Nowhere to Hide: PAC’s Iphigenia At Aulis
The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective is joining us this festival with their take on the strong and dynamic Greek Drama Iphigenia At Aulis. To help bring this classical piece to life they will hold it aboard the USS Olympia where both audiences and actors alike will be face to face in the intimate and unique space. Recently we reached out to Dan Hodge, the director of Iphigenia At Aulis, to get his thoughts on a few topics regarding the piece.
FringeArts: What attracted PAC to this particular piece
Dan Hodge: Iphigenia has actually been on our short list for several years. In Clytemnestra, it has one of the greatest leading female roles in Greek Drama and offers something substantial and rewarding for all of the central figures in the play. With its tense gender politics and the focus on personal sacrifice balanced against blind nationalism and warmongering, this seems like a really excellent piece to be exploring right now. The human costs of waging war are thrown into incredibly sharp relief when one has to choose the sacrifice of a child before the military can depart. It’s pretty strong stuff.
FringeArts: What do you feel are the main topics and themes brought up in Iphigenia at Aulis
Dan Hodge: It ultimately all comes back to family and trust. At the center of the piece we have this very tight family unit that is torn apart thanks to a hunger to maintain the pride of a country. We see how the women struggle to find agency and power in a social order stacked against them. And the choices they make are challenging and surprising.
FringeArts: Describe Iphigenia at Aulis in three words!
Dan Hodge: Unsettling. Exciting. Rich.
FringeArts: What challenges did you encounter by having such a unique venue
Dan Hodge: The main challenge was figuring out where exactly on the vessel would be the best fit for the piece. Despite her size, the USS Olympia doesn’t really offer any wide open spaces for audiences and performers below decks. With the changeable weather around the Fringe, we knew we couldn’t chance getting rained out topside, so we had to hunt for just the right spot. Since a tight fit was inevitable, I looked for a spot that wouldn’t offer a great deal of privacy to the characters. Something mid-ship and inhospitable. And, thanks to the tight quarters, the audience is going to be right on top of the action. There’s nowhere to hide – either for the actors onstage or the folks in the seats. This kind of proximity demands a real level of honesty and commitment that is immensely challenging and rewarding.
FringeArts: Is this the most nontraditional venue PAC has performed at?
Dan Hodge: Probably with the Tall Ship Gazela (The Sea Plays, Fringe 2013), it is. We have performed in several offbeat locations, but the two ships are spaces unaccustomed to the notion of true theatrical performance, and that’s what makes them exciting.
FringeArts: What are your personal hopes and goals for this performance?
Dan Hodge: I really want the audience to be challenged by the hard questions in the play. In the theatre, I am rarely interested in offering easy answers. I far prefer posing questions to send people away thinking and engaging in conversation. The best plays offer that, I think. In a perfect world, I want to send the audience through an hour of intensely involving human conflict and leave them with a singular theatrical experience that they will carry with them for years.
Thank you for taking time to speak with us Dan Hodge!
Iphigenia At Aulis
The Philadelphia Artists’ Collective
$25 / 60 minutes
Running between September 7th – 22nd
211 South Christopher Columbus Boulevard