Synopses & Reviews
The different ways in which Greek tragedy has been used by playwrights, directors and others to define African American history and identity are explored in this work. Two models are offered for an Afro-Greek connection: Black Orpheus, in which the Greek connection is metaphorical, expressing the African in terms of the European; and Black Athena, in which ancient Greek culture is "reclaimed" as part of an Afrocentric tradition. African American adaptations of Greek tragedy on the continuum of these two models are then discussed, and plays by Peter Sellars, Adrienne Kennedy, Lee Breuer, Rita Dove, Jim Magnuson, Ernest Ferlita, Steve Carter, Silas JOnes, Rhodessa Jones and Derek Walcott are analyzed. The concepts of colorblind and nontraditional casting and how such practices can shape the reception and meaning of Greek tragedy in modern American productions are also covered.