Hamline News

Play Centers Mythic Women

Hamline senior Hannah Coleman directs “Iphigenia and Other Daughters,” the latest production to hit the stage in the Anne Simley Theatre. The play opens Friday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m.

The trilogy “Iphigenia and Other Daughters” focuses on the female point of view during the Trojan War, a perspective that was largely omitted from the classics upon which it was based.

Playwright Ellen McLaughlin rewrote the history told in Euripides’ “Iphigenia in Aulis” and “Iphigenia in Tauris” and Sophocles’ “Electra” to make women the main characters.

Coleman wanted to direct a recent play written by a woman for her senior project. She read a number of works and finally narrowed it down to two and selected Iphigenia based on the resources of the department.

The play is a trilogy. The action takes place in ancient Greece but the costumes are based on the suffragette movement of the 1920s, during the first wave of feminism. This costume theme reinforces the main idea of the play -- to center those who are oppressed and left out of critical conversations -- which makes it highly relevant today.

“The text flows between poetry and conversation,” said Coleman. “It’s looking at the women of myth and how they’ve been misused and sidelined.”

Like many Hamline productions, the cast and crew are students pursuing a variety of majors and minors, not just theatre.

“We want to teach and learn together and the play gave us an opportunity to give voice to a story that doesn’t get told often,” said Coleman.

She credits Theatre Arts Professor and Department Chair Bill Wallace for allowing her experience. “Bill is amazing for letting students set their own path,” said Coleman. “Spring of sophomore year I said I wanted to design a set and he let me. Now, I get to direct a whole play.”

Directing a play requires juggling a number of people and elements. She is in charge of making decisions about the technology, props, projections, lighting and costumes. Coleman is ready for the task however, having directed theater for seven years, including a recent summer production.

“The biggest challenge of any play, including this one, is that you have to get everyone on the same page,” added Coleman. “My job is to facilitate the creativity of all my artists.”

This experience compliments Coleman’s career aspirations.

“People love it when you have developed a large scale work,” said Coleman who works as an administrator at a local theater company and also founded her own company called SpaceHouse which develops theater, clown and puppet works.

The audience for “Iphigenia and Her Daughters” can expect a full theatrical experience that lasts for 90 minutes. The trilogy ebbs and flows through the stories of three female characters from the myth of the Trojan War—Chrysothemis, Electra and Iphigenia.

“It takes you through a whole journey from entrapment to freedom that will leave people wondering why they feel the way that they do,” said Coleman.

WHAT: Iphenigia and Other Daughters
WHEN: November 15, 16, 21, 22, 23 at 7:30 p.m.
WHERE: Anne Simley Theatre at Hamline University
TICKETS: http://bit.ly/HamlineIphigenia

Written by staff.