This pilot focuses on ancient drama literature and the values which were integrated into these works. In contemporary adaptations of ancient drama, the ancient texts are no longer confined to a narrow circle of scholars but are introduced in a wide spectrum of social life. They inspire and trigger various creative forces, those who seek ideas on human rights and the right of political asylum, expansionism, genocide, the conflict between East and West, and the concept of the “other”. They refer even to those who are concerned with psychoanalysis (e.g. Medea or Andromache). Furthermore, ancient texts provide an invaluable source for those who investigate human nature and values. Ancient texts trigger questions on their timeless and invariable nature or their historically dependent and ever-changing nature (e.g. the moral questions erupting from Antigone, Hecuba and Medea).

The author’s meaning may be inherent in the original text, but is appropriated and reproduced by the recipient, the reader, or the spectator, who is the final co-author of the meaning. The contemporary theory of reception holds that everything is a reproduction of (pre) existing texts. As Roland Barthes has argued, intertextuality is the state of any text. Therefore, all contemporary artistic creation is primarily a form of social co-creation and every theatrical production is always reproduction. Every meaningful act of writing loses a part of its original context when it is transferred and appropriated in a different context.

Every appropriation reinvents aspects of the present and releases the potential of a new explanation of the world and ourselves. Therefore, we have to address questions concerning the origins of values in a different historical era (eg antiquity), but we also have to understand how these values are reinvented by the directors, actors and the audience in the modern era.

Past of Values

This pilot wants to study values of antiquity, as can be found in stories like ancient Greek dramas. Greek tragedies and comedies, a unique cultural moment in history, used moral values and messages as a vehicle. These stories attempted to help audiences transcend the “here and now” of their own existence to the “elsewhere” of the mythicized story. We will add metadata related to values to selected plays, and we will interlink these with the “Registry of Values”, curated by NCSR-D's “House of Classical Greek Ideas” in Athens.

Present of Values

We will examine how these values are revisited in the present through modern theatrical reproduction of the classical plays. We will analyze how the contemporary appropriations of the texts create new meanings through acting, music, voice, sets, etc. and how a director chooses to present values coming from antiquity to the modern audience. We will also digitize the experiences and stories from modern creators (directors, actors, costume designers etc.) using iconic/significant theatrical reproductions as “case studies”. This digitized material will be used to enhance archival material maintained by theatrical organizations. In order to demonstrate how the results of the research can be used in museums, we will use the findings of the analysis to create an educational program for museum visitors. The program will be implemented in the “House of Classical Greek Ideas” museum and will be linked to the permanent exhibition.