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
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.
- Have a
title and Character List. Provide a description of the characters: who’s
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?
- 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!
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.
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.
DIRECTIONS A MUST. Be sure to have action
directions. Follow the conventions of play or screenplay format
depending on your chosen medium.
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.
LONG? Be faithful to the scene/s you select. It should feel complete
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.
submit to turnitin. One copy per pair.
Scene Selection Ideas:
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