POSSIBLE SPOILERS BELOW.
If you’re at Exeter University, there’s a very good chance you’ve heard of the annual Classics play, which takes place in the M&D room. Last year’s comedy, Lysistrata, had us all in floods of laughter and bombarded with men wearing far too much make up. This year however, I am pleased to say that Classics Society’s attempt at Greek Tragedy has been quite a success in a totally different way.
It is not enough to say that I enjoyed it. Entering into the theatre, I was hit with a chilly blast of air – and greeted with a thick smog surrounding the stage. Before us stood Ajax, in all his manic bloody breathlessness; staring down the audience as if we were his next lambs for the slaughter.
‘A credit to Classics Society.’ – audience member
Without going into too much detail of the plot for those of you seeing the final performance – I thoroughly enjoyed the hour-long show. Of particular pedigree was Jessica Ramsey as Agamemnon, who could single-handedly bring down Troy with the icy glares she shot our way. Also of note was Jonny Wood as a chorus member – whose stoic manner dissolved into very believable tears at one point. Many of the cast delivered speeches as if they were still fighting the war – their tired, sweaty, heated arguments were captivating.
‘Chilling and mesmerizing.’ – Treasurer
The crew must have worked meticulously to produce such a good adaptation. I felt it was of a reasonable length, and the style of production was markedly effective. The redesign into a modern warfare type setting was a favourable move, and of interest to me as an army cadet. This was especially engaging since the row that we sat on happened to be at level with the stage, so we really felt part of this fateful piece.
‘Better luck next year.’ – nameless person (who may or may not be Social Secretary)
We were entreated to the heartfelt hopeless rage during Ajax’s death monologue, traumatically delivered by Aldert White who, in hindsight, I could not have imagined a better role for. His fervently firm interaction with his wife, Tecmessa, was a powerful nod to the play’s ancient Thespian constitution.
‘I have relished getting into the disparaging nature of Ajax, and have thoroughly enjoyed working with such a great cast and director – they really made the performance exceptional.’ – Aldert White, on his experience as Ajax
For an amateur production, I am very impressed; especially since many of my friends took to the stage – performing in front of friends is probably more terrifying than the Trojan War itself. Simply, I hope it will be as good next year as it was tonight, but hopefully there will be less golden-syrup flavoured blood.
‘A noble man must either live in honour or else have died in honour. That is all.’ – Sophocles, Ajax
(Sophocles’ Ajax was performed by members of The University of Exeter’s Classics Society, Whose webpage is viewable here)