on your chosen medium.
  7. ANCIENT TECHNIGUES. 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. In the footnote, explain HOW the term appears and WHY.
  8. HOW LONG? Be faithful to the scene/s you select. It should feel complete
  9. SLOPPINESS IS A NO NO. All sentences should be capitalized. All names, too.  Stage directions are italicized and in parentheses with punctuation in a play.  Movie scripts show location (INT or EXT for example). FOLLOW CONVENTIONS and PROOFREAD.
  10. Please submit to turnitin. One copy per pair.


Scene Selection Ideas: