'The Bacchae' Guthrie Theater

*CANCELED* The Bacchae

Every Tue., Wed., Thu., Fri., and Sat. from Feb. 29-April 4
7:30 p.m.
Every Sun. from March 1-April 5
7 p.m.

It’s understandable if ancient Greek tragedies are viewed by modern audiences through a lens of academic appreciation rather than from a more emotionally engaged perspective. That is unlikely, however, with the much anticipated SITI Company production of Euripides’ The Bacchae. Not only does the poetic translation by Aaron Poochigian embrace the emotional sweep of the material, but the core themes are rendered with an originality that highlights a topical resonance. The narrative follows the dire consequences that arise when Pentheus, a mortal king, attempts to subdue the free-spirited will of Dionysus, god of such things as wine, theater, fertility, and ecstasy. SITI has made the inspired choice to focus on how the imposed social order is explicitly designed to keep women relegated to subservient roles. Upending that system, this dynamic production is particularly notable for the number of female performers who have been cast in parts historically conferred upon males, including SITI Company co-artistic director Ellen Lauren in the role of Dionysus. Under the direction of Anne Bogart, the retribution leveled against Pentheus is transformed into a cathartic smashing of paternalistic repression.