Alexander Down Under

If you would ever like to write to me, you are more than welcome to do so – my e-mail address is thesecondachilles [at] gmail.com. I welcome all comments, (constructive) criticism, or e-mails written simply to say hello.
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The reason I mention my e-mail now is because I have just been into my account and set up an alert in the name of “Alexander the Great”. Google will now search the web on my behalf and report back any usages of Alexander’s name.
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This will be my second attempt to make use of the Alert feature; the first was a while ago and, I have to admit, wasn’t terribly successful. That’s not to say that it didn’t bring back any results but that the results it did return were as often as not sportsmen etc whose name was Alexander and had been nicknamed the Great. All very good for them, but not so much for me!
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Upon a whim, I have decided to give the feature a second go. Now that I think about it, I might add the name of Alexander’s generals to the alert, although sadly I have my doubts as to how many people are talking about them. If that is the case, at least I won’t be constantly getting references to ice hockey or basketball players called Antigonus Monophthalmus or Ptolemy I Soter.
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That aside, no sooner than I entered Alexander’s name this morning than I got a very interesting return – a play in Australia about his rise to the throne of Macedon.

SONS of Anarchy meets Greek tragedy in a black comedy performed at the Oxley Bowls Club this week.

Written by first-time playwright Shae Riches, Alexander tells the story of Alexander the Great struggling to claim his birthright and become the next King of Macedon.

Except it’s not a crown, it’s a presidency. And it’s not Macedon, it’s a bikie gang.

You can read the full report in the Courier Mail here.
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The concept of transplanting Alexander’s story to a bike gang is an interesting one, although I’m not sure I like the idea of it being treated as a black comedy. Having said that, I once saw a production of Euripides’ Helen* that was, if I remember correctly, had been translated into cockney English. On paper the dialogue looked awful but when heard on the stage it was brilliant so, of course, it is best not to judge before seeing.
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The play, titled Alexander, has been written by a student named Shae Riches. He says that it,

“… strips bare the meaning of ‘family’ … This is a tale in which nothing is as it seems and everything is permitted.”

The concept of what is a family is always worth thinking about, whether in our own day or antiquity. For example, can anything meaningfully called ‘family’ exist among people who are prepared – and do – kill their relations in order to obtain/keep power?
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I don’t recognise the idea that ‘everything is permitted’ as it relates to Alexander. He had firm boundaries within which he had to work. If he hadn’t, I am sure that more people would have died by the time he took his place on the Macedonian throne. However, that is just a first thought; in the first instance, it is good to see that Alexander’s story is inspiring a new generation of playwrights and actors. I hope the play is a success.

* Translated by Frank McGuinness

Categories: Alexander on the Stage | Tags: , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Alexander Down Under

  1. Welcome to the club! I have Google alert for Alexander and Hephaistion for a few years now and though sometimes it brings either too repetitive or irrelevant results, it allows me to be “in the know” on the subject.

    Like

  2. Alison

    I saw this play last night. The tension in the air was so thick that the audience was mesmerised. The character of Alexander (Leroy Jackson) was forced to make choices through the conniving actions of Attalus (Ben Knapton). The raw emotion of all characters was confronting, however I was pleased to see Alexander prevail. The emotional ties and devotion between Alexander and Olympias (Kelly Davis) was timelesss.

    Like

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