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  • Writer's pictureSam Baldwin

The Tauric Peninsula

The tauric peninsula -today known as Crimea-, was settled during the iron age by a group known as the Taurians. The Taurians were regarded by the Greeks (who soon began to colonize the land around the peninsula) as savages, without culture or sophistication. Despite an increased Greek presence in Tauric land, the Taurians remained a hostile threat to the Greeks, engaging in piracy and thievery. The Taurians' habits of human sacrifice, as written about by Herodotus, inspired the story of Iphigenia Among the Taurians and, subsequently, Iphigenia 3.0. While we don't know much about the Taurians, we know about the land they inhabited. This land was first inhabited by the Taurians themselves, followed by the Greeks, the Romans, the Ottoman empire and finally the Russians. The peninsula the Taurians called home is of special significance in the classical world because it was seen in many ways as the border between the "classical" world (Greece, Rome, etc.) and the "Pontic-Caspian Steppe" (culturally more akin to Russia and other parts of Asia). This is of interest to us, because this area of land -where the entire original play takes place- can be seen as the site of two worlds colliding, those being the "sophisticated" Greeks and the "Barbarous" Taurians. In this same way, Iphigenia is a collision of two worlds, ours being the world of classical tragedy and modern theatrical spectacle. In my first post, I discussed the musical work Hades by The Residents. I talked about how The Residents used modern instrumentation and production to imbue the same feelings Hades was supposed to instill in classical times. The Residents seamlessly combined the classical and the modern, creating a work that benefits from both origins. In this original post I posed the question, "how do we combine ancient Greek ideas with modern art forms?" I think at this point, we script has achieved a perfect balance that echoes the balance found in Hades. Much like the Tauric peninsula, we are now at the border between a world we know and a world we don't, so my question for the group is, what is our goal going in? As the script continues to evolve and change -as does the level of performance the piece will receive-, what do we as a new theatre group want to achieve? Do we want to inspire others? Do we want to create an open space to continue exploring these ideas? Do we want to start churning out performances? There is no right answer to any of these questions, and I couldn't be more excited moving forward to find out which path we follow as we cross this border.

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