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Release: Immediate

UI Classics department presents Greek drama performance, lectures

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa classics department is kicking off a series of events on Greek drama with two performances by the London touring group Aquila Theatre Company Feb. 21 and 22.

The Aquila Theatre Company is returning to Iowa for a seventh time to perform an ancient play by Aristophanes, "Birds," at 8 p.m. in the Space/Place Theatre in North Hall. Tickets are $7.50 each and are available from Hancher Box Office or at the door.

The "Birds" performance is considered a fresh, accessible translation of the play, complete with myth, political satire, music, dance and plenty of humor. The story involves two men from Athens who, disgusted with their home city, go to the birds to find a better place to live. Transformed to birds themselves, they create Cloudcuckooland. Their new city is paradise between heaven and earth until it begins to look alarmingly like the old Athens they left behind.

"This should be the most elaborate production Aquila has brought here yet," said UI classics Professor Robert Ketterer. "The play is full of music and spectacle, with a whole cast of Greek gods, and a chorus of birds that sings, dances and takes over the Universe while its at it."

Aquila has received critical and academic acclaim for innovative productions of classical drama and comedy and has produced eight highly successful tours and performed at more than 60 colleges and universities throughout North America. Their UI appearances have included "Frogs," "Agamemnon," "Wasps, "Philoctetes" and a retelling of Homer's "The Iliad."

In conjunction with the performances, there will be a series of public lectures on Greek drama.

Geoffrey Bakewell, professor of classics at Creighton University, will give a talk, "Metics, Tragedy and Civic Ideology at Athens," at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 20 in the Pappajohn Business Administration Building, Rm. W401.

Theodore Buttrey, professor emeritus of University of Michigan, is a UI Ida Beam Lecturer and will present a series of five talks under the theme, "Shape and Meaning in Greek Tragedy," beginning Thursday, March 13. For a complete schedule, contact Mary Depew at (319)335-2938.

The Aquila performances and accompanying lectures are made possible by support from the UI department of classics, the College of Liberal Arts and the Office of the Provost. Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI sponsored events. Persons with disabilities who require an accommodation in order to participate may contact the department of classics at (319)335-2323.