Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Aristophanes’ “Wealth” @ WSU (Ogden: Sept 27)
Wealth Was Blind but Now He Sees Who: Weber State University Honors Program & Department of Performing Art What: Aristophanes’ “Wealth” When: Tuesday, 27 September 2011 • 1:30 pm Where: Hetzel-Hoellein Room, Special Collections Weber State University Department of Performing Arts Greek Readers Theatre presents Aristophanes’ “Wealth,” Tuesday, September 27, 1:30 p.m., in the Hetzel-Hoellein Room, Stewart Library. This is a free performance and open to the public. The production is recommended for mature audiences only and contains mature themes and language. The cast is composed of WSU faculty, staff, students and members of the community. A brief synopsis of “Wealth”: A political satire on contemporary Athens, it features the personified god of wealth, Plutus, and uses such familiar character types as the stupid master and the insubordinate slave to attack the morals of the time. A virtuous but poor citizen, Chremylos, is told by an oracle to follow the next person he meets and invite him home. That man turns out to be the god Plutus — who is, contrary to all expectations, a blind beggar. The first part of the play examines the idea that wealth is not distributed to the virtuous, or necessarily to the non-virtuous, but instead it is distributed randomly. Chremylos is convinced that if Plutus’ eyesight can be restored, these wrongs can be righted, making the world a better place. The second part introduces the goddess Poverty. She counters Chremylos’ arguments that it is better to be rich by arguing that without poverty slaves would buy freedom and nobody would work if everyone were rich, so there would be nothing to eat or buy. After Plutus’ eyesight is restored at the Temple of Asclepius, he formally becomes a member of Chremylos’ household. At the same time, the entire world is turned upside-down economically and socially, giving rise to claims of unfairness from those who have been deprived of their riches. In the end, the messenger god Hermes arrives to inform Chremylus of the gods’ anger. The gods have been starved of sacrifices, since human beings have all directed their attention to Plutus. Hermes, worried about his own predicament, actually offers to work for the mortals and enters Chremylus’ house as a servant on those conditions. This is the 11th year of the Greek Readers Theatre celebration of Aristophanes’ comedies. His existing plays are listed below in the order they were written and including the year they were performed at WSU. Caril Jennings, the producer of this series, says, “My goal is to present all of Aristophanes’ work before I die. That means I only have one more years and this project will be complete. Then, I’ll just start recycling the scripts. He is always in style because there always seems to be a surplus stupidity to be satirized!” *The Acharnians (425 BC) at WSU: A Separate Peace in 2008 *The Knights (Equites) (424 BC) At WSU: The Suits in 2007 *The Clouds (Nubes) (original 423 BC, uncompleted version from 419 BC – 416 BC survives) in 2010 The Wasps (Vespae) (422 BC) scheduled for 2012 at WSU *Peace (Pax) (first version, 421 BC) at WSU in 2006 *The Birds (Aves) (414 BC) at WSU in 2003 *Lysistrata (411 BC) at WSU in 2001 and again on 03/03/03 *Thesmophoriazusae or Celebrating Women (first version, c. 411 BC) at WSU in 2009 *The Frogs (Ranae) (405 BC) at WSU in 2002 *Ecclesiazusae or The Assemblywomen (c. 392 BC) at WSU in 2005 *Plutus/Wealth (second version, 388 BC) at WSU in 2011 In 2004 an original script, “The Apology of Michael Moore” by Peter Vernezze, was performed instead of an Aristophanes play.