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Playwright's Note

The Cretans is an original play structured around an extant fragment of Euripides’ The Cretans. David Johnson, a professor in the Theatre Department at Virginia Tech who was involved in organizing a theatre project in Crete, gave me a copy of the fragment (taken from D. L. Page’s Select Papyri, Harvard University Press, 1941), invited me to join the group in Crete, and suggested I use the Euripides fragment as the basis for a theatre piece to be performed in an amphitheatre just outside the village of Kolympari in Crete. I agreed, joined David and an international group of theatre students and professionals, and in that environment I wrote the prologue, the parados, and part of what is now the second episode of the play. All of that work was influenced by the actors and directors I worked with in Crete. The part of the second episode I wrote there evolved out of an improvisation by the Mostar Youth Theatre of Mostar, Bosnia. Sead Dujlic directed his actors to improvise the birth of the Minotaur. I watched them, and then later wrote a scene that used some of the improvisation and attempted to capture some of the intensity of the actors in a more carefully structured language and action. The prologue, parados and partial scene were performed in Crete on Saturday, June 2, 2001, for a small audience made up of the Kolympari community. When I returned to the States, I wrote the bulk of the play at my home in Blacksburg, Virginia. There is one other scene where Euripides needs to be directly credited. Hippolytus, in Hippolytus, has a famous speech in which he attacks all women. In my play, Pasiphae has a speech in which she attacks all men. I borrow and reverse some of Hippolytus’ lines of attack in order to even things out. Also, it was fun to do.

Ed Falco

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