Tuesday, March 28, 2006

If I could turn back time...

I recently posted a question to the boards at ENW about what you'd do if you were a time traveler.
Since I've been thinking about it again, I'll post mine.

1. Battle of Kadesh: 1274 BCE. Largest chariot battle in history. 5,000 chariots and 9,000 foot soldiers. Of course, with 5,000 chariots in the desert, seeing what was going on would be the hard part, but it couldn't be any more confusing than watching hockey on TV.

Id take at least three trips involving the theater, my largest artistic passion. In Chronological order those would be:

2. Attend the Greater Dionysia, the dramatic festival of the ancient Greeks. If I timed it right I could see plays by Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides performed in one sitting. I'd also get to see a Satyr play. We have one fragment of one of these plays surviving although they were performed every year (meaning there were hundreds of them written).

Maybe I'd write a paper when I got back. Or sacrifice a pig and carry a phalloi (baton shaped like a penis) to honor Dionysus. Its hard to pick just one of those celebratory options.

3. Attend a Mystery Play. These were the passion plays, the plays about biblical events that signal the first rebirth of drama since the fall of the Roman empire. While we have about 100 of these plays extant in written form, there's still a lot of doubt about how they were performed and it would be fascinating to see one in the round.

4. Elizabethan theater tour. Coulnd't just see one play here. It would have to be a long trip. Maybe a few years. Id have to see a bunch of Shakespeare, at least a few Marlowe, a Ben Jonson or two, some Fletcher and Beaumont (great comedic playwrights of the age) as well as at least two John Webster plays (Duchess of Malfi and the White Devil).

Oh and Fletcher's collaborations with Shakespeare too. Like I said, long trip.

5. Gettysburgh Address. Of course we've all read it, but hearing this great orator deliver his greatest speech would be something.

6. See/meet the "real Homer" if there was one. Barring that, hear a wandering poet sing the Iliad in his native Greek.

That's my list. Pretty lame huh. No atomic bomb droppings or military carnage (except for that first one I guess).

What can I say, Im a lover not a fighter.


1 comment:

Larry Clapp said...

I've thought a bit about time travel too. I'd like to see a couple of things, in no particular order:

o dinosaurs
o the conception, birth, and crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth

I'm sure other things would occur to me, and probably edge out these four, in "real life" if I actually got the opportunity, but that's the list for the moment. :)

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