St. Olaf Classics students to perform ancient Greek comedy ‘Dyskolos’

St. Olaf students who will perform in the upcoming production of the Greek comedy ‘Dyskolos’ include Sean Pruett-Jones ’18 (crabby man), Astrid Eken ’21 (crabby lady), Dylan Walker ’18 (wearing blue with yellow rake), and Alex Davies ’21 (kneeling).

What happens when the goat-god Pan brings a city boy, a country girl, and a crabby old man all together? You get a play with a very happy ending!

A cast of 15 St. Olaf College Classics students, directed by Professor of Classics and Department Chair Anne Groton, will present an ancient Greek comedy, Menander’s Dyskolos (“The Crabby Man”), on March 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. in Christiansen Hall of Music, Room 233 (Fosnes Hall).

Both performances are free and open to the public; no tickets are needed. Since it is performed in a musical mixture of English (90 percent) and ancient Greek, no knowledge of Greek is required for understanding the show. The humor is suitable for children from about the age of 5 and up, so it’s a family friendly event.

Before the performances at St. Olaf, the troupe will go on a two-day tour. On March 7, they will perform at Parnassus Preparatory School, Benilde-St. Margaret’s School, Eagle Ridge Academy, and Macalester College. On March 8, they will perform at St. Croix Preparatory Academy, St. Agnes School, and Gustavus Adolphus College.

This will be the St. Olaf Classics Department’s 22nd production of an ancient comedy.

Menander (c. 343-291 BCE), a famous playwright from Athens, wrote more than 100 comedies in Greek; many of these were later adapted and translated into Latin by the Roman playwrights Plautus and Terence. Dyskolos, which won first prize at the Lenaea festival of 316 BCE, is the only complete play by Menander to have survived. After being lost for over 1000 years, it was rediscovered by chance in the late 1950’s, preserved in a papyrus codex from Egypt.