Monday, July 26, 2004
OU professor and student study theatre in Greece
By Dawn Pauli, contributing writer
Kerro Knox, associate professor and program director for the Music, Theatre and Dance Department, and Jeff Hannah, junior theatre major, spent a month this summer in Greece in an intensive program where they not only studied but also rehearsed for and performed in a play and a musical.
“Greece is where modern western theatre originated roughly 2,400 years ago,” Knox said. “It’s exciting historically and culturally, in terms of theatre, to work on the earliest plays in the place where they’re about and grew.”
For the first two weeks of their trip, Knox and Hanna spent mornings on the island of Spetses in movement, voice, acting, Greek theatre history and language classes and evenings in rehearsal for two plays, “The Trojan Women” and “Echo and Narcissist.”
“In the style of the Greek lifestyle, we took the afternoon off because it was so hot, bright and sunny,” Knox said.
The troupe spent their final two weeks traveling through Greece performing each of the two shows two more times.
Professional actors play the main roles in the plays with students playing the supporting roles and participating in the chorus. Henriettal Hermelin, a professional actress who recently performed in “Fiddler on the Roof” in the Jewish Ensemble Theatre, returned to the leading role she played 16 years ago.
“In ‘Echo and Narcissist,’ the play is about the chorus. They represent the town and the women of Troy that has just fallen,” Knox said. “This group did incredible work, it was definitely the best I’ve seen. They learned to work and talk together, to be a group, but be individuals.”
In “The Trojan Women,” Knox played the role of the herald, and Hannah was a soldier. Hannah also had the opportunity to work with giant puppets as a puppeteer.
In “Echo and Narcissist,” Hannah played the cook and Zeus.
“This was an interesting role because in the play, Zeus, the god, is having affairs and to hide from his wife, he disguises himself as the cook. It was a dual role for Jeff,” Knox said.
OU partners with the University of Detroit Mercy for the program, which is affiliated with Athens Centre, an educational group teaching classes in the modern Greek language as well as art and theatre.
“Putting a show together in two and a half weeks is quite an undertaking,” Knox said. “It’s also a great experience to get out and spend a month in another country, learning the language and culture.”
It was Hannah’s first study-abroad experience. He was most recently in the “Serengeti Tales” at OU.
“The country was beautiful and it was a great experience. I wanted to get more experience for my resume,” Hannah said.
Auditions for next year’s program will be in February and March. For more information about the Athens Centre program, contact Knox at (248) 370-3025 or firstname.lastname@example.org.