'Promethues' bounds onto the Bates stage
“You’ve probably never seen Prometheus Bound on stage,” Lisa Maurizio said with a laugh, “because it’s very grim and nothing happens.” With Prometheus shackled to a rock for much of the play, it ain’t Neil Simon. But Maurizio, assistant professor of classics, took on the challenge of bringing the play to the Schaeffer stage during Short Term.
Why? For one, she got to collaborate with classics majors Melissa Mitchell ’01 of Eastport, Maine, and Mindy Newman ’01 of Atlanta. Together, they created an original translation.
“My eyes rolled when I talked about translating the play,” she admitted. “But their eyes lit up.” Endless cups of coffee at the Den kept the playwrights fueled as they tangled with the translation. At one point, the two seniors told the professor she was employing too many tricolons (e.g., “I came, I saw, I conquered”). “I told them they’d never get another cup of coffee from me,” she said with a laugh, “but I also realized at that point we had a true collaboration.”
Then, Maurizio worked with Assistant Professor of Theater Ellen Seeling, director of the production, who added a dynamic element to the play — puppets. Seeling is a noted puppet designer, and to represent the Greek chorus (the daughters of Ocean), she developed a series of Bunraku puppets, a Japanese art form dating back nearly 1,000 years.
Classics students and theater students developed the other unusual characters, such as the river princess Io, who’s been turned into a cow by Zeus. “How do you portray a cow?” Maurizio wondered. More collaboration: classics students talked about various Greek myths involving cows; theater students acted out cows. “They saw each others’ strengths.”
Seeling, who co-directed the play with theater major John Ambrosino ’01 of Avon, Mass., took the students’ ideas and created an armless lycra costume for the Io character, including a neck collar with dangling elements to represent the gadfly that torments Io.
So what about those tricolons that came between Maurizio and the students? “I kept the tricolons,” Maurizio said. “But when we started in rehearsal, the theater students began to say, “Geez, there sure are a lot of threes in this play.
“I guess my collaborators were right.”