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.
to write a STAGE PLAY or a movie script in SCREENPLAY FORMAT. Be familiar
with the conventions of that style.
- Have a
title and Character List. Provide a description of the characters: who’s
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
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!
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.
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.
sure to have action directions.
Follow the conventions of play or screenplay format depending on your
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
credit if you act out /film your scene for the class.
Scene Selection Ideas:
- Tieresias, Cadmus and Pentheus
clashing on how to handle the new god.
being imprisoned and breaking out.
Bacchae’s magical and violent field scene.
tempting Pentheus to spy on the Bacchae.
death of Pentheus.
aftermath of Dionysus’ revenge.
version mixing the above in a clever way