Mabel K. Whiteside, professor of Greek, began a Randolph-Macon Woman’s College tradition in 1909 by producing Euripides’ Alcestis in Greek. She led her students in an annual production of a Greek play from then until her retirement in 1954.
Beginning with the production of Sophocles’ Antigone in 2000, Greek professor Amy R. Cohen and her students have revived the tradition. The renewed series produces the plays mostly in English. In reviving the College tradition, the Randolph College Greek Play adheres to most of the original conventions that governed theatre in the time of the great tragedians, believing that the best plays will emerge from the conditions for which they were written. The College and her alumnae have blessed the College with an outdoor Greek theatre, which allows the plays to be performed in daylight for an audience seated in a semi-circle around the performers. The Randolph College Greek Play adheres to other ancient conventions as well: three actors play all the roles; the Chorus—which sings and dances—remains on stage for most of the play; and the performers all wear masks. Through the 2006 Greek Play we also had one sex play both men and women, but the 2008 Greek Play inaugurated the era of gender-blind casting.
We are supported by Randolph College and its Center for Ancient Drama, by the Classics Department, and by our student booster group, Melpomene.