Performing Dido

Anna (John Holmes) and Dido (Alex Mills) in rehearsal

Anna (John Holmes) and Dido (Alex Mills) in rehearsal

 

On Saturday 21st September 2013, EDOX staged William Gager’s Dido (1583), a play inspired by Virgil’s Aeneid, commissioned to celebrate the official visit of the Polish Ambassador, Alberto Laski, to Oxford University. 430 years on, newly translated from Latin into English by EDOX researcher Elizabeth Sandis, it was staged in its original venue, Christ Church dining hall, accompanied by an Elizabethan style banquet.

Cupid (Matthew Monaghan) sits on the knee of audience member Emma Smith, with Aeneas (Chris Williams) and Dido (Alex Mills)

Cupid (Matthew Monaghan) sits on the knee of audience member Emma Smith, with Aeneas (Chris Williams) and Dido

 

 

 

Just as it was in Gager’s day, the play was performed by an all-male cast. Minister Counsellor Mr. Dariusz Laska from the Embassy of the Republic of Poland was in attendance. The production of Gager’s Dido was directed by Elisabeth Dutton and Matthew Monaghan.

 

Wardrobe Manager Liv Robinson transforming Alex Mills

Wardrobe Manager Liv Robinson transforming Alex Mills

The second half of this special double bill saw Dido, Queen of Carthage, written by Gager’s more famous contemporary Christopher Marlowe, staged in the same venue, giving audience members the chance to compare and contrast the two works. The production of Marlowe was performed by the critically-acclaimed theatre company from King Edward VI School (Stratford-upon-Avon), Edward’s Boys, directed by Perry Mills. Reviews below:

http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/bardathon/2013/09/22/dido-edox-christ-church-banqueting-hall-oxford/

http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/bardathon/2013/09/22/dido-queen-of-carthage-edwards-boys-christ-church-banqueting-hall-oxford/

 

 

Sunday 22nd September: British Academy conference 

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Reproduced by kind permission of Christ Church, Oxford

Thanks to the sponsorship of the British Academy, the two theatrical performances were followed by a one-day EDOX conference at Christ Church, entitled Performing Dido.

Laurie Maguire & Emma Smith explored connections between Dido & TheTempest; Marilynn Desmond discussed medieval Didos; Stephen Longstaffe discussed Dido as a ‘radio play’; Tania Demetriou considered classical and vernacular sources for Dido; Kirk Melnikoff explained the early print history of Marlowe’s play.

A volume, Performing Dido, edited by James McBain and Elisabeth Dutton, is planned.