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The Classical Theater of Harlem The Bacchae Review

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In New York City, there are several parks renowned for its cultural activities.  Harlem’s Marcus Garvey Park Richard Rogers Amphitheater comes to life, this season with its annual outdoor Shakespeare in the Park.

This summer presentation by The Classical Theater of Harlem invites New Yorkers to ponder over Freedom, Ecstasy, Anarchy vs Law, Order, and Control…who wins? Rather, who survives in The Bacchae.

First produced in 405 BC, Euripides’ Bacchae tells the ancient story of the arrival of Dionysus, the god of wine and intoxication, in Greece. When Dionysus comes to the city of Thebes, he liberates the people from their homes, sending the citizens – dancing and drinking – into the hills. A young king, named Pentheus, tries to subdue the revelry and restore order to his city, waging an all-out war against the god. But when Pentheus first tastes the drug that has ravaged his city, he too succumbs to its power and is murdered by his own mother, in a deranged state of intoxication.


Carl Cofield (One Night in Miami, Dutchman, Antigone) directs this freshly adapted Euripides play by writer, translation, and artistic director of Theater of War productions, Bryan Doerries. Choreographed by Tiffany Rea-Fisher. 

A New York Times Critic Pick and rightly so allowing Shakespeare to be both accessible and understandable to all. Cause Shakespeare can be a little tough in the era of emoticons. All performances are free. Running time is less than two hours. And you will be supporting local artists.

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The play fits into the Harlem community. References to contemporary modes of live, banks of rivers, and familiarity with language. This is what makes this place able to connect with audiences, it is presenting the material in a way that able to be received without thinking too hard on it.

4 out of 5 stars.

Marcus Garvey Park’s Richard Rodgers Amphitheater
6316, Mt Morris Park W, New York, NY 10027

Dark on Mondays. Tuesday – Sunday 8:30pm.

Free and open to the public

Public Note:
This production uses projections and strobe lighting.
Stay hydrated.

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By Dexter Phillip-Khane

Dexter Phillip-Khane is the Deputy Editor at Bazaar Daily News. Covering interesting topics; food, and more — Phillip-Khane is a Trinidadian-American writer and photographer residing in New York City. To request secure communications access, e-mail [email protected] and ask for Signal.

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