Tragedy and Comedy in Cambridge
Every three years a production of ancient Greek drama is staged in Cambridge, in the original language with English surtitles. This week sees performances that include both a tragedy and a comedy each evening - Prometheus Bound (attributed to Aeschylus) and The Frogs (Aristophanes).
Featuring in both plays is Daniel Unruh, who is studying for a doctorate in Classics with the help of a Cambridge International Scholarship. In the first play he takes the role of Hephaestus, the god of fire and blacksmiths (amongst other things),who is tasked with binding Prometheus to the rock, and in the comedy he plays Pluto, the god of the underworld and afterlife. Although born in the UK, Daniel grew up in Canada and took a first degree in Classical Studies and Theatre at the University of British Columbia, followed by a Masters in Classics at the University of Western Ontario, before starting his research in Cambridge into relations between Greek city-states and autocratic monarchs.
The Cambridge Greek Play is a tradition which started in 1882, and famous names have appeared on the cast lists over the years - Rupert Brooke as the Herald in Aeschylus' Eumenides (1906), Sir Hubert Parry as the composer of incidental music to Aristophanes' The Birds (1883), and Ralph Vaughan Williams as composer of incidental music to Aristophanes' The Wasps (1909). More recently, actor Tom Hiddleston played Orestes in Sophocles' Electra in 2001.