Relevant History


Please, take a second, shake off the pace of modern life and do whatever mental dustbusting you must to prep your mind for staring, for just a breath or two, into a verse of antiquity. “Once in a lifetime/the longed for tidal wave/of justice can rise up/and hope and history rhyme.” That’s Sophocles, as polished up by Seamus Heaney. But in a pinch, it could be Barack Obama, further proof that the concerns of the past can inform the present. The Cure at Troy, the play surrounding this ancient prayer, concerns the 10th year of the siege of Troy, when the demoralized Greeks learn, via oracle, that they’ll never emerge from this quagmire unless they can talk Philoctetes into lending his bow to the battle. Fiddle with the ages a bit, set the scene at a strip mall or on a basketball court, and what follows might be a drama of contemporary military recruitment. Such present-past parallels are certain to matter tonight, when UMKC’s graduate theater department premieres the classic play. Director Barry Kyle, of the one-and-only Royal Shakespeare Company, is justly celebrated for his imaginative, revelatory stagings. See present and ancient rhyme at 7:30 tonight at the Spencer Theatre in UMKC’s Performing Arts Center (4949 Cherry, 816-235-6222).

Sat., April 19, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., April 20, 7:30 p.m.; Tue., April 22, 7:30 p.m.; Wed., April 23, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., April 24, 7:30 p.m.; Fri., April 25, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., April 26, 7:30 p.m.; Sun., April 27, 2 p.m., 2008