The lost daughter of the House of Atreus is starving for love, affection and peace.
She seeks nourishment for her damaged and divided family through cooking - but will food be enough to transform and nurture the most dysfunctional family in history?
Commissioned exclusively for the 2020 graduating class, Chrysothemis is the winner of the 2020 Alberta Playwriting Competition, and was written by Meg Braem during her time as the UAlberta Lee Playwright in Residence.
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conversation with the Director!
Share your thoughts on the production and see what other people have to say.
Learn more in our
"Dig Deeper" section!
Meet BFA Acting grad Kaeley Jade Wiebe who takes us behind the scenes of Studio Theatre’s Chrysothemis.
What surprised you about the play?
Describe a moment in the production that stood out to you, and why?
If you could serve anything at a feast for the people you love the most, what would absolutely have to be on the menu, and why?
For all in-person tickets and digital viewing options, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Performances start at 7:30 p.m. Preview: December 3, 2020 Matinee: December 5, 2020 at 12:30 p.m.
Chrysothemis, a new work by Meg Braem, was originally scheduled to premiere in March 2020 as part of the 2019-20 Studio Theatre season. Sadly, it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Drama is thrilled to announce Chrysothemis will finally get its world premiere this December. With a limited run and reduced seating, audiences may experience Chrysothemis in person, or view it online.
"A dramaturg is a member of the artistic team of a theatre production who is a specialist in the transformation of a dramatic script into a meaningful living performance."
(5) Michael Mark Chemers, Ghost Light: An Introductory Handbook for Dramaturgy, Southern Illinois University Press, 2010.
Cassandra in Mythology
When Apollo laid eyes on her, he immediately fell in love with her beauty and bestowed the gift of prophecy upon her to win her affections. Cassandra accepted the gift; however...
Midwifery in Ancient Greece
There is evidence that midwives came from a variety of social classes, from slaves on up to high-born women, and were held in high regard, and deeply respected in their communities.
Ancient Greek Views on War
The Greeks were one of the earliest known cultures (along with the Chinese), to develop deep philosophical opinions on war and peace. Peace was ultimately the goal; however
The Significance of Blood
to the Greeks
As far as we know, ancient Greeks were the first to consider blood through a scientific lens. There is evidence of blood playing a major role in the Greek understanding of life: it was synonymous with life.
Wedding and Funeral Rites
Wedding and funeral rites were considered to be the domain of women, both included a journey taken at night in a cart, both include great feasts, and both involved choral song...
Notes from the Playwright
Meg Braem on Chrysothemis
There is no shortage of war stories which recount the heroism and glory of the battlefield, but war stories can also tell us of valour of a different kind. While monuments of stone and bronze tell us of the ultimate sacrifice of soldiers, there are few statues commemorating their parallel pains: that of family members, often women, who suffered distance and separation, unknowing at home.
Chrysothemis, daughter to the warrior king Agamemnon and his vengeful spouse Clytemnestra, sister to Iphigenia, Orestes and Electra is forgotten like those left longing and wondering. She is known, if known at all, as the invisible sister. The fragments of her story betray her unwillingness to fight alongside the others. Because she does not participate in a retaliative, violent act, she is cast as passive and forgettable. I would argue that the choice not to fight, while not fitting into our visceral war fantasies or solemn remembrance, is no less brave.
For those that listen, soldiers have long returned telling a different war story. When the bloody glory of war is washed away, war wounds, guilts, and memories remain unhealed. Conflict continues long after the battle is over. Wars waged in other countries are dragged home and nightmare battles are fought between family members, often to tragic ends. In the past decades, these war stories have seen more light, but what feels new is actually a story as ancient as war itself. It is our ability to listen to those who didn’t have a voice that makes an old story contemporary…and perhaps gives those telling their story a chance to heal.
It has been a great pleasure and honor to work with the BFA class and student artists on Chrysothemis. Their dedication and courage are deeply woven into this piece. I look forward to future collaborations with these smart, creative emerging artists. I would also like to thank the faculty for creating an environment that encourages risk, respect and play.
November 2020 Update: The production of Chrysothemis was cancelled less than a week after I wrote these playwright’s notes. Everything just... stopped. Jan Selman describes how strange it was to go back into the rehearsal hall after eight months, the tape was still on the floor, the design renderings still pinned to the wall… everything just as we left it. I would like to say that it was done on purpose, that we knew we would be back but that would undermine the levels of uncertainty the world has faced over the past year. “If,” because we are still living under “if” qualifying every future minute, day, week, month and now year, if you are sitting in the theatre waiting for the production to start, it is because of the work and determination of many people who came together to see this through.
When writing Chrysothemis, dramaturg and dear friend Kate Weiss would ask me, “What is it about?” For a long time I danced around themes and ideas pretending to have greater clarity than I actually had. I know now though. The story is about hope and the story of telling this story is about hope… that hope in the face of adversity is the bravest thing in the world.
- Meg Braem
A Conversation with Director Jan Selman & Kathleen Weiss, dramaturg.
The role of the dramaturg is to work directly with the playwright as the script develops. Kate has been working with Meg through what has been a luxurious process since the start of her residency. Jan came into the process a year and a half ago as director of the project.
Jan, how do you see the relationship between the director, the playwright and the dramaturg?
I believe it is a wonderful pattern. It creates a 3 way conversation between myself, the playwright, and the dramaturg which is especially rich. It allows me to focus on the staging of the play and the work with the actors, knowing that the playwright has support from you.
And from the point of view of the dramaturg, I have supported Meg in envisioning the play and thinking of the possibilities, and then you as director join the process and begin to actualize all these ideas into concrete theatrical realities. And that is so exciting.
Jan, do you approach directing a new play differently than a script that has been produced many times.
Yes, with a new play, you need to make it transparent. The production needs to show us the play in its purest form. We strive to give back to the playwright what she has written.
"It is not about a director’s “brilliant” handling of the piece, but allowing the script to show itself."
I understand that. It is not about a director’s “brilliant” handling of the piece, but allowing the script to show itself.
It can easily happen with a new script that when we hit a block in rehearsal, the immediate assumption is that there is an issue with the writing. With an established play, the assumption is that we as actors and director have not found the key. But I start from a 100% belief in the script with a new play. We do not blame the play, but delve the mysteries of the script, believing in it as we go. However, also the rehearsal process also feeds the knowledge of the script and leads to useful questions for the playwright that will help to further the development of the script.
In many ways, a first rehearsal of a new play is the final workshop, right?
Yes, it gives the playwright the opportunity to listen intently to the script, and to understand the play as live theatre, not as a literary work. The word meets the other arts of the theatre. In this process we have sought theatrical solutions for the playwright’s fascinating vision, silent actions that support character transformations, and because Meg could work closely with us, she has responded to our discoveries with delicate revisions.
Iphigenia - Beverley Rockwell
Ancient - Braden Butler
Middle - Christina Nguyen
Cassandra, Shopper - Emily Anne Corcoran
Electra - Holly Wandler
Aegisthus, Vendor - Jackson Card
Young Soldier - Jezec Sanders
Young Man (Orestes) - Kael Wynn
Chrysothemis - Kaeley Jade Wiebe
Clytemnestra - Meegan Sweet
Youngest - Priya Narine
Understudy - Melanie Bahniuk
Images by Even Gilchrist
Content compiled by Collette Slevinsky, Amy DeFelice, and Xavia Publius
Playwright - Meg Braem
Director - Jan Selman
Movement Coach - Lin Snelling
Fight Director - J.P. Fournier
Set Design - Camille Paris
Costume Design - Even Gilchrist
Lighting Design - Feng Yi Jiang
Sound Design - Jacob Fulton w/ Matthew Skopyk
Stage Manager - Krystal Johnson
Props Assistant Stage Manager - Hayley Craft
Wardrobe Assistant Stage Manager - Stacy Vanden Dool
Replacement Stage Manager - Hanna Loh
Replacement Stage Manager - John Raymond
Script Dramaturg - Kate Weiss
Production Dramaturg - Liz Hobbs, Yaw Baayim
LIVE STREAM PRODUCTION CREW
Elijah Lindenberger - Technical Coordinator
Nick Shostak - Audio Lead
Stephen Strand - Camera Operator
Bob L'Heureux - Camera Lead Operator
Nick Rose - Camera Operator
Production Manager - Gerry van Hezewyk
Technical Director - Larry Clark
Assistant Technical Director - Anthony Hunchak
Head of Lights - Rachel Bos
Running Crew - Kenzie Bowes
Lighting Operator - Charlotte Braid
Scenic Carpenter - Darrell Cooksey
Property Master - Jane Kline
Wardrobe Manager - Joanna Johnston
Cutter - Julie Davie
Lighting Supervisor - Jeff Osterlin
Sound Supervisor - Matt Skopyk
Stage Management Advisor - John Raymond
Department Chair/Artistic Director - Melanie Dreyer-Lude
Administrative Chair - Julie Brown
Theatre Administrator - David Prestley
Box Office Coordinator - Candice Stollery
Producing Coordinator - Amanda Bergen
Office Coordinator/Admin Assistant - Helen Baggaley
Communications Associate - Erik Einsiedel
Marketing and Communications Advisor - Pamela Osborne
The production of Chrysothemis was cut off in March 2020, before its intended opening. While many of the production team are back with this rebooted adaptation, some are not. Nevertheless they contributed to its realization. We would like to thank Doug Mertz, and Yaw Baayim (co-dramaturg) for their efforts, as well as previous cast members Caitlin Kelly and Sheldon Stockdale.
Check out our video interviews with Chrysothemis director Jan Selman and dramaturg Liz Hobbs.