ND Alum Ellen Maddow Previews The Talking Band's "Obskene" at HERE

October 24, 2012


by Ellen Maddow, New Dramatists Class of 2010

I am working on a deliciously challenging new theatre work that is opening on November 1 at HERE Arts Center. Its called Obskene and It is a Talking Band production conceived and directed by my colleague and fellow founding member, Tina Shepard. Obskene, the Greek word for offstage, refers to the violent and horrendous acts of violence that took place offstage in the classic Greek theatre. It is related to the modern word obscene.

The play is in two sections, the first, performed by myself and Paul Zimet, features the fabulously gory messenger speeches from the classic Greek plays.

For the second section, Tina asked a bunch of playwrights, (many of them New Dramatists residentss and alums), to write modern day messenger speeches, for events that take place in the year 2018. The task seemed daunting at first, I admit, but there are certainly horrendous acts of violence surging up daily all over the world, and we still depend on other people to go to wherever the action is and report back to us. I was particularly interested in the character of the messenger/reporter - how does who they are define how they tell us about what they see? And does what they see change them forever?

The result of our theatrical ruminations on this subject are being stirred up, stripped down, and smashed up against each other by an energetic group of young reporters in a cramped newsroom - a chaotic global milkshake of information sucked up through a tiny straw.

Here is a list of the playwrights in alphabetical order - Aeschylus, Euripides, Marcus Gardley, Sidney Goldfarb, David Greenspan, John Jesurun, Ellen Maddow, Deb Margolin, Lizzie Olesker, Seneca, Paul Zimet.

Come see it!