Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

All Greek to me

Last night the Clever Boy and the Catholic Schoolmaster betook themselves to the Oxford Playhouse to see Clytemnestra, the triennial Greek play production from the Oxford University Classical Drama Society. It is quite a few years since I attended a production in Greek of a classical play, and this time the play was accompanied by an on-screen simultaneous translation either side of the stage.

Aeschylus' Oresteia was first perfomed in 458 BC, and 2,469 years later the play has lost little of its raw impact. The performances were good, and displayed both technical ability and real understanding. It is very good that such a tradition can be maintained, and indeed appreciated - the theatre was full.

Over supper afterwards we ruminated whether one could interpret the Furies in their pursuit of Orestes as Social Services, as usual arriving too late on the scene, offering to the House of Atreus courses in bereavement counselling, anger management and family conflict resolution.

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