Reorganisation of audio files

You may well have downloaded Latin or even Greek set texts in mp3 format from this blog or the ARLT site.

This is a free service that ARLT is glad to provide. Downloads do, however, use up a lot of bandwidth, so I am beginning to transfer the audio files to a different server which offers unlimited bandwidth.

There may be a week or two before the new arrangement is complete. I apologise for any inconvenience. If you need set texts urgently, you can buy them very cheaply on CD from Wilf O'Neill.


Mary Beard prepares to lecture

Something about a lecture course on Roman Britain from Mary Beard today.

Find out how many handouts have to be printed, what visual aids are used, and do not find out how much a museum case costs.

Based on Greek tragedy

Part of a Daily Telegraph review of Bash at the Trafalgar Studios.

Yes, the plays are indeed ingeniously nasty, but then human behaviour often is. Dramatists have known that since the time of the ancient Greeks, and two of these plays are loosely based on Euripides (Iphigenia in Aulis and Medea), while a third derives its inspiration from the death of Orpheus, torn to pieces by marauding Maenads.

What LaBute brings to this trilogy is an inescapable sense of that potent, if now old-fashioned, concept, sin. All three of his main characters have done something both terrible and irreversible, and their monologues seem like a confessional address to the audience. Indeed, we are almost invited to become collaborators with their crimes, making for an unusually tense and disconcerting theatrical experience.

Tamara Harvey directs a compelling, superbly acted production for the Theatre of Memory company, founded by Juliet Rylance (daughter of Mark) and her partner David Sturzaker, who met while acting together at Shakespeare's Globe.

Both reveal themselves to be entirely at home with LaBute's edgy modern idiom and his sudden glimpses of unspeakable horror. In Iphigenia in Orem, a travelling salesman regales a drunken stranger in a hotel room about the suspicious cot death of his five-month-old daughter. Sturzaker's slick, insinuating, pony-tailed huckster superbly captures both the character's desperate need to confide in a stranger, and his appalled realisation that confession doesn't necessarily lead to absolution.

Juliet Rylance is perhaps better still in Medea Redux, an astonishing piece about a 13-year-old schoolgirl, seduced, impregnated and then abandoned by one of her teachers, who waits 14 years before taking her revenge in the belief that it is a dish best tasted cold. Rylance, beautiful, frank and intensely likeable, slowly leads us into a heart of darkness that challenges the concept of justice in the cosmos itself. There are moments of pain and abandonment here that suggest an actress who might well ripen into greatness.