IF’s September reading of Euripides’ Hecuba packed out the Greensboro Room at the Bama Theatre. And I’ve learned that UA’s APO is offering pledge points to students that attend IF events. And the reading was reviewed by The Dome. There’s nothing tragic about that!

Here are a few thoughts on the production from the director, Steve Burch, the cast list, and some rehearsal photos courtesy of Jason Pan.

Hecuba by Euripides

An Improbable Fictions staged reading

Sept. 22, 2011, Bama Theatre

Cast (in order of appearance):

Polydorus: Joey Gamble

Polymestor: Russell Frost

Hecuba: Deborah Parker

Coryphaeus: Karen Baker

Chorus #1 : Susie Johnson

Chorus #2 : Adella Smith

Chorus #3 : Phoebe Threatt

Chorus #4 : Amber Gibson

Polyxena: Natalie Hopper

Odysseus: Nic Helms

Talthybius: James Wesley Glass

Agamemnon: David Ainsworth

Soldier/Son: Tyler Spindler

Soldier/Son: Eric Marable, Jr.

Adaptor/Director: Steve Burch

Hecuba is a prisoner’s tragedy; if a modern analogy be permitted, a concentration camp play . . . . [It] is born out of contemporary experience; it is a bitterly human and darkly profound reflection of the ills of the Peloponnesian War . . . . Thucydides reflected upon the frightful demoralization and deprivation which the war had brought about in individual as well as in social and political life. Euripides, in his Hecuba, presents a similar indictment of this time; and, in its universal meaning, going beyond his time, of man’s insufficiency and cruelty.

As a prisoner’s tragedy, the Hecuba has three main aspects:

  1. the suffering of the enslaved women
  2. the characters of her masters and tormentors
  3. the effect which unbearable suffering has on her.

Here, in this last aspect, lies the real and truly terrible tragedy: Under the pressure of torture beyond endurance, the sufferer becomes as bestial as the tormentors. A most pitiable woman is transformed into a fiery-eyed dog . . . . We will learn [over the course of the play] what it means to be a prisoner . . . . The tragedy of Hecuba, the prisoner, ends in her moral destruction. The forces that destroy her are realistically presented and forever symbolized in Agamemnon, Odysseus, and Polymestor . . . . But who are those who represent human decency, or even greatness, in this play? Not the “kings” who hold the power; but a child who has not lived yet, a [messenger] and unnamed soldiers. They remain on the sidelines of the action, and have no influence on the course of events.


IF presents Euripides’ Hecuba

Improbable Fictions presents a staged reading of Hecuba, Euripides’ other great tragedy about Hecuba and the women of Troy, written before Trojan Women, and taking place about three days after the events of the second play. A timeless and terrifying tale of loss, betrayal, and revenge by a group of powerless, voiceless prisoners after the cataclysmic destruction of their city and way of life.

Thursday, September 22, 2011
The Greensboro Room at the Bama Theatre (directions)
7:30 pm
(pre-show music at 7:10)

Free Admission!  A $1 donation to the Bama Theatre Restoration Fund is recommended.

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Improbable Fictions is sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, the University of Alabama English Department, and the University of Alabama College of Arts and Sciences.

IF: Fall lineup and casting call

I’m excited to announce that this semester Improbable Fictions is sponsored by the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies, the UA Dept. of English, and the UA College of Arts and Sciences.  That means that we’ll be able to hold all our readings this fall in the Greensboro Room of the Bama Theatre.  We’re also expanding our season to include the ancient Greeks as well as Shakespeare.  Our readings will be the following:

Euripides’ Hecuba
directed by Steve Burch (
Thursday, September 22, 7:30pm

Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream
directed by Mark Hughes Cobb (
Thursday, October 20, 7:30pm

Shakespeare’s Timon of Athens
directed by Nic Helms (
Thursday, December 1, 7:30pm

If you’re interested in picking up a script and reading for one of our events, please email the director of the show you’re interested in with your contact info, a brief theatrical bio, and any preferences as to part.  If we’re not familiar with your previous theatre work (or if you haven’t done any!), fret not: Improbable Fictions is always open to newcomers, and one of our directors can easily schedule an informal audition.  Rehearsals for each staged reading will be the Monday-Wednesday of the week of the performance.

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