Steven Bowman (left) and Delaney Bergstrom in UFV's production of Bakkhai.

Steven Bowman (left) and Delaney Bergstrom in UFV's production of Bakkhai.

UFV Theatre presents Bakkhai, a modern take on a Greek classic

UFV Theatre’s season of ‘Bright Ideas’ continues with Bakkhai, a new version of Euripides’ Greek tragedy March 9-19

UFV Theatre’s season of ‘Bright Ideas’ continues with Bakkhai, a new version of Euripides’ Greek tragedy by celebrated Canadian writer, Anne Carson.

This powerful play addresses the duality of human nature, the relationship between control and freedom, and their relative importance to society.

Pentheus (Erich Petkau) has banned the wild, ritualistic worship of the god Dionysos (Delaney Bergstrom and Steven Bowman). A stranger arrives to persuade him to change his mind. Euripides’ electrifying tragedy is a struggle to the death between freedom and restraint, the rational and the irrational, man and god.

The cast also features Natasha Purnell as Agave, Des Hale as Kadmos/Hersman and Eli Moores as Teirsesias/Guard/Servant. Bakkhai (Chorus): Brad Bishop, James Sloggett, Daniel Houston-McMillan, Trudy-Bridgette Smith, Makailla Palliyaguru, Emily Eggert-Botkin .

Collaborative director and designers, Raina von Waldenburg and Parjad Sharifi, along with student assistant director, Reilly Ellis, have incorporated elements of both modern and classical theatre styles, using elaborate lighting and projections, physical theatre, and a traditional Greek chorus known as ‘Bakkhai’.

“Bakkhai provides a very real and relatable lesson to our generation, that one’s own personal legacy sends ripples, positive and/or negative, through their extended legacies (inherited from family),” says Ellis. “The conflict is between the rational and the instinctive; civility versus wildness. Everything on stage reflects this duality, even the set has the potential to be both rigid and fluid. We want to transport our audience to another world; a place that blends the mystic with digital, acoustic and physical elements. Sometimes they blend well, sometimes they clash. Imagine Michelangelo, Picasso and Pollock doing a project together. But as a play.”

Bakkhai will mark the final performance to take place in the UFV performance theatre in Chilliwack, following the announcement by UFV that the Theatre department will be moving to Abbotsford this fall.

UFV’s Theatre department offers a range of post-secondary theatre programs and produces a full season of theatre. The department recently launched a new theatre major as part of UFV’s Bachelor of Arts degree. This program allows students to develop foundational performance, communication, and technical skills and offers extensive opportunities to enrich their creative and research practices. All UFV Theatre’s programs offer small class sizes, faculty and staff with extensive professional and academic credentials, rigorous courses, and the opportunity for students to develop creative skills and practical experience by working onstage and behind the scenes on productions.

Bakkhai runs March 9-19 at the UFV Performance Theatre (45635 Yale Rd.). Showtimes are Thursday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m., with Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $15/regular admission, $10/students and seniors. Online ticket purchases available at ufv.ca/plays. Contact theatre@ufv.ca or 604.795.2814 for more information.