Translation Notes

Some technical notes about the translation/adaptation.  For more thematic thoughts, read my original Director’s Note.

This script has three versions.  Version A is the most faithful to the original.  It was originally created to accompany Eric Shanower’s illustrations for a collaborative project halfway between a script and a graphic novel.  That project may still happen, though because our schedules are so full, the timing is unsure.

The Version B was written in anticipation of 2013 production at La MaMa.  This was less faithful, especially when it came to the choruses, which were conceived in a more contemporary vein for the production.

The Version C is the version that was actually performed.  The choruses at that point had gone through another evolution, as Aldo Perez took my lyrics and reconceived them to accompany his music.

All three are valid versions.  The first is closest to what I would call a translation, rather than an adaptation, but that comes with a series of caveats.  My version of the script was made with the help of Perseus, an online archive, and also after consulting a number of old translations.  There were still a few edits, made for the sake of clarity.  And I confronted two common problems in the translated: The Prologue and the Epilogue.

The Prologue doesn’t exist, as such, in most translations.  The text is shoehorned into Scene 1, mirroring the existing manuscripts of the drama.  But it seems clear that Euripides’ original did in fact have a prologue, and dramatically it seems the stronger choice to put the exposition in its traditional space upfront.  So I excised it and then bridged the gap in the text with an extra line for the Servant, for clarity.

It may well be that the whole first scene is the work of another author, but since it works dramatically, I did not attempt to remove it.

As for the Epilogue, there is good evidence that the ambivalence of the ending I used was a later addition.  Euripides used the dues ex machina technique freely, and Artemis may well have literally stepped in to save Iphigenia.  This seems much less interesting to me, so I kept the more ambivalent ending.  Furthermore, I made the messenger who brings the news the original Servant, to finish his character arc.  There is nothing that indicated the Messenger is not the old Servant, since characters are not specified in the text, lines are assigned via context.  But it is an unusual choice.

I also have the Servant lead Iphigenia to her sacrifice, another unusual choice made for dramatic reasons.

In version B of the script I took the chorus’ lines and first converted the choral scenes into rock inflected lyrics.  Then I broke up the choral dialogue in the text between the Chorus Leader and the two other chorus members (I knew that we were planning for three total).  The Chorus Leader remained formal in her speech, a bridge of sorts to the formality of the royal characters that make up the main narrative.  The other chorus members were given cruder lines, as an indication of their lesser status.

Version C of the choral scenes follows that same mindset but takes it further.

There is a code to reading the lines, by color (blue belongs to Version A, red belongs to Versions B & C) this is explained further on the main script page.

I would suggest choosing one version of the script to go with, in production, rather than mixing and matching, because each has its own artistic integrity.  Of course, some adaptation may be needed depending on the size of the chorus.

© Edward Einhorn 2015