Love Magic at the Royal Exchange

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, News ~ by Press on  7 Aug 2019

A play written more than 2300 years ago will be performed in Newcastle for 4 nights from 14 – 17 August from 7pm at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Bolton St Newcastle, in association with Stray Dogs Theatre Company.

Love Magic is a dramatic monologue written by the ancient Greek poet Theocritus around 280-260 BCE featuring a young woman scorned by her lover.

The performance is a research project funded by the Centre for 21st Century Humanities led by Professor Marguerite Johnson, a researcher of Classics, magic and gender. Conjoint Professor Michael Ewans has translated the play and will act as Director of the performance. Professor Johnson says the play, even though thousands of years old, is still relevant today.

In ancient Greece fickle boys dumped girlfriends after having sex with them, just as they do today. But the girls had one remedy which modern young women don’t – magic!” Professor Johnson said.

We watch Simaitha, played by Siobhan Caulfield, trying to deal with her loss in this dramatic monologue written around 2 millennia ago, and learn from her impassioned performance how little the human heart has changed.”

It is a unique play because its heroine is a young unmarried woman, usually ‘invisible’ and without a voice in ancient Greek society.”

Professor Johnson will act as dramaturg during the rehearsal process, advising on the aspects of ancient magic in the ritual which the principal character, Simaitha, performs.

Professor Johnson says that the performance will not only be entertaining but will enable scholarly research to take place.

Our research project investigates how the monologue might have been performed in Alexandria 2,300 years ago, how it might be performed today, and what impact it will make on contemporary audiences. There will be an audience questionnaire, which will enable us to evaluate their responses,” she said.

Following the short Love Magicplay will be another one-act performance by Stray Dogs Theatre Company called Behind the Wireby Carl Caulfield. Based in contemporary Australia it features a foreign national being questioned in a detention camp.

Tickets for the plays are $25 ($20 concession) and can be purchased only at the door on the night at the Royal Exchange Theatre. Doors open at 7 pm – first in best seated!

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