The Reviews are In! Argonautika is a Wonder Worth Witnessing

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Welcome to the final Argonautika blog post! We cannot thank you enough for your support of our production, and taking the time to read more about it. The show closes this Saturday, June 17 and it has been one wild ride. We hope that if you were able to attend the performance, that you learned much more about Greek mythology, and enjoyed the messages, the spectacle, the humor, and the chance to experience truly extraordinary live theatre.

To end our blog, here is a collection of reflections from various sources: from the online media, from BYU theatre professors who saw the show, and from cast members: Also, enjoy our a collection of production photos, courtesy of Michael Handley. Continue reading

The Lobby Display: Books, Puppets, Costumes, and Constellations!

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Our show opened Friday, June 2 and the audience and actors are enjoying every minute of this incredible production. To read an article about the show from BYU’s newspaper, The Daily Universe, entitled, “BYU’s Argonautika Displays a Creative, Collaborative Effort” click here.

To read a critique by Russell Warne of the Utah Theatre Bloggers Association (UTBA), entitled, “An Adventurous Argonautika at BYU” click here.

Our show runs from now until June 17. Be sure to get your tickets and venture with us to Greece to help Jason and his loyal Argonauts seize the Golden Fleece!

On your way in and out of the Pardoe Theater, be sure to examine our two lobbies and perhaps even take part in the activities available for you. Let’s examine each lobby display a bit more closely.

NORTH LOBBY:

NORTH LOBBY

The back wall of the north lobby display features 30 of the costume renderings (by designers Hanna Cutler and Juliette Lewis), along with Greek pillars, pottery, a bust, a map of the constellations and character affiliations, a list of 18 books on Greek mythology (refer to the south lobby display), and a craft center for making your own golden fleece puppet to take home. Continue reading

Loyal, Brave, and Strong: Argonautika Workshop at Provo City Library

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

The cast after the costume parade & showing off the amazing set!

We are about to set sail, and we hope that you can join us! Argonautika opens at the end of the week, Friday, June 2 at 7:30 pm. We perform in the Pardoe Theater in the Harris Fine Arts Center on Campus. See you there! For tickets, visit:  http://arts.byu.edu/event/argonautika/2017-06-16/

To advertise and promote the production to the community, the cast of Argonautika presented a workshop to in the ballroom at the Provo City Library on Monday, May 15 from 7:00 – 7:45 pm.

Professor and artistic director Megan Sanborn Jones helped facilitate, and students Kindi Nybo and Taylor Stroupe were the workshop presenters. These two will also be workshop instructors at the Lunch and Learn events before certain matinees of the play.

Continue reading

“It’s Greek to Me!”: Greek History, Culture, Language, and Mythology

by Haley Flanders and Katie Jarvis, dramaturgs

Χαίρετε (Chaírete)!

That’s “Hello” in Greek. This blog post provides more insight into our play’s setting of Greece and the wonderful world of Greek mythology. Since our story is based on a very popular myth about Jason and the Argonauts, perhaps these tidbits of Greek history, literature, and language will make Argonautika that more enjoyable for you. You’ll feel right at home on the Argo, especially since we have the Greeks to thank for a lot of our ways of thinking and the world in which we live.

Greece is at the center of western civilization origins. Our culture is strongly influenced by the ancient Greeks, particularly in architecture, politics, theatre, the Olympics, philosophy, literature, religion, to only name a few. Much of our systems and structures today in North America can be traced back to Greek beginnings. Thus Greece should feel commonplace and even familiar to us. Thus the irony in the following famous phrase:

“It’s Greek to Me!” 

When you do not understand what is being said or written, you can simply say, “It’s Greek to me!” Greece truly is everywhere we look! Even when we do not know what we are talking about, we are talking about Greece! Yet where did this phrase come from? This popular idiom came from the play Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, in a scene where Casca could not understand what an upset Caesar was saying. All things in a foreign language sound confusing, so it could all sound “Greek” to you…unless, of course, you know Greek! The myth of Jason and the Argonauts was originally told in Greek. Here are some words to help you get a taste for how the original myth might have looked and sounded. If you practice the Greek language and alphabet, perhaps mythology won’t be so “Greek” to you after all! Continue reading

Meet the Cast of Argonautika (Part 2 of 2)

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Welcome back to our tribute to the amazing actors of Argonautika. If you haven’t had a chance to see our previous blog post, “Meet the Cast of Argonautika (Part 1 of 2)” it featured the following eight actors:

  • Christine Detweilerhuddle
  • Tommy Kindall
  • Olivia Ockey
  • Jordan Peterson
  • Samm Madsen
  • Ezra Chia
  • Molly Howard
  • Ian Buckley

This blog post features the remaining eight actors in the show. This post is also unique because it features the cast members (1/4 of the cast, in fact) from Utah Valley University (UVU)! This is a joint-university production, mainly because our director Janine Sobeck Knighton is a professor at UVU and worked for BYU as well. We hope you enjoy reading about their backgrounds, favorite things about being the show, future theatre goals (perhaps you will see them somewhere in the future), and getting a behind-the-scenes sneak peek into their work in rehearsals.

Don’t forget to buy your tickets! Our show runs from June 2-17 in the Pardoe Theatre (HFAC) on campus. See you there!

Continue reading

Meet the Cast of Argonautika (Part 1 of 2)

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Welcome to part 1 of 2 blog posts dedicated to cast introductions. The biographies in the program will teach you a little about these talented and dedicated performers…in fifty words or less! That is just simply not enough, don’t you agree? Luckily, this remarkable cast has provided behind-the-scences information about their backgrounds, majors, things they love about the show, and their goals in theatre after Argonautika. Here are 8 cast introductions. Tune in soon for part 2, with information on 8 MORE actors, equally as wonderful and gifted as the ones you see here. And don’t forget to buy your tickets. The show opens June 2 and runs through June 17 in the Pardoe Theatre on BYU Campus (Harris Fine Arts Center). See you there!

Christine1 copyMeet Christine Detweiler

Characters: Aphrodite, Meleager’s Mother, and a Goddess of the Desert

From: Ashburn, Virginia

College: Senior at BYU, majoring in Theatre Education with a minor in English

Favorite thing about acting in this play: Being able to tell such a unique story with so many creative storytellers (plus the killer heels).

Theatre goals: I want to be a high school theatre teacher.

Christina

Christine in rehearsal for Argonautika, instructing the Argonauts on the Argo.

Continue reading

Argonauts, Gods, and Monsters, Oh My! Argonautika Character and Cast List

by dramaturg, Haley Flanders

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Are you ready to set sail with our Argonauts? They have been practicing and preparing in rehearsal.

Welcome back, future voyagers! To prepare to attend the show June 2-17 in the Pardoe Theater, here is a list of the show’s characters, placed in the following categories:

  • Argonauts
  • Gods, Goddesses, and Creatures
  • Other Characters

Brief descriptions have been provided. A character map will also be featured in the program. This will help you see how everyone fits together. Plus, the costume renderings below (provided by co-costume designers Hannah Cutler and Juliette Lewis) will help you recognize the characters on stage. Lastly, many actors in our 16-member cast play multiple characters in the show, so a cast list is provided at the bottom of the blog, which will also be in the program. Mary Zimmerman (and greek mythology) sure do love lots of people in their stories! Perhaps it makes it more epic and unforgettable. If you desire to do more research on Greek mythology, I recommend these sites:

THE ARGONAUTS

JasonJason

  • nephew to Pelias,
  • husband to Medea,
  • captain of the Argo
  • leader of the Argonauts

Continue reading

Meet the Director: Janine Sobeck Knighton

by Haley Flanders, dramaturg

Argonautika opens June 2 and runs through June 17 in the Pardoe Theater in the Harris Fine Arts Center. This blog post contains 2 EXCLUSIVE interviews with our show

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Janine Sobeck Knighton (Photo Credit: Heather Keil Photography)

Would you like to learn more about the director of BYU’s production of Argonautika? It is none other than UVU dramaturgy and new play works professor, Janine Sobeck Knighton! Janine has worked for BYU as the head of the dramaturgy program and is excited to be working as a director on this fabulous production, which is very close to her heart. This blog contains two EXCLUSIVE interviews with Janine. One by the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas (LMDA) and one by Katie Jarvis and myself.

Interview #1: LMDA

Janine was recently spotlighted on the Facebook page for LMDA: Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas. She was on the board of this prestigious organization. She has a BA, MA, and MFA in theatre. She has published articles on dramaturgy and guided students to win awards and notable mentions at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival. She has been dramaturg for both stage and film. Enjoy reading the interview conducted by LMDA on our wonderful director:

LMDA: Who are you?

JSK: The short answer is, I am Janine Sobeck Knighton. The longer answer is that I am (in no particular order) a dramaturg, director, writer, wife, reader, chocolate-lover, travel enthusiast, Italy obsessor, Mormon, and new knowledge seeker.

LMDA: Where do you work?

JSK: I am currently a Assistant Professor of New Work (Playwriting, Screenwriting, and Dramaturgy) at Utah Valley University. Other gigs have included Dramaturgy Specialist at BYU (Brigham Young University) and Dramaturg/Literary Manager at Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.). I do a lot of freelance dramaturgy for both theatre and film and other artistic adventures include being a member of the Artistic Council for the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, a Reader for the Sundance Theatre Lab, a member of the Plan-B Theatre Lab and a Developer of the New Play Exchange for the National New Play Network. I am also a former board member of LMDA.

LMDA: What is your favorite part of working as a dramaturg? What is your least favorite?

JSK: I love the moments when inspiration strikes and new ideas are bouncing around and creativity is at its peak. In short, I love the collaboration process. There are certain people who make it a true joy. I’m over defending the right of the dramaturg to be a part of the theatrical process.

LMDA: When did you first realize that you were “dramaturging,” or when did you first start working as a “dramaturg”?

JSK: I discovered dramaturgy during my undergraduate studies. I had gone to college as a history teaching major, but couldn’t ignore the siren call of the theatre department. So I switched majors without having any idea of what I would do. I didn’t want the life on an actor, I wasn’t interested in working backstage, and, at the time, directing terrified me. Then I discovered dramaturgy in one of my theatre history classes and it was like the stars aligned. I couldn’t believe that there was this job in the theatre that encompassed everything I was interested in and that I hadn’t even known it existed.

LMDA: What theatre tome on your shelf couldn’t you live without?

JSK: Whatever script I am currently working on. Most recently that has been 8 new plays for a 10-minute play festival at UVU, Peter and the Starcatcher (the annotated version – thank you Ken Cerniglia and Disney Theatrical) at the Hale Center Theatre Orem, and Mary Zimmerman’s Argonautika, which I’m actually directing.

Peter and the Starcatcher at the Hale Center Theatre Orem (Photo Credit: Suzy Tucker Oliveira)

“Peter and the Starcatcher” at the Hale Center Theatre Orem (Photo Credit: Suzy Tucker Oliveira)

Continue reading

Meet “Argonautika” Playwright, Mary Zimmerman

by  Haley Flanders, dramaturg,

Hello and welcome to week 2 of the Argonautika behind-the-scenes blogs! As you prepare for your voyage to see our play June 2 through June 17 in the Pardoe Theater, we would like to give you more insight into the playwright and original director of Argonautika, the one and only…Mary Zimmerman!
127Mary Zimmerman is a very prestigious and unique playwright in the world of professional and collegiate theatre.

BYU Young Company performed her award-winning play, Metamorphoses as a Theatre For Young Audiences (TYA) production in 2006. They then performed her play, Arabian Nights as the spring show in 2012.

Mary Zimmerman was born on August 23, 1960 in Lincoln, Nebraska. She is the recipient of the 2002 Tony Award for Best Director, a 1998 MacArthur Fellowship. She is a member of the Lookingglass Theatre Company of Chicago, an Artistic Associate of the Goodman Theatre and a Professor of Performance Studies at Northwestern University, from where she received her BA, MA, and PhD. The following are some of her most famous plays that she has devised:

  • The Odyssey

  • Arabian Nights

  • Journey To The West

  • Metamorphoses

  • Trojan Women

  • Disney’s The Jungle Book

  • Treasure Island 

So what makes Zimmerman so iconic and unique? Let’s talk a little about her process, called “devised theatre.” 

Adapter and Director Mary Zimmerman works collaboratively with the company of Candide in rehearsal. Performances begin September 10 at the B.U. Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo Cred: Liz Lauren.

Adapter and Director Mary Zimmerman works collaboratively with the company of Candide in rehearsal. Performances begin September 10 at the B.U. Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo Cred: Liz Lauren.

Most playwrights do not direct their own plays. Most directors begin rehearsal with a fully written script and have rehearsal periods for a few months. Many playwrights seek to write original works. Mary Zimmerman, however, is known for her unique style of creating theatre.

  • She writes and directs the original productions of her plays.

  • She starts with no script.

  • She uses popular texts and stories and adapts them into plays during a 4-week rehearsal process.

  • She collaborates with her cast and writes the script bit by bit, basing the dialogue and actions on what the actors create in rehearsal.

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Mary Zimmerman’s Argonautika

Zimmerman continues to be drawn to ancient literature and stories based in oral tradition. Argonautika went through this same process when she originally wrote and directed the production in 2006 at the Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago.

(For a much more detailed bio, read the end of this blog post.)

HAVE A LOOK-SEE FOR YOURSELF! ZIMMERMAN ON FILM AND IN PRINT: Continue reading

Welcome Aboard the Mighty Argo!

by Haley Flanders and Katie Jarvis, dramaturgs

17425994_1908813916072481_2458922591880696249_n“Sing in us, Muse, the story of Jason and his   Argonauts, how he was sent away on the first voyage of the world to bring back the Golden Fleece.” (Act 1, Scene 1)

Hello! Welcome to the 4th wall dramaturgy page dedicated to the spring 2017 mainstage BYU play, Argonautika by Mary Zimmerman.

This production is set to perform June 2 through June 17, 2017 in the Pardoe Theatre in the Harris Fine Arts Center (HFAC) on campus.

We are thrilled to be giving you a backstage pass into the creation of this epic play, which will feature Greek warriors, gods and goddesses, monsters, clashing rocks, dragons, giants, golden fleeces, missing shoes, and much more!

In preparation for seeing this show, we have provided a synopsis for you below. This 2-hour play has many different scenes, along with 16 actors often portraying multiple characters. Throughout the next few months, this blog will assist you with the plot, character relationships, and scene breakdowns. It will also provide more information on Greek mythology, the playwright, and our production. There will be:

  • director and actor interviews
  • rehearsal photos
  • map of the Argonaut voyage
  • games and fun facts
  • information about the interactive lobby display
  • a list of books you can check out to learn more about Greek mythology
  • constellation and zodiac significance to the characters
  • highlights of the technical elements such as set, costumes, and props
  • videos about Zimmerman and perhaps even our cast!

So what IS Argonautika, anyway? Ivan_Vavpotič_-_Prihod_Argonavtov

It is a famous Greek myth. Myths are fictional stories that date back thousands of years. They have been passed down through oral tradition and textual translation. The myth of Jason and the Argonauts first appeared in an epic poem called “Argonautica”, written by Apollonius of Rhodes during the third century B.C. Mary Zimmerman’s play is one of numerous interpretations of the tale.

Plot Synopsis of the Play Continue reading